Meet Freya, an incredibly sweet Golden Retriever puppy with a heart full of love for people and cuddles. However, a little issue arose when she began guarding objects she managed to snatch. She'd pick up items like tissues, rocks, and leaves and even try munching on them—eating rocks is certainly not recommended! Once she has these items, a growl isn't far behind, a behavior her owners were eager to correct early on.
In tackling resource guarding, we honed in on three training aspects: "Drop," "Leave," and some counter-conditioning. Counter-conditioning teaches them that when we approach while they have an item, they won't lose it. Instead, they're about to receive something even better, and we have no interest in taking their current item. Gradually, the training progresses to a point where they happily drop the item upon our approach, eager for the new reward, and allowing us to pick up the dropped item without fuss.
The “Drop” command is a game changer, helping them get accustomed to releasing items with the prospect of receiving something else. That something else could be food, another toy, or even the same item returned. The "Leave" command, on the other hand, deters them from picking up undesired items in the first place. Additionally, an emergency call-away tactic was introduced, so if Freya grabs something she shouldn't, a call to a specific spot in the house where good things happen ensures she leaves the item, anticipating a better reward elsewhere.
The training journey with Freya was rewarding. As seen in the video, she thoroughly enjoyed her training sessions. She's mastering the "Leave it" command and is doing exceptionally well with "Drop." By the end of the session, she was dropping a toy for another toy and then dropping toys for treats. Freya's progress was great and she’s a very clever little dog. Thanks to the family's proactive approach in recognizing early signs of resource guarding, booking a trainer, and diligently working through the training, they’re getting results.
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