On Sunday, May 1st we had our very first Professional Member Roundtable event!
Our topic was Resource Guarding and we had a great discussion.
Seven professional members attended to openly discuss how we work with resource guarding. We started by going around the table and asking ourselves how we regard it, and the challenges associated working with it.
Some of our discussion points:
- Several professionals said that they treat it as a fear-based behaviour, but other members also discussed it being based on frustration and annoyance.
- One professional described resource guarding as a recent challenge in her career and her first resource guarding case, about a dog that guards space, and sometimes people.
- Another professional commented that resource guarding as a behaviour problem for pet dog owners seems to have escalated over the past few years.
- We all agreed that there is very little, if anything, easy about resource guarding.
- Teaching clients how to manage resource guarding can be challenging. If a client mis-manages the problem, it can get out of hand very quickly, and even start to generalize.
- One of the hardest things for clients is to commit to working through all the protocols.
- One of the more difficult resource guarding issues is with dogs who guard space.
- We discussed some educational resources for resource guarding, including a seminar with Sue Sternberg and Trish King that a couple of professionals had attended.
- Several professionals have also completed Michael Shikashio’s Master Aggression course. His theory is that there can be all kinds of emotions associated with it, not just fear, but also anger, annoyance and anxiety.
- One professional described working with resource guarding using “Games Based Concept Training” and teaching optimism.
- We all agreed that Chirag Patel’s method of teaching Drop It is a useful tool.
- One professional described living with a resource guarding dog. She taught that dog to bring her toys that have food inside them for help get the food out - the dog then learned that giving up valuables are rewarding.
- Another professional discussed how resource guarding can sometimes be challenging to identify: is it really resource guarding, or is the dog worried about the approaching person for some other reason, as an example?
- Where do we start with dogs that guard “everything”?
- What other behaviours may go along with resource guarding?
- We asked if it matters whether the behaviour is identified as resource guarding or something else, and if it matters whether it is fear-based, or based in other emotions (like annoyance, etc).
- Do the answers to these questions change how we treat it, and if so, how?
- We don’t want to work too close to the dog’s level of frustration, annoyance (or fear).
- Very quickly, annoyance can become a fear-based response, if the owner has been punitive to the dog.
- Often, people seek us out for one problem, but when we look into it, there are multiple problems.
- Videos can be helpful, including letting the client take a video and then watch it themselves.
- Many of us agreed that while challenging, resource guarding issues are interesting and can be very rewarding.
The Roundtable is a monthly event for Professional Members of PACTA BC to hold discussions, ask questions and share experiences in a safe and supportive space. Come and be a part of the group!