Click Here to Create or Access Your Client Profile.


East Valley K9 Services


Aggressive K9 Behavior: Resource Guarding

Aggressive K9 Behavior: Resource Guarding

Table of Contents

word image 821 1 resource guarding

Dogs communicate through growling, barking or snarling when it comes to controlling access to their food, objects/toys/bones, people and even locations (like their favorite spot on the couch!).  Does your dog exhibit this common resource guarding canine behavior?

Dog aggression manifests in many forms. One common type is called “resource guarding” (also known as food aggression or possession aggression) but can also include space, people and objects; anything a dog perceives as his coveted resource or obsession.

Resource guarding can be directed at other dogs, pets or even humans through:

  • Defensive body language:
    • Ears pulled back and pupils dilated
    • Hackles are raised
    • Tail is down and tensed
    • Muzzle is tense and pulled back with teeth exposed
  • Overt aggressive display (a more advanced form of aggressive resource guarding)
    • word image 821 2 resource guarding Growling, snapping, snarling, lunging or biting

While this behavior is considered natural in canine social interactions, it is also a behavior that should never be encouraged, tolerated or ignored as it can become increasingly more obsessive with greater unpredictability and far more dangerous consequences.

Any dog owner who is experiencing aggression issues with their dog

should first have their dog examined by their veterinarian to rule out

any medical issues or causes. If there are no medical issues present,

the next step is to seek the advice and guidance of an experienced

professional trainer. Do not wait, the problem will not get better

with time. Ask your veterinarian if they have a trainer that they can recommend.

(Steve Mark, Professional Dog Trainer, East Valley K9 Services)

What’s Behind Resource Guarding?

Aggressive guarding behavior usually stems from:

“A manifestation of the dog’s deep-rooted insecurity and inability to cope well

in a social situation, even with people and other dogs he knows.”

(Victoria Stillwell, expert positive reinforcement dog trainer)

word image 821 3 resource guarding A dog who engages in resource guarding will not allow any challenge for the desired object, area or person and will zealously guard and maintain their priority access. The perceived threat leads a dog to be obsessively vigilant, irritable and unpredictable. These behaviors will continue to escalate until the threat is removed or resolved through overt aggressive behavior.

Is Confrontation or Punishment the Answer?

An aggressive dog (whether it involves resource guarding or some other form of aggressive behavior) should not be challenged, dominated or physically punished. While these responses may seem logical from a human’s perspective, these actions will, in fact, increase:

  1. Competition for the coveted resource.
  2. Exacerbate the need for even more vigilant guarding.
  3. Create fear.

word image 821 4 resource guarding Instead, it’s important to understand this behavior from a canine’s perspective. Social competition is a natural part of a dog’s day-to-day life. Also remember, this behavior usually stems from insecurity and the inability to act/react in a socially-acceptable manner. Forcing these deeply-seated issues with anger or dominance will do nothing to positively resolve and modify the unwanted behavior.

NOTE: Resource guarding is a very unpredictable and dangerous behavior

for the average dog owner to address on their own. It’s best to bring in an experienced and well-qualified K9 professional for the best possible – and lasting – results.

Need our help with your dog’s aggressive behaviors?

Join one of our training classes in the Chandler or East Valley areas of Arizona with a $10 discount during July!

Space is limited so register today at!

Prevent Resource Guarding BEFORE It Starts!

  1. Since resource guarding manifests out of insecurity and inadequate social skills, socialize your puppy/dog in all kinds of situations with all kinds of objects, food, people and animals to reduce the potential for word image 821 5 resource guarding resource guarding.
  2. Teach dogs appropriate manners. Teach your dogs to wait, whether it’s for food, your attention or even playing with a coveted toy. Teaching dogs to be “polite” can go a long way towards avoiding unwanted aggressive behaviors later.
  3. Teach the drop-it and leave-it commands. This dog training helps to avoid resource guarding (negative) and reinforces sharing (positive).
  4. If you have multiple dogs in your home, offer food and treats with all the dogs together. Encourage your dogs to quietly sit and patiently wait for their turn. Regularly doing this can help avoid the manifestation of resource guarding since there is no perceived threat. If your dogs do show signs of resource guarding, call in a professional immediately!
  5. Do NOT ignore potential signs of resource guarding or any other form of dog aggression. Call in a professional immediately!

“Most dog trainers have areas in which they specialize so make sure

that the trainer you choose has experience working with aggressive

dogs. They should be able to provide references from past clients.”

(Steve Mark, Professional Dog Trainer, East Valley K9 Services)

word image 821 6 resource guardingHey Fido!

Bring your owner to one of our July classes in the Chandler or

East Valley areas of Arizona

and receive $10 off!

(That means extra treats for you Fido!)

Click here to contact us, call us directly at 480-382-0144

or register today at!

Is your dog/pet protected in the event something happens

to you?

Get our July newsletter packed with

information about Pet Trusts and much more!

Just send us an email us and ask for a (free) copy of this life-saving information!

Additional Reading:

  1. Resource Guarding

  1. How to Stop Resource Guarding Aggression Between Dogs

  1. Resource Guarding in Dogs: What is it and What Can You Do to Stop it?

  1. How to Stop Resource Guarding & Food Possession in Dogs

Image Credits (Shown in Order):

  1. Image by Nicholas Demetriades from Pixabay
  2. Image by Melanie Thomas from Pixabay
  3. Image by Leo_65 from Pixabay
  4. Image by Lindasay from Pixabay
  5. Image by freestocks-photos from Pixabay
  6. Image by wernerdetjen from Pixabay



Visit Us On Social

Recent Posts

Free Resources

Sign up for our Newsletter

Get our training, classes, and blog post updates. Don’t worry your information is kept private and will not be sold.

Sharing Is Caring


Join Our Facebook Members Group