My Dog Doesn't Like My Partner - The Resource He Guards Is You !

It is not uncommon for a dog to resource-guard its owner.  Otherwise known as possessive aggression, a dog may compete for resources, that resource being you.  Much is involved to bring about change in the dog’s thought processing.  In this blog, I make the assumption that your dog is possessive aggressive with your partner.


First, it’s best to not have your dog on any furniture, including the bed.  By having him on furniture, he is thinking that he is physically and figuratively at the same level in the pack as you.  To teach a strong “off” command, you (and no one else in the home) must be willing to enforce it consistently.  You will need to buy a short 2-foot leash to keep tethered to your dog at all times, so if he refuses to get off, you (and no one else) must gently guide him with the leash to the floor.  Once he is on the floor for 3 seconds, reward him for having “all 4 on the floor” with a “yes!” and a treat.    When he jumps up again, follow the same process.  When he jumps up a third time, tether him, using the short leash, to something solid (not his crate) that won’t move and keep him there for a 2-minute time out.  If he jumps up on the bed again, start the process over again, and again if necessary.  Your partner or children should never enforce the “off” command.  If you are not home and your dog jumps up on her or furniture, just let him be until you get home.


Make sure everyone moves slowly around your dog. This means your partner should not make startling movements or scary loud noises.  Make sure everyone is always calm around your dog. Your dog is probably naturally very nervous and will be able to sense this and will match the same energy.  Let your dog approach others when he wants to, don’t force it.  Make sure others respect his territory, toys, and space. If your dog does not want to be approached or is in his crate, for example, leave him alone. Dogs will approach people when they are ready. Your dog could be guarding places like dog beds, food bowls, toys, etc.  When your dog does approach someone other than you, they should not be leaning over him or wrapping arms around him.


Training:  For 15 minutes a day, your partner should put your dog through his commands (sit, down, come, and other basic commands but not “stay” and “leave it”).  Your partner should only use high-value treats (such as freeze-dried beef liver) for training, and not use high-value trats any other time, just regular.  For 10 minutes a day, you should train your dog specifically on “leave it”, “off” (when the moment presents itself), and long stays.  These commands require your pup to refrain from acting vs all the other commands which require him to act.  It increases his impulse control.


Walks:  Your partner should take your dog on walks as much as possible to strengthen their bond.


Play:  Your can play fetch with your pup, but not tug of war.


Food:  Your partner should give your dog all of his meals, telling him to sit/stay as he/she puts the meal on the floor, then releasing your dog with an “OK!” for him to begin eating.  Whenever possible, you should pick up the empty food bowl, not your partner.  If you are not around, your partner should go to the food bowl, toss a high-value treat away from the bowl and while your dog is going for the treat, he/she should pick it up.


Other:   Your dog will sometimes challenge your partner with “the look”.  If that or any growling or barking is involved, you need to physically step into your dog’s space and loudly say “leave it!” until he backs off.  You should, for the time being, constantly monitor any negative behaviors exhibited and squash it immediately with physical movement into your dog’s space and issue the proper commands.


In general, try to keep the same daily schedule for your dog, regarding food, walks, play time, rest time, and training. 



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