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My dog likes to sleep/hang out under the bed, and she sometimes goes there when she's nervous too. I understand that the protected space is comforting to her. Sometimes I reach under and pet her, and she doesn't seem to mind (usually rolls belly-up), but last night she took a chew-bone under the bed and became very defensive. She exhibits no other signs of food aggression really, and we've even practiced filling her bowl but making her wait for permission to eat. She has no confusion at all as to who is the boss. I always thought that, as the pack leader, I may take a treat or food from her at any time without her getting aggressive, and this has been entirely true until I tried to take it from her while she was under the bed. Should under the bed be just her private space where I'm not allowed to go/bother her?
 

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Should under the bed be just her private space where I'm not allowed to go/bother her?

Short answer, No. But, you've got two issues going here and the serious one is resource guarding of food....you just happened to hit on a high value treat that she really, really wanted. That's the one that needs work.
The space issue is more complicated. Yes, they should have an area where they are not constantly bothered or made to move everytime someone comes into the room. They start to get defensive and guard their space when that happens repeatedly. Dogs should willing, obediently move when asked however....no matter where they are. You just don't want the two extremes....total isolation/protected space or no protected/secure place to sleep.
 

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Short answer, No. But, you've got two issues going here and the serious one is resource guarding of food....you just happened to hit on a high value treat that she really, really wanted. That's the one that needs work.
The space issue is more complicated. Yes, they should have an area where they are not constantly bothered or made to move everytime someone comes into the room. They start to get defensive and guard their space when that happens repeatedly. Dogs should willing, obediently move when asked however....no matter where they are. You just don't want the two extremes....total isolation/protected space or no protected/secure place to sleep.
Thanks for the reply, I'll look up some exercises to help us get over the resource guarding. You're right that this was no ordinary chew bone to her. It was huge and had a meaty filling. She was pretty much beside herself when we first gave it to her. She gets daily tennis ball chasing sessions but we often give her a cheap tennis ball to rip apart or a rawhide/pig ear in the evenings if she gets restless. She does an interesting thing when we first give it to her; she just holds it and looks guilty, looking at us for confirmation. We reassure her that she's a good girl and its hers, and if we pet her she just kinda lowers her head and freezes. On occasion I've had to take a treat from her, whether it was her gums bleeding or in one case she had a nylabone and was breaking off big chunks and eating them. She has always let out a half growl/half moan without showing any other signs like hackles or teeth. I always took that to mean she didn't want me to take it but she was willing to let me. I guess those were signs of the resource guarding, and this time it was made worse by her being under the bed and having the most awesome chew-bone ever.
 
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