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Hi Everyone, looking for some advice. I currently have a 6 year old boxer mix named Jemma who is a resource guarder with other dogs. I learned this the hard way when I first adopted her and took her to a few dog parks, as well as a boarding facility that allowed the dogs to play off leash in a yard. Basically, if a dog attempts to approach her when she has a tennis ball, she will growl, bare teeth and in most cases attack the other dog. One of these altercations ended with her at the emergency vet having to get stitches for a gash across her face.

These incidents happened years ago and I have since just been avoiding dog parks and now hire sitters to stay in my home when I go out of town. However I have had my friends dog stay at my place before and Jemma does seem to enjoy the company of her dog and is super playful. Of course these times I also have always removed toys and fed them separately to avoid any potential problems.

Current issue: I am a huge dog lover and would LOVE to adopt another dog. I am concerned, however that this may be a recipe for disaster. My question is, if I were to adopt a dog into my home who Jemma accepted as part of the "pack" or family, would she still be likely to exhibit the same resource guarding behavior? I don't want to live in an environment where I have to not have any toys or kongs out, or have to separate them in order to let them play with toys etc.

Has anyone successfully had 2 dogs coexist when one previously exhibited resource guarding behavior? Would a dog be less likely to resource guard with a dog she considers a friend as opposed to a random dog at a dog park?

I realize there are training methods to use as well but I'm just curious what everyone's thoughts are as to how this situation might play out for me. Thank you!
 

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Maybe helpful...

There is a dog that I have been boarding in my home about 5 weeks throughout the year for two years now. She is a resource guarder and has known my adult dog since she was a puppy. To avoid problems I do exactly as you have stated above. Toys and bones are off the floor while she is here. When I do give her a bone, she is separated. I put her in an expen. There are no guarding problems with this arrangement and I will never change it. I have seen her guard a nut that fell off a tree in the yard from another dog. I don't see her getting better.

There is another dog I board that guards spaces (crate, couch, part of the floor) and food but not toys. In her case things are fine by simply feeding separately and having my dog enter a space first. She only guards if a dog enters her space first. She has known my dog for about 6 years.

Both the above dogs play with mine, they are friends. I think that what you will have to do depends on the dogs. Some management will definitely be necessary.
 

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Many dogs with resource guarding issues do live in multiple dog families, but their owners use very strict management to keep accidents from happening. And yes, that would include removing all toys and anything else considered a resource to the dog. Some dogs do learn to share with their housemates, but I wouldn't count on it. So it can be done, but you would have to prepared to keep all resources out of reach if your resource guarder is unable to share. You have to decide for yourself if that is a lifestyle you can live with.
 

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I have an older dog who is a severe resource guarder (from dogs and people), AND he is dog selective at best. And I have an extremely limited space. I added a second dog this year.

It can be done. But it may be, initially or permanently, a lifestyle where both dogs are sometimes or always separated, and a lifestyle where you need to constantly be aware of where resources and dogs are. My older dog guards everything (smells, spaces, toys, food) except people from other dogs. I will say that I expected separation between my dogs for their entire lives. But my older dog did adapt to the puppy and allows the puppy to do things I never would have imagined. They share toys only when playing tug, spaces, and smells. Food is still grounds for an attack. It has been a breath of fresh air living with two dogs I can now somewhat trust around each other. But I still would NEVER leave them alone unsupervised. My older dog has done damage to other dogs because of this issue. Though even if he hadn't, it isn't worth risking with a resource guarder.

I also know plenty of dogs given up from multidog households because of resource guarding. I think it takes a lot of structure, training, management, and realistic expectations. I use exercise pens and crates constantly. Both dogs are well trained. And even in their successful moments together (which I do celebrate!) I never forget that my older dog will always be a resource guarder. No matter what (and he is going on 12 years now).
 

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Of course these times I also have always removed toys and fed them separately to avoid any potential problems.
I think if you added another dog this would likely become permanent. Also be aware that they can start to guard other things too - like people (for attention), the bed, the best spot on the couch, etc. Sometimes they can be a little unpredictable.

You MIGHT have it a bit easier if you got a puppy rather than another adult since dogs are more tolerant of puppies. It's not a guarantee though.

I have one dog who guards food (anything edible) and new toys. The other guards food, people (sometimes), the couch (sometimes). Sometimes a fight will still break out with no resources around and I can't figure out what set them off. It's stressful and difficult and I personally wouldn't want to do it again, even though I have my dogs mostly figured out now and fights are uncommon these days.

I know adding a new dog is fun and exciting, but do try to think realistically about your situation. You know your dog best. Maybe you could try a new dog for a few days before committing to see how it is?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone. Sounds like it depends on the dog but regardless I would need to remain vigilant about toys/food laying around. Regarding trying out a new dog, I have considered fostering for that very reason, so maybe that's the way to go for now. It would give me the opportunity to see how my pup handles another dog in the house. I would hate to adopt another dog and then end up in a stressful situation due to the resource guarding.
 
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