Gimme Gimme! Resource guarding in Puppies

Last week we talked about claiming your space, hierarchy in the dog world, and how it affects your Habibi Bear puppy’s behavior. This week’s topic is an extension of that topic, resource guarding.

What is resource guarding? In everyday language, it’s a puppy who has a toy that they don’t want others to touch, or a puppy who will not allow you to approach them while eating. In more formal analytical terms, resource guarding is an attitude, intention or action to control an object (food, toy, bed, person) or space (area of home or yard). As experienced puppy wranglers, from time to time we see complaints of resource guarding from our Habibi Bear tribe families as a demonstration of confusion or a breach of leadership that the puppy attempts to fill by stepping into that role (leader). Resource guarding can lead to unwanted behaviors and bad habits, so it is best to be aware of it and gently redirect in its early stages.

Let’s go back and review what a Pack Leader does: they control the resources (food), determine the pack members' roles (worker, supporter, follower) and the pecking order of the pack. The pack leader sets the tone and mood of the pack, and their presence commands respect and compliance. When we realize this and use this knowledge to our advantage, we can act with confidence that our actions are actually in harmony with what our Habibi Bear puppies instinctively know. 

What using our knowledge and being proactive looks like: 

  1. We enter the home first and our Habibi Bear guys and gals follow us, and other similar techniques to claim and command our space (Claim your Spot, last week’s blog post March 17). 
  2. Toys and treats are under your control and shared with your puppy in appropriate circumstances and areas. This is really helpful in preventing puppy boredom or toy burnout as well. Keep rotating your puppy’s toys to keep them fresh and interesting. And make sure special treats are given in their crates, on their beds, or on a tie-down to help make positive associations with those areas that we as Pack Leader want puppy to begin to claim as their own particular space.  
  3. We have knowledge of and recognize doggie body language, and are able to read the signs of a defensive doggie (low ears, or ears pinned back, freezing, hackles up, tail down, tense muzzle, semi-crouched) and know how to diffuse the tension. If you notice your Habibi Bear puppy exhibiting signs of resource guarding, reach out to us and take advantage of our Pup Start program to get things back in balance sooner rather than later. 
  4. Most importantly, we are comfortable and confident in our role as Pack Leader. We understand that dogs love and appreciate having a structure, routine, and hierarchy and that our Habibi Bear puppy can relax and enjoy life more fully when we are the Pack Leader they’ve always wanted. 

There are some puppies who will push those boundaries and others who would never, ever dream of challenging you. It is important that you know which personality is more present in your Habibi Bear puppy in order to plan accordingly. Next week, we will cover when it is safe and productive to allow your puppy more freedom in your home. If you ever are confused, need insight or troubleshooting, reach out to us. We are always here for you, cheering you on! 

Julie and the pack at 

For more great tips and receive our weekly blogs - sign up to join our mailing list!

Sign up

for Birth Announcements & Newly Listed Puppy Alerts!

Join our email list to be notified when new litters arrive & selections for Habibi Bears begin.
(Selection is reserved for our Paid Waiting List Only - to be considered for a puppy, you must have an application and paid reservation on file)

Fill out the form below and we will email you when new litters arrive & puppies are listed for selection!