Resource Guarding Aggression

Resource-guarding behaviour relates to aggression that dogs show over food and sometimes over non-food items that are important to the dog.

High-value foods often cause resource-guarding and they can include fresh, meaty bones,  chicken frames, chicken necks or similar and raw-hide chews (such as pig’s ears).

Compared to some other forms of aggressionm resource-guarding can be seen in both dog-to-dog and dog-to-human aggression. It can be directed towards other non-dog species.

This behaviour occurs commonly in wild animals – particularly the predatory species and is normal. It relates to the animals’ needs to protect valuable resources. This is most typically seen with predators such as lions, tigers, dingoes, wolfs and even vultures as their lives revolve around getting the next ‘meal’.

It also occurs in domestic dogs were it can be mild or it can be serious , manifesting as chaotic and dangerous aggression.

Resource-guarding Behaviour

Species involved

Dog to dog   YES

Dog to human   YES

Dog to non-dog (cats, other non-dog pets)   YES

Can be a normal behaviour   YES

Can be an abnormal behaviour   YES

Can be mild   YES

Can be serious/dangerous   YES


Breed predilection: 

Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Border Collie, English Bull Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Maltese Terrier and others


Contents of next page

1. The most common characteristics of Resource-guarding aggression

2. Podcasts on Resource-guarding aggression

3. Remedies for Resource-guarding aggression