Book Review – Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs

I recently read, “Mine!  A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs” by Jean Donaldson.  I purchased this book at the recommendation of the dog trainer who mentored me while I was working on getting my dog trainers certificate from the Animal Behavior College.  I was having problems with Sephi behaving aggressively towards smaller dogs and my mentor advised me that this book would be a great help.

Sephi’s aggression issues with smaller dogs usually comes about when food is involved.  Food is considered a valuable resource to many dogs and may trigger excessive guarding and/or aggression issues when it comes to protecting that resource.  Other things a dog might consider a valuable resource worth guarding are toys, beds, sleeping spaces, their owners, or even parts of themselves (like some dogs hate to have their feet touched).  Indications that your dog may have a resource guarding issue includes growling, showing their teeth, snapping, or biting.

This book is geared more towards dog trainers, but it can be followed by pet owners who are fairly savvy when it comes to dog training.  The book goes into great detail when explaining what resource guarding is and the various reactions of the dog which is guarding.  The book also gives step by step instructions on how to deal with each type of resource guarding.  These instructions are very extensive.  Each step can take weeks or more to complete.  But if you have a dog who snaps at your children when they get too close to him while he is eating, or a dog who growls when you try to move him off your bed, it will be worth your while to read this book and follow the steps.

While I found this book very informative and helpful, you should know that a lot of the terminology in the book is terminology used by dog trainers.  If you are not familiar with the vocabulary of a dog trainer, you may find that you have to consult a dictionary every other page or so.  As a result, you may not completely understand some of the steps and may be less likely to implement them properly.  If you are unsure of what terms like desensitization, counterconditioning, classical conditioning, or operant conditioning are, you should either a) hire a professional dog trainer instead of reading this book, or b) read a book on basic dog training before reading this book.

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