Monday, 6 December 2010

Aggression over toys when playing ball in the park

Q: I often play ball with my dog in the park and he loves it, but when another dog goes near his ball, my dog becomes very aggressive and attacks other dogs. How can I stop him attacking?

A: Guarding toys against other dogs is perfectly normal behaviour for dogs. Many dogs guard resources they love (e.g. toys) and do so with lots of aggression! Playing ball or playing with any other toy in the park with your dog whilst there are other dogs around is asking for trouble. So your best and safest option is to simply keep the toys in your pocket when there are other dogs around. This applies whether your dog guards toys or not as you never know what an approaching dog might do, e.g. steal the toy and then guard it against your dog. So, be safe and only play with toys in the park when there are no other dogs around!

If your dog is guarding indoors against you or your other dogs, then that's a different story and will be material for another blog post in the future.

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