Applied & Functional Behaviour Analysis Used To Treat Dog-Dog Resource Guarding

Behaviour Functions

Escape: Tango was running off with resource items to guard them from Marmalade approaching. Marmalade was approaching items and getting told off when in actual fact he usually wanted to just go into the room. Tango’s item guarding was pronounced around doorways. Marmalade avoided going near doorways when Tango was present.

On occasion he would try to enter a doorway with the intention of getting on the bed and she would growl. Caregiver would guide Marmalade into the room to manage Tango behaviour response to presence of Marmalade.

Tangible: Tango increased her guarding as the attention for this behaviour increased as in reinforcement for having items in her mouth by human praise. More pronounced when training with both dogs but overcame this by putting retrieves under stimulus control and rewards for not grabbing the item and running off with it.

Attention: Both dogs increased behaviour when attention was given. Conflict arose when one dog gained attention and the other did not, resulting in the one left out trying harder to find behaviours that would result in attention.

Sensory: The desire to have objects in their mouths and bring objects to me to meet some kind of need. Sensory need relating to touch, stroking, praise & reinforcement. More pronounced with distant antecedents relating to stress in the environment.

ABA Breakdown

  • Function Of Behaviours
  • Antecedent Arrangement & Management
  • Distant Antecedents
  • Setting Events
  • Immediate Antecedents Arranged & Analysed
  • Increased Environmental Predictability
  • Stimulus Control Of Events
  • Motivational Needs Being Met & Reinforcement For Desired Outcomes
  • Error-less Learning Of All Increments Towards Desired Behaviour
  • ABC’s.

Motivating operations: Tango uses the resource guarding as a way of getting attention from the caregiver. She reacts when the other dog approaches her item which appears to fulfill her attention and sensory needs. Marmie was starting to avoid her and he was adopting approach retreat type behaviours which give an indication of stress. This as triggered by the movement of the caregiver in the house and the sequence of events leading to the morning routine.

Other Factors & Previous Training Arrangements : Place feeding and reinforcement when finished food & remaining on places (beds). Worked to reduce proximity conflict relating to signals from the dogs when food was finished. Growling stopped and they happily wait reinforcement when bowls are empty. Each dog having their own specific toys and knowing what those toys are has greatly reduced the conflict. Management and positive handling to reduce all round stress has been a key factor and increasing environmental predictability and expectation of outcomes. Tango has been learning to sit and wait for doors and other items as well as reinforcement for checking in behaviours as in the deference protocol. This has worked to reduce her vocalisations.

Here is the video of our arrangement to reduce resource guarding in the house. Please note, we have not yet got the behaviour under strict stimulus control. The functions of the behaviour are being met & the conflict is greatly reduced.


[s3video s3url=”video/Interdog-Resource-Guarding-Using-ABA.mp4″ /]


Here is the Differential Reinforcement Schedule:


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