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Huskies are known for their beautiful and striking appearance, as well as their lively and independent nature. However, like many dogs, Huskies can also exhibit resource guarding behavior, which can be a potential cause for concern. Resource guarding in Huskies can manifest in a variety of ways, and may include growling, snapping, or biting when someone tries to take away their possessions. In this article, we will explore the signs of resource guarding in Huskies and discuss effective strategies for preventing and stopping this behavior, helping you to build a strong and trusting relationship with your furry friend.
Note: Resource guarding can be a challenging problem for a dog owner. In addition to the tip below, you may want to consider consulting the help of a professional. Two excellent online courses we reviewed for resource guarding are SpiritDog and K9 Training Institute.
1. Understand What’s Triggering Your Huskies Resource Guarding
The first step in addressing resource guarding is to identify the specific triggers causing your Husky to display this behavior. Observe your Husky closely and take note of which resources they guard and under what circumstances. Common triggers include:
The presence of other dogs or pets
Approach of family members, especially children
Sudden movements or loud noises near the guarded resource
Understanding the triggers allows you to manage the environment effectively, preventing incidents before they occur.
2. Desensitization and Counter-Conditioning Your Husky Against Resource Guarding
Desensitization and counter-conditioning are powerful techniques to help your Husky overcome resource guarding. Desensitization involves gradually exposing your dog to the triggering situations, starting with low-intensity encounters and gradually increasing the intensity. Counter-conditioning, on the other hand, involves teaching your dog to associate the presence of the trigger with positive experiences.
For example, if your Husky guards their food bowl when approached, start by standing a considerable distance away while they eat. Gradually decrease the distance over time, rewarding your dog with praise or treats when they remain calm. This process helps your dog associate your presence near their food with positive outcomes, reducing their need to guard the resource.
3. Teach Your Husky the “Leave It” Command
Training your Husky to respond to the “leave it” command is essential in addressing resource guarding. This command tells your dog to release whatever they’re holding or to stop focusing on a particular item. To teach this command:
Hold a treat in your closed hand and present it to your Husky.
When your dog sniffs or paws at your hand, say “leave it.”
Once your dog stops trying to get the treat, praise them and reward them with a treat from your other hand.
Gradually progress to using the command with other objects, such as toys or food bowls.
Using the “leave it” command consistently can help prevent resource guarding incidents before they escalate.
4. Teach Your Husky the “Drop It” or “Give” Commands
Similar to the “leave it” command, teaching your Husky to “drop it” or “give” is crucial in managing resource guarding. These commands instruct your dog to release an item from their mouth or willingly give it to you. To teach these commands:
Start by playing with a toy your dog likes but doesn’t typically guard.
While your dog is holding the toy, say “drop it” or “give” and offer a high-value treat.
When your dog releases the toy, praise them and give them the treat.
Gradually progress to using the command with more valuable items.
5. Practice the “Trade-Up” Technique with Your Husky
The “trade-up” technique involves offering your Husky a higher-value item in exchange for the one they’re guarding. This method teaches your dog that surrendering a resource can lead to better rewards, reducing their need to guard. Practice this technique by offering a high-value treat or a favorite toy whenever your dog is guarding a less valuable item. Over time, your dog will learn that giving up a guarded resource is a positive experience.
6. Avoid Punishing Your Husky
Punishing your Husky for resource guarding can exacerbate the problem and lead to increased aggression. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and reward-based training to modify your dog’s behavior. By consistently rewarding your dog for desired behaviors, you reinforce the idea that there’s no need to guard resources, as good things happen when they share or relinquish them. Remember that patience and consistency are key when working with a dog that displays resource guarding behaviors.
7. Try an Online Training Program for Resource Guarding
If your Huskies resource guarding behavior is severe or doesn’t improve with consistent training, it’s crucial to consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. These experts can help identify the root cause of the issue and create a tailored training plan to address the problem effectively. In some cases, medical issues or anxiety may contribute to resource guarding, and a veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist can help diagnose and treat these underlying conditions.
Our 2 favorite online courses are:
1. SpiritDog’s “Stop Resource Guarding” Course
The Stop Resource Guarding training course, attended by 243 students, consists of 42 comprehensive lessons that teach you science-based, fear-free techniques to help your dog trust you around their treasures and train a solid “Drop It” cue. With lifetime access, step-by-step instructions, and a certificate upon completion, this course will transform your relationship with your dog and eliminate resource guarding behaviors.
2. K9 Training Institute’s “Dog Masterclass”
More than just a resource guarding course, this more comprehensive training course tackles any behavior problem you might face with your dog.
3 Signs Your Husky is Resource Guarding
Here are three signs that your Husky may be resource guarding:
Growling or Snapping: If your Husky growls or snaps at you or other people when you approach them while they are eating or playing with their toys, it could be a sign of resource guarding.
Stiff Body Language: Your Husky may display a stiff body posture when they are near their possessions, such as toys, food, or bones. This could indicate that they are protecting their resources.
Refusing to Share: If your Husky refuses to share their toys or other possessions with you or other dogs, it could be a sign of resource guarding. They may growl, snap, or try to bite if someone tries to take their toys away from them.
In conclusion, resource guarding can be a challenging behavior to deal with, but it is not impossible to overcome. As with any dog training, consistency and patience are key. By identifying the signs of resource guarding in your Husky, you can take steps to address the behavior and prevent it from escalating. It’s important to remember that punishment or aggression towards your Husky will only make the problem worse. Instead, consider working with a professional dog trainer who can help you implement positive reinforcement training techniques to modify your Husky’s behavior. With time and effort, you can help your Husky become a happy and well-behaved member of your family.
Note: Resource guarding can be a challenging problem for a dog owner. In addition to the tips above, you may want to consider consulting the help of a professional. Two excellent online courses we like for resource guarding are SpiritDog and K9 Training Institute.
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