The “I Come In Peace” Guarding-Modification Protocol

This guarding-modification protocol, created by my buddy and fellow coach Kelly Fahey, proprietor of The DogSmith of Hunterdon in Pittstown, New Jersey, is a straightforward protocol that can be utilized by shelters, individuals who have adopted canines who confirmed guarding conduct within the shelter or whose canines began guarding of their new house, and by any canine proprietor with a guardy canine. When achieved correctly, it teaches the canine that an individual approaching means extra good things is coming, serving to to dispel the canine’s notion that the individual would possibly take her good things away. 

The procedures needs to be undertaken by one individual at first, then generalized to others. 

As all the time, when modifying conduct, we need to take away as many alternatives for the canine to follow the undesirable conduct as potential. If a canine in a shelter is being “guardy” as guests cross by, she is vulnerable to being triggered by each passerby, and her conduct will worsen. If potential, such a canine would profit from being moved to a kennel in a ward with out public entry and introduced out to be proven to potential adopters who appear to be a superb match.

Note: If at any time you elicit a growl or different guarding conduct, you might be too shut and/or have proceeded too shortly.

1. Tether the canine to an eye fixed bolt affixed to the wall for that objective, or to a strong, heavy object. Give her a helpful chew object (not a Kong – it should roll out of her attain) or a small bowl of meals.

2. Have a superb provide of high-value treats you could toss simply. (Chicken doesn’t work nicely for this – it’s too messy and exhausting to precisely toss.) Small bits of cheese or meat work nicely.

3. Walk previous the canine at a protected distance. Depending on the canine, this can be six to eight ft past the top of the tether, or it might be nearer. As you cross, toss a number of high-value treats close to the bowl or chewy, the place she will simply attain them. Keep strolling; don’t pause to toss. If the canine growls, lunges, or exhibits different apparent guarding conduct, you might be too shut.

4. Repeat Step Three till, as you strategy, you see the canine beginning to lookup in comfortable anticipation of the treats she expects you to toss. When she does this persistently, lower the gap between your self and the canine by a number of inches as you cross by.

5. As lengthy as she is persistently comfortable at every new distance, proceed passing by and dropping treats, progressively getting nearer to her whenever you cross.

6. When she is proud of you strolling previous at a distance shut sufficient to the touch her, pause as you cross and feed a deal with out of your hand. Then stroll on.

7. When she stays comfortable along with your pause-and-feed, progressively improve the size of time that you simply pause and feed her treats. The improve needs to be not more than 1 to 2 seconds. As you improve the size of your pause, begin speaking in a contented voice as you feed her the treats.

8. When you possibly can pause for about 10 seconds and she or he stays comfortable, sometimes bend barely and drop a deal with into the bowl or subsequent to her chewy, then feed some extra out of your hand and stroll on. 

9. Repeat, progressively growing the variety of occasions you bend and drop.

10. Now, progressively improve how a lot you bend over till you possibly can contact the bowl or chewy. Remember, when you see any signal of stress you could have moved too shortly. Back up a number of steps and proceed extra slowly from there. 

11. Finally, as you might be pausing, bending, and feeding, sometimes play the Trade recreation, all the time returning the bowl or object to her after she has fortunately allowed you to take it.

12. Now, begin the protocol over once more at Step 1 with one other workers member, volunteer, or dependable member of the family. Continue till the canine is snug with quite a lot of individuals approaching her. Repeat the method with any new household mates or shelter guests that may observe your instructions, all the time beginning with Step 1.


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