The best way to stop puppies from guarding their toys

I love it! It’s my toy! Occasionally, puppies won’t let you near their toy – they just won’t share. The following tips will help you deal with a puppy who guards his toys.

Your puppy may have had to fight with his siblings for food and toys depending on how large a litter he came from. It’s common for puppies to develop resource guarding behavior, especially if they have to fight for everything. As a new dog owner, resource guarding can be discouraging, especially when your puppy snaps or growls at you. Learn how to stop puppy toy guarding by reading on.

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Resource Guarding Tips

Each puppy is unique, so you’ll need to work with him to reduce his guarding behavior. Trying a couple of different methods might work for one puppy, but not for another. Some ideas are as follows:

  • Make sure your puppy has good manners. You need to teach your puppy that he only gets what he wants when he’s polite, even if you take away the toy he’s guarding. Try teaching him a few basic commands, such as sit, before you give him something he wants, such as his favorite toy. Essentially, you’re teaching him to say “please” before receiving anything.

  • Give your puppy a cue. Put a treat your puppy really likes next to something he doesn’t value very much. Ask your puppy to give you the item when he has it in his mouth. When he finishes the treat, praise him for dropping the object. From an item he doesn’t care about, work your way up.

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  • You should train your puppy to respond to the command Off. Using a treat as a lure, get your puppy to jump up onto something by using a treat as a lure. Tell your puppy to get down when he jumps up before giving him the treat. Praise him and give him a treat when he does.

  • You should condition your dog to react positively to your approach. Playing with a toy while your puppy growls, you can work with him to condition a positive response rather than a negative one. Give your puppy a toy he doesn’t particularly care about, then walk over and present him with one of his favorite toys. You should repeat this several times a day until your puppy responds positively to your approach.

  • Avoid triggers to prevent the behavior. It’s important to avoid things that will trigger your puppy’s guarding behavior while you’re trying to reduce his guarding behavior. Don’t approach him if you know he’ll growl if you attempt to approach while he’s eating! Keep working with him and take the progress as it comes.

Depending on how you approach it, you can modify your dog’s behavior in just about any way you like. By combining praise and rewards, you can reinforce desirable behaviors like sharing and discourage undesirable ones like resource guarding. See if any of the tips above work for you!

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