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Resource Guarding vs. Rule Setting: Training and Management

dog guarding food
In the Response Zone, a dog will respond to another’s physical or psychological presence with either avoidance or aggression © Can Stock Photo / goldution

How do we know if we’re dealing with resource guarding or rule setting? For me, the answer lies in a constellation of observable behaviors which, taken together, tell the tale. I think of this as The Zones.

Ownership Zone: This is the actual physical space in which the dog has ownership of or control of the resource.

Defense of Possession Zone: Where is the point where the dog feels that his control of a resource may be threatened in some way? Where is defense of possession triggered?

Influence Zone: Where is the point where the dog is able to create a response in another being? How does the dog achieve this: with physicality or with psychological presence?

Response Zone: Where does the dog responds to another’s physical or psychological presence? His response may be avoidance or aggression.

(Issue 48, May 2021, pp.22-26). Read article 


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