I am often one of those people that don't follow my own advice. I am also one of those people that often avoids, ignores or is simply too busy to deal with a problem head on. Alas, I am also one of those people that knows how to handle a problem but just doesn't want to do the work. I am often my own worst training client! So when my foster dog began showing resource guarding towards my dog I just did a perfunctory management, I put away the toys he was guarding AFTER he had already practiced the bad guarding behavior…bad trainer! I have vowed, in recent days, to really work on this for a multitude of reasons. The first being I need the experience and practice and the others being I hate seeing my dog bullied and this foster dog needs to be adopted so I should do my part to make him more desireable. That is what a foster home is for after all!
So here is my plan and what I've done so far. All bones have gone away. Only one dog goes out the door at a time (my dog first, however I have yet to decide if that is the best choice). And I am more proactive when they play and interrupt it to bring the intensity down and then let them play again. I have also brought the crate back out for my foster dog. Let me tell you, the crate has already shown a HUGE difference in tension in the house! Before, both dogs were allowed to be loose in the living room (where all the altercations took place) and I noticed that Bruce (the foster dog) was starting to even guard the living room! He was also allowed to roam loose in our bedroom at night because…well, because I hate dogs that whine and cry in the crate and I am a sucker! Plus he has bilateral hip dysplasia and it was pressed upon me that a crate would be hard on him. Beanie however loves his crate and preferred to sleep in it at night.
So what I did was put the crate for Bruce in our bedroom hoping that might make it less miserable for him (it had previously been in the living room where he'd be all by himself at night). He readily accepted it and went in on his own the very first day! He's been great in it at night! Problem solved? Not quite, but we are on our way and I have ordered a book to help with the rest of the modification protocol. 'Mine' by Jean Donaldson is going to be my manual for taking care of this issue. I highly recommend pretty much anything by her but I am especially excited to get this book and get started. I am encouraged by the progress I have seen so far, they are more relaxed and playful with each other, there is no more living room guarding and the door behavior is great, of course the bones are still not left out, they only get them in their crates.
So while I may be like everyone else in most ways, in this I am different; I have the tools needed to work at a problem and I enjoy the process of learning and training, even if my motivation is a bit slow to get jump started! Wish me luck as we go along this journey!