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I have zero experience with this. When I had two dogs, they spent more time coveting each other's goodies than caring about protecting their own. This resulted in incessant swapsies, and the occasional stolen dinner, but zero confrontation.

Peggy's best playmate is a lovely young Briard. They were in puppy class together and still do some puppyish playing and chasing, but mostly now they just relax together in the grass and find random things to chew (roots, branches, fallen fruit).

And then they protect them from each other.

Peggy (as usual) is the vocal one. She'll growl if her buddy tries to take something from her. Sometimes it escalates to a snarl. Maybe twice we've caught her air snapping a warning. It's never gotten more physical than that, but Peggy sometimes seems stressed after, so I usually get in there and redirect.

Her buddy is the strong, silent type. She's got the classic Briard 'do, so you can't see her eyes. That makes her a little inscrutable to me. But she gives up easily when Peggy tells her to, and then quietly stands her ground when she's the one with the prize.

They will often lay shoulder-to-shoulder while one or both chews, but they never engage in tug o' war or freely swap like my old dogs did. If one gets distracted, the other typically swoops in for the steal. The other then stares (which seems a little rude), but then backs down.

My question: Is it okay to let them do this?

My worry is that this will increase Peggy's occasional guarding tendencies. Or is dog-dog resource guarding entirely separate from dog-human resource guarding?

Peggy spent much of today's playdate bringing me her found objects (I had a little stack at my feet by the end), so maybe their interactions are actually having a positive effect? I did do a few little treat sessions, taking turns saying their names while they sat in front of me, and then popping treats into their mouths. Peggy growled a couple of times when the Briard tried to push her out of the way, but (as with all their interactions), peace was immediately resumed.

It seems like they know how to work things out between them. Is it okay to let them?
 

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I don't have an answer to this. But I will say that two females of similar age and size and undetermined pecking order are bound to test each other now and again. They're at an age where they're testing out dominance and seeing how they stack up against their peers.

With Misha he is very submissive to any dog noticeably larger than him, but he will sometimes engage in dominance play with males of similar size or smaller, especially if they are his age or younger. His dominance games don't include guarding, but they do include head-over-shoulder posturing and humping.

My guess is that her guarding from other dogs is different in her mind from her guarding from you. But it can still be a problematic behavior (like with Misha's issues). I don't think mild mutual toy guarding is necessarily an issue if that's the game they like to play together. But I would be concerned if there are signs that it's escalating. Minor dominance games like this can shift into fight-causing disagreements in a flash with dumb hormone-driven adolescents. Where is the line? I don't know.
 

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Has Misha ever been in a fight?

To be honest, I'm amazed Peggy hasn't, considering how many dogs we've introduced her to. (Of course, now that I've typed this, I'm sure it'll happen.) She's been attacked once, but didn't fight back at all and has never been the aggressor.

I think part of it is that we now only let her play with dogs who've attended classes with our trainer. So not only are the dogs social, they have fairly savvy owners.

But I know it doesn't take much for things to escalate. And I'm starting to worry that these two best buddies—both intact, both sexually mature, both deep into adolescence—could eventually clash. There's usually a third there—a neutered pit/border collie—and he's masterful at keeping the peace. Will be interesting to see how the dynamic evolves, but, for now, Peggy is extremely submissive to him.
 

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Has Misha ever been in a fight?

To be honest, I'm amazed Peggy hasn't, considering how many dogs we've introduced her to. (Of course, now that I've typed this, I'm sure it'll happen.) She's been attacked once, but didn't fight back at all and has never been the aggressor.

I think part of it is that we now only let her play with dogs who've attended classes with our trainer. So not only are the dogs social, they have fairly savvy owners.

But I know it doesn't take much for things to escalate. And I'm starting to worry that these two best buddies—both intact, both sexually mature, both deep into adolescence—could eventually clash. There's usually a third there—a neutered pit/border collie—and he's masterful at keeping the peace. Will be interesting to see how the dynamic evolves, but, for now, Peggy is extremely submissive to him.
He hasn't really though he has been attacked and was submissive in return. I am fairly quick to cut him off if I see inappropriate behavior. He had a miniature poodle friend of the same age and they used to play very well but no longer do because the other one is no longer submissive and Misha finds that very hard to accept. They can interact peaceably with a moderator there to enforce a time out when needed, but there is definitely a bit of tension. But they are two intact males of same breed same age same size... so it is not surprising. Misha never starts aggression but I wouldn't be surprised if another dog returned with it given how rude he can occasionally be when he believes he has a higher social position. Thankfully it is a small number of dogs that he reacts this way to. Mostly he is lovely with everybody other than a tendency to follow around senior spayed bitches with an interest that wavers between polite and impolite. Boys...

Luckily the folks that bring dogs to our off leash area tend to be fairly decent and have well socialized dogs. The few dogs that I know he likes to mess with are easy to spot so I can redirect him and move him on. There are quite a few intact males and females there every day but serious fights are pretty rare. But minor same sex disagreement is common. People react appropriately for the most part and moderate interactions.
 

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He hasn't really though he has been attacked and was submissive in return. I am fairly quick to cut him off if I see inappropriate behavior. He had a miniature poodle friend of the same age and they used to play very well but no longer do because the other one is no longer submissive and Misha finds that very hard to accept. They can interact peaceably with a moderator there to enforce a time out when needed, but there is definitely a bit of tension. But they are two intact males of same breed same age same size... so it is not surprising. Misha never starts aggression but I wouldn't be surprised if another dog returned with it given how rude he can occasionally be when he believes he has a higher social position. Thankfully it is a small number of dogs that he reacts this way to. Mostly he is lovely with everybody other than a tendency to follow around senior spayed bitches with an interest that wavers between polite and impolite. Boys...

Luckily the folks that bring dogs to our off leash area tend to be fairly decent and have well socialized dogs. The few dogs that I know he likes to mess with are easy to spot so I can redirect him and move him on. There are quite a few intact males and females there every day but serious fights are pretty rare. But minor same sex disagreement is common. People react appropriately for the most part and moderate interactions.
Misha would have been super into Gracie. Lol.

Aww... You live in such a dog friendly place. I wish we had a public leash-free area that I could trust. Even remote spots can be dangerous, because that's where people bring their dog-aggressive dogs for exercise. You never know who will be around the next bend. Our friend was mountain biking and came face-to-face with TWO loose dogo argentinos.
 

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Mine will occasionally guard from each other - mostly food. It has never gone beyond an air snap, and the warning is always taken, so I consider it acceptable. I do manage things to minimise conflict - the dogs are fed well apart and I name who treats are for as I toss them, plus lots and lots of turn taking, sharing games since they were puppies. I was once with a friend who bred huskies when my two had a minor squabble over a treat that was not clearly named and she was horrified - her dogs would never have been permitted such behaviour. Probably because she had several generations of mother/daughter of big, powerful dogs, and the potential for extreme escalation was always there. I know I can pause things with a word, and real squabbles are extremely rare - maybe half a dozen in ten years.

I think the key is watching for stress thresholds. As long as both dogs are well able to control their reactions, and able to orient back to you with relaxed mouth and posture if asked, I think it is acceptable give and take. The danger may come if Peggy tries it with a less phlegmatic dog than her Briard friend, so I would encourage her behaviour of bringing her treasures to you for you to look after. That shows so much trust - the opposite of guarding resources from you - so you are obviously doing something very right indeed!
 

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Beckie and Merlin will also guard stuff, like sticks and treats. Well, mostly Beckie. It has never escalated, maybe because Merlin is passive and will let her win. If he has something in his mouth, Beckie won’t try to get it, but if it’s on the ground and they both go for it, the fastest wins.

I have taught them to stay at a distance when they eat their food. And the one wanting to lick the other one’s bowl has to wait until they are completely finished (have backed away from the food). Beckie was wild when I got her and I had to be very firm about that or there would have been fights.

So in conclusion, in general I let them do their stuff but I do intervene if I sense it will escalate, which very rarely happens (like maybe 2-3 times a year).
 

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I havent dealt with that eirher. Trixie deliberately teases Annie with a toy, prancing in front of her nose. Annie grabs a toy then hops on he couch where Trixie cant get it.

One thing i have learned to do at our dog park, is to run with the dogs. If i see an interaction i am unhappy with - whether Annie ia involved or not!- I run in the other direction, calling the aggressors name cheerfully. 90% of the time, they decide thats a WAY better game than whatever standoff they were in. I run, the dogs chase, i play a titch, and they switch into run play fun instead of cornering, pinning, etc. I often do this after a tense initial greeting with a new dog, and suddenly they are playing well.

