Sharing with one another is something that must be learned, and it starts in puppyhood, when pups seek milk from their mom. In order to get enough, the puppies compete for a nipple, then hang on for dear life. They don’t give up that nipple until they’re satiated, or it runs out of milk…at which point they might try to force another puppy away from theirs! The other puppy objects, and Puppy Number One retreats. Or Puppy Number One learns that he can intimidate Puppy Number Two, who will decide that discretion is the better part of valor and leave.
There are many different ways to handle possession issues, depending on the type of guarding you're dealing with. If a dog is protecting just one thing, it’s easier to work on. If she guards multiple things, not so much. Generally, the best approach is to teach a dog that he or she doesn't need to guard anything, that there's plenty of 'stuff' to go round. However, that doesn't always work.
Next month we'll discuss various tools and techniques to help modify guarding issues.