Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ask The Trainer - Resource Guarding the Car

Question:When our dog is in the car with my wife he will not let anyone near the car, even me. He starts barking loudly and getting real mean and aggressive. What worries my wife is what if she gets stopped by a police officer? She is worried that they will try to shoot him. Why the behavior in the car? He is good everywhere else.

Answer:I would be surprised if he doesn’t resource guard other things as well – especially if your wife is involved. He also may have negative associations with people coming up to a car he has been in in the past. This isn’t uncommon and doesn’t necessarily mean that the trauma came from what was outside the car, it could have come from the people inside the car trying to stop him with punishment.

Management until trained: put him in a crate in the car, or get him a doggy seat belt for the back seat. He is never to be allowed in the front seat. Get a cheap used tennis racket and when he starts making noise or lunging, just put the tennis racket between him and whatever he is fussing about. Do not punish him as that is only adding fuel to the fire. His association becomes “when I see people outside the car, I get punished – so I better make sure they go away before the punishment comes”.
Training:

Teach him to stay in the back seat, that he’s no longer allowed in the front seat.

Teach him to remain sitting or laying down when in the car, never standing until invited out.

Blue needs to be hand fed (no food for him unless it comes directly from your hand or your wife’s hand – especially your wife as he is resource guarding her) for at least two months.

Work him on crate games for self control and impulse control (http://www.seizetheleash.com/files/crategames.cfm)

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