7 Strategies to Stop Your Bullmastiff’s Resource Guarding

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Bullmastiffs are known to be loyal and protective dogs, but sometimes their guarding instincts can turn into resource guarding behavior. Resource guarding can be a serious problem and may result in aggression towards family members or other pets. If you own a Bullmastiff that is showing signs of resource guarding, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. In this article, we will discuss ways to stop a Bullmastiff from resource guarding, so that you can ensure a happy and safe environment for both you and 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 Bullmastiff’s Resource Guarding

The first step in addressing resource guarding is to identify the specific triggers causing your Bullmastiff to display this behavior. Observe your Bullmastiff 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 Bullmastiff Against Resource Guarding

Desensitization and counter-conditioning are powerful techniques to help your Bullmastiff 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 Bullmastiff 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 Bullmastiff the “Leave It” Command

Training your Bullmastiff 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 Bullmastiff.
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 Bullmastiff the “Drop It” or “Give” Commands

Similar to the “leave it” command, teaching your Bullmastiff 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 Bullmastiff

The “trade-up” technique involves offering your Bullmastiff 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 Bullmastiff

Punishing your Bullmastiff 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 Bullmastiff’s 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 Bullmastiff is Resource Guarding

Here are three signs that your Bullmastiff may be resource guarding:

Growling or snapping: When a Bullmastiff feels that its resources are being threatened, it may growl or snap to warn the perceived threat to back off.
Possessiveness: A Bullmastiff that is resource guarding may become possessive of its toys, food, or other objects, and may refuse to share or become aggressive if approached.
Tension: When a Bullmastiff is guarding its resources, it may become tense and show signs of stress such as rigid body posture, raised fur, and a fixed gaze.

Resource guarding can be a dangerous behavior, especially in large and powerful breeds like the Bullmastiff. It is important for owners to recognize the signs of resource guarding in their dogs and take action to prevent it from escalating. By understanding the underlying causes of resource guarding and implementing effective training techniques, owners can help their Bullmastiffs learn to share and cooperate with humans and other pets. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every dog, with patience and persistence, owners can help their Bullmastiffs overcome this behavior and enjoy a happier, healthier relationship with their furry companions.

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.

The post 7 Strategies to Stop Your Bullmastiff’s Resource Guarding appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

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