TIP #1: SIGNS OF RESOURCE GUARDING
Ever had a dog who won't give you his bone or chew toy if you try to take it from him? Or one who gets uncomfortable or growls if you get close to him when he's eating his dog food? Or snaps at you if he's on the sofa and you want him off? Or lifts his lip in a snarl if your friend tries to get close to you?
Answer yes to any of the above, and you've successfully diagnosed your dog as having a guarding issue. The catch-all, technical term is "resource-guarding," and can include guarding of dog food bowls (or food), place (dog crate, dog bed, sofa, etc.) items (rawhide, bones, balls, tissues, etc.) and less commonly, people.
Resource-guarding simply means that a dog gets uncomfortable when we (or other animals) are around him when he has "his stuff." He's nervous that we're going to take it away, so he tries to warn us off in a variety of ways, ranging from simply consuming his food faster, to an all-out bite. Trainers often hear the cry, "he bit without warning!" More often than not, there was a warning, somewhere, sometime - we just missed it.
During resource-guarding, dogs exhibit components of ritualized aggression. That is, they have a fairly explicit hierarchy of warnings - accelerated eating, cessation of eating or "freezing up," glassy/hard eyes, growling, lip lifting, snapping, biting - that they'll run through to get a competitor (YOU!) to back away from what they have. They're nervous that you're there and don't want to share.
If you believe you have a resource guarder please contact a competent, force free trainer to help you.
- Whole Dog Journal
TIP #2: SLOW DOWN YOUR TASMANIAN DEVIL
You contemplate taking your dog for a walk with mixed emotions. You love the idea of going for a companionable stroll through the neighborhood together, but when you pick up his leash he becomes the Tasmanian Devil.
Here are suggestions for turning this potential disaster into the enjoyable outing you dream of. Exercise first. Spend 15-20 minutes tossing a ball for your dog in the backyard, or providing intense mental exercise with a heavy duty shaping session. You'll take the edge off his excitement, reduce his energy level, and make leashing-up and walking more relaxed and enjoyable for both of you.
Pick up his leash throughout the day. He gets amped up when you touch his leash because it always means the two of you are going for a walk. If you pick up his leash numerous times throughout the day, sometimes draping it over your neck and wearing it for a while, sometimes carrying it from room to room, sometimes picking it up and putting it back down, the leash will no longer be a reliable predictor of walks, and he won't have any reason to get all excited about it.
If, when you pick up the leash, he goes bonkers (the behavior you don't want), say "Oops" or "Too Bad" in a cheerful tone of voice (what's known as a "no reward marker," it simply tells him no reward is forthcoming), set the leash down, and walk away. When he settles down, pick the leash up again. You're teaching him that getting excited makes the opportunity for a walk go away; staying calm makes walks happen.
- Whole Dog Journal
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI