Resource Guarding

Hello! I've read a few things on resource guarding in the last couple of days but none of them seem to meet my dog's situation. He seems to be a full great pyrenees (I don't have papers for him, he was just a lil puppy off a sheep farm, I've had him since he was 8 weeks) and he's recently 4 years old.
He's never resource guarded until last week, but it's been a constant issue now. He grew up with cats, dogs, cows, and frequent children. He has no issue with human hands, other dogs, the cats, or even the chickens being in his bowls. While he's eating/drinking, while he's not eating, empty, full - he isn't bothered by anything except for the goats.
We have recently acquired three baby goats. He loves them, lets them jump on him, he protects them as he should the whole thing. We moved two of the goats into the barn now that it's warming up and it was only after they were put outside that he's started having this issue.
He doesn't mind that they're eating the hay but he'll keep a very close eye on them. If they go near the water bucket or near their oat bucket, he'll growl and snap (he seems to be careful not to actually bite despite being in range to. Just a big snap of his teeth. Regardless if these buckets are empty or full.)

They had no issue sharing the water bucket until the goats were moved outside, though. They learned to drink from the bucket watching him. It started with guarding the sweet oats but its now escalated to guarding the water bucket, too.

I proposed to my husband that it may have started as a diet issue. He's been acting strangely lately trying to eat dirt more than most dogs normally would - our vet said he's just being a dog and has a sensitive belly. He has an allergy to either beef or wheat and our vet suggested we just remove both from his diet to be safe. He also tries to get into the chicken food often, but doesn't guard the chickens from it. He just eats alongside them, as well as the chickens getting into the sweet oats - he just lets them nibble along with him. I try not to let him eat the feed or oats but I also can't be outside all the time and can't keep him cooped up inside all the time.
He's on a chicken and rice kibble diet and we include cooked farm eggs into his meals. We plan on getting the animals all onto a farm-raised diet when our farm gets to a healthy pace. As for now, he doesn't mind the other dog taking some of his food, my husband and I can put our hands in his bowl, take food out and feed it to the dogs or feed a little piece of egg to the cat right in front of him and he just waits patiently until our hands are out of the bowl and munches along. The other animals he'll let take some nibbles while he's eating.

Sorry for repeating myself so often throughout this, it's just so boggling.

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Apr 11, 2022
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Resource Guarding
by: Donna

This is a real puzzle. Perhaps someone out there can figure it out. Perhaps it is related to the diet he is now on? How different is your set up from inside the barn to outside? What was the proximity of him to the goats in the barn to outside the barn? Things to think about.

Can you separate the goats food and water somehow from the dog? A place they can go to eat and drink but the dog cannot get in there? He does have bite inhibition so that is good. Is his food/water dish near the goat food? If so, make sure to split them up. I suspect you have.


He needs a balanced diet. So, just chicken and rice isn't enough. Rice is a filler with little nutrition. Kibble is also a filler food with not a lot of goodness in it. He probably has big poops. And, he is eating dirt so a lot going on there. It's important to look at the dog as a whole. These issues don't happen in isolation.

Here are a few of articles on allergies and diet for you to consider:

Best Dog Food

Raw Feeding


Dirt Eating

May 01, 2022
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Re: Donna
by: pyreonfire

Thank you for your response and I'm very sorry for my late response. I wasn't sure how to log back in and I clearly still can't figure it out - ^^;

We got an appointment scheduled with a behavioral specialist shortly after I had posted and had the appointment recently. She doesn't think it's particularly nutrient-based and we discussed the dirt-eating as well which she thinks is him just having a quirk considering his diet (cooked farm fresh eggs with Diamond Natural chicken and rice formula)
The behavioral specialist thinks the guarding has something to do specifically with the goats being four-legged creatures getting something he wants (considering how he's okay with us, the chickens, and even the other dog in the oat dish and chicken food dish in the same time and he doesn't get nearly as excited for the chicken feed. Still tries to sneak a few nibbles, though.)

She's given us some ideas and we're trying to implement them now. It'll be tricky since Pyres are so smart and he knows very well he can't go in the barn if me or my husband are outside. As soon as we're out of sight - snack time. Sigh. The goats are on monitored oat feeding until it's figured out. They only get a small amount anyway and it's become handy to distract the older two so I can still bottle-feed the one :)
If the first suggestion doesn't work, then we're going to be making some changes to the barn itself so the dog just can't get in there. I suspect he misunderstood the water for a little bit since we recently changed their outside water dishes because that hasn't happened since.

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