Practice Trade You to prevent your pup from feeling the need to guard toys/chews, off limit items, or trash that he finds on the ground.
Just as he may be naturally inclined to guard his food bowl, a dog may be naturally inclined to protect a prized toy or a potentially dangerous ‘off-limit’ item. We may need to get many things out of our dog’s mouth over the course of his life. Your thoughtful response and preparedness with treats to trade will go a long way towards raising a dog who doesn’t grab, guard and gobble.
A Good Rule
Anytime you want to take something your puppy has, remember to trade them!
Practice trading your puppy for things in a wide variety of locations. At home, on walks, in the backyard, in the park. Anywhere the opportunity may arise that need to get something he picks up.
A Sample Hierarchy
A sample of hierarchy of articles to work with: stuffed toy, tug toy, rubber bone smeared with cheese, food stuffed Toppl Treat, bully stick in gripper, knuckle bone, random off limit items.
Give the puppy the chosen low value article, perhaps a stuffed toy.
Put a treat against his nose so he can smell it and trade the treat for the toy. Immediately give the puppy the toy back and repeat.
The value of the treat needs to be higher than what you are trading for. Repeat this exercise five times in a row. Do this a few times a day for two to three days.
With that under your belt, move on to an article that is of greater value to the pup, maybe his favorite chew or food stuffed toy. Remember we have upped the ante here so our ‘trade you treat’ must reflect this. If the article is more valuable to the pup, the treat must be of greater value. We want the puppy to be eager to trade with us. Repeat this exercise often.
Proof Your Work!
Once the puppy is relaxed and comfortable with a more valued article, start to trade for articles that the puppy may happen upon, sticks in the park, garbage on the street.