Resource Guarding Tips: Use High Reward Treats (Jerky!)

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I’m a Chewy influencer! This post is dedicated to sweet Shermie who is in the first picture above with the Honest Kitchen Jerky Treats bag. He’s a resource guarder. I’m not going to write a long post about this behavior but instead provide some high level tips for pet parents that also share their home with a dog that likes to guard objects. The key takeaway is high reward treats to play the “trade” game.

Teach this EARLY on when you realize this is a behavior (or I would train all dogs to trade honestly…) the dog you brought home has mastered before meeting you! Shermie guards the remote control and objects he brings in from outside – e.g. sticks. We learned quickly that trading this object with a treat is the way to his heart! Over time, this game became so much fun – he drops the object in front of us and trades almost immediately.

How to play the trade game:

  • You need REALLY high value treats: So Chewy sent us some of the Honest Kitchen Jerky Treats which are a great example of a novel treat that works well with this game.
  • Simply trade the object for the treats — don’t lose patience but play this game like you’re playing fetch! In the beginning if your dog isn’t guarding but just grabbed an object that they shouldn’t have, you can trade with a treat and then give them back the object to teach them that it won’t always disappear.
  • DON’T ever chase your dog around the room when they grab that object so they think it’s a chase game — that doesn’t work — calmly toss the treat with enough distance where they cannot grab the object before you have a chance to pick it up and remove it.
  • IF your dog is growling (we love when they provide you with head’s up growl by the way – this isn’t sarcasm, growls are good warnings) then perhaps consult with a trainer as well. Shermie simply wants our attention and we were never afraid we’d lose fingers.

Why Honest Kitchen’s Joyful Jerky Treats are a big hit! 

  • They’re made with a very limited number of ingredients and perfect for pets with food sensitivities.
  • They are created using a gentle dehydration process that removes only the moisture and retains most of the naturally occurring nutrients and flavors.
  • This jerky is made with real, whole-food ingredients — and no fillers, by-products, glycerin, sugars or mixed tocopherols — they’re the feel-good reward your dog deserves.

Disclaimer: We received these products from Chewy.com as part of their blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  I only share information about products that I believe in and already fit into our doggie lifestyle and routine. Chewy.com did not compensate me for this post.   

Resources: Chewy Jerky Treats

Other posts on positive training!

Resource Guarding in Whole Dog Journal – great article!

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There are 5 Comments

  1. Jan K says:

    Luke does this as a game. When he gets something he’s not supposed to have, he wants to be chased. That’s a great tip about tossing the treat; though usually if I just say “treat” he’ll drop what he has and come to me to get the treat. But then I have to beat him back to where he dropped it! 🙂
    Some things he’ll even give back without a trade….but it depends on how exciting it is to him!

    • Thank you so much for commenting – sometimes I think I’m the only one with a dog that guards stuff :). Shermie is SO fast so if I toss it I have a chance to grab it. If it’s a stick he typically just trades np but if it’s something he really wants all bets are off. That’s awesome that Luke drops it — did he offer you that without you having to teach it? Agreed it’s all about the excitement factor!

  2. Ruth Epstein says:

    I don’t give Layla jerky because of her allergies to chicken LOL but in the park she knows exactly who has the duck or chicken jerky and will always sneak up to them for a piece – the people know exactly what to do

  3. Beth says:

    Those seem like something worth trading for. I trade with Theo sometimes, I’m sure he wouldn’t be able to resist those.