There is a resource guarding dog at the park, but Annie just enjoys running with her and stays a distance away after being warned. The other dog is an unfixdd female, and even before Annie was spayed, both ran wonderfully together when no toys were in the park.
 

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I havent dealt with that eirher. Trixie deliberately teases Annie with a toy, prancing in front of her nose. Annie grabs a toy then hops on he couch where Trixie cant get it.

One thing i have learned to do at our dog park, is to run with the dogs. If i see an interaction i am unhappy with - whether Annie ia involved or not!- I run in the other direction, calling the aggressors name cheerfully. 90% of the time, they decide thats a WAY better game than whatever standoff they were in. I run, the dogs chase, i play a titch, and they switch into run play fun instead of cornering, pinning, etc. I often do this after a tense initial greeting with a new dog, and suddenly they are playing well.

There is a resource guarding dog at the park, but Annie just enjoys running with her and stays a distance away after being warned. The other dog is an unfixdd female, and even before Annie was spayed, both ran wonderfully together when no toys were in the park.
One thing I really really hate... is when an owner has a dog that is extremely toy possessive to the point of aggression and then brings their toys to the park! I get it if it's the dogs finding sticks and stuff but bringing their toys is setting them up for failure. There is a malinois that occasionally comes to our park like this. I tell Misha to stay away from her. Her owner says oh she's fine she just doesn't like other dogs near her toys! But they bring her toys to play with her! And she will react with aggression if another dog merely approaches. They could simply leave the toys at home and it would be fine.
 

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in general I let them do their stuff
The more I learn, the more I realize how important this is. If you intervene immediately, they never get to work things out.

I watched the coolest video where a 10-second interaction is broken down in extreme detail. The doggy conversation that took place in such a short time was amazing! Way beyond the comprehension of us relatively plodding humans.
 

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One thing i have learned to do at our dog park, is to run with the dogs.
Excellent advice. I did that a couple of times yesterday. Peggy looked very conflicted at first! But ultimately it's impossible to resist.

Once of the things we learned during our puppy class play sessions was to keep the party moving. The puppies always clustered wherever the humans were standing, so we'd occasionally spread out or head over to a different place in the yard. Those tight clumps is where most of the drama seemed to happen.
 

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One thing I really really hate... is when an owner has a dog that is extremely toy possessive to the point of aggression and then brings their toys to the park! I get it if it's the dogs finding sticks and stuff but bringing their toys is setting them up for failure. There is a malinois that occasionally comes to our park like this. I tell Misha to stay away from her. Her owner says oh she's fine she just doesn't like other dogs near her toys! But they bring her toys to play with her! And she will react with aggression if another dog merely approaches. They could simply leave the toys at home and it would be fine.
We encountered this at our dog park, too. Even if the fetching dogs weren't resource guarding, they were extremely intense, which made me wary.

A couple of times, my husband has picked up a random object and tossed it for the dogs. He looks at me like I'm nuts when I gently say, "Maybe let's not do that." But I think that even if it doesn't spark guarding, it's still recipe for disaster as multiple dogs run flat-out for the same thing. Luckily, they seem to know their place and will fall back accordingly at the last minute. Surprisingly, my little resource guarder is usually the first to say, "You go ahead."

That tells me that resource guarding is very much about insecurity rather than "dominance."

I'm signing up for a 3-part resource guarding seminar in December. It looks great.
 

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The more I learn, the more I realize how important this is. If you intervene immediately, they never get to work things out.

I watched the coolest video where a 10-second interaction is broken down in extreme detail. The doggy conversation that took place in such a short time was amazing! Way beyond the comprehension of us relatively plodding humans.
Do you have a link to that video? It sounds like a fascinating one. The more we all learn about dog body language and communication the better !
 

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Do you have a link to that video? It sounds like a fascinating one. The more we all learn about dog body language and communication the better !
I'll keep searching for it!

I recently said to a friend: "See how Peggy sneezes at your dog? She's saying c'mon, let's play!" He looked at me like I was nuts. But I love observing the give and take during play sessions, and the subtle social cues that keep the peace. I think if you have two dogs at home, this awareness becomes even more important. And it's important to teach children, too.
 
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