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Triple-Decker Saturday

Lilly is famous for resource guarding Tom. She’ll even try to guard him from me. Our behaviorist gave us a plan to undo this icky habit, but Tom thinks it’s hilarious, so I pretty much knew it wasn’t going away.

I managed to get close to Tom on the sofa Saturday, before Lilly could attempt to intervene, so instead … she climbed on top of me.

Call it being a mess of pups. Call it a family parfait. Call it just silly, but we were stacked up like pancakes for quite some time.

I wish I had a photo, but when you’re squished between that boy you married and your sweet puppy girl, it’s hard to do much of anything, but enjoy a good snuggle.

Since it was yet another cold/snowy weekend, I was glad for the company and the warmth … even if, behaviorally speaking, it’s not exactly terrific to let Lilly think she’s guarding Tom in the process of sitting on me.

There was one saving grace. Ginko wanted to join the fun and curled up on Tom’s feet, and Lilly didn’t even bat an eye or show him a fang.

We sometimes joke that you know your family is just the right size, when everyone can fit on one sofa. I’m not saying all of us were equally comfortable, but I’ll take the togetherness time when I can get it.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

KB - April 28, 2010

I love the image of you three like pancakes on the sofa!!! I’m a little surprised that Lilly guards Tom rather than you, since you’re generally her main human…

We have an evolving situation but I’m not sure if it’s resource guarding. Whenever one of us pays attention to K, R comes sprinting and gets his body between us and K, making it virtually impossible to pet her. We’ve worked on having him lie down when he arrives, and the we pet both of them… but usually K has already been scared off by R’s rambunctiousness and is hiding someplace. Does that sound like resource guarding or just a silly 2 yr old puppy behavior? In any case, I think that we need to think up an alternative reaction so that K doesn’t lose the attention every time.

    Roxanne Hawn - April 28, 2010

    I think the reason Lilly guards Tom more than me (when indeed I’m the main momma) is that I’ve used methods our behaviorist recommended to curb the “payout” she gets from behaving badly. Tom, as I mentioned, has not. He laughs. He tells her to “protect him,” etc. That’s a big, big bonus for her.

    I hope others will weigh in, but I do think R’s intrusion is a combo of guarding and attention seeking behavior. And, it’s working for him … because he gets petted (either way) and (sometimes) K bugs out and leaves.

Rod@GoPetFriendly - April 27, 2010

In reading this post I’m gathering that it’s not OK to do stuff to/with your dog that makes him like me more than Amy. Ooooops.

Sam - April 27, 2010

Reminds me of the antics Marge puts on when my cat is laying with me. Marge won’t guard me if Layla comes up when she’s (Marge) already there (thank goodness), but she’ll start paw smacking and play growling as a means to get Layla to leave if I’m cuddling with her only.

AC - April 27, 2010

Love the people/pup pancake image.

Kona guards people from other dogs (but with wiggly butt and appeasement kisses) and I usually don’t correct her because it often works as a way for kona to get close to a new person. Maybe not the best approach…

    Roxanne Hawn - April 27, 2010

    What’s odd about Lilly “guarding” us from Ginko is that she’ll growl and curl her lips. He just stands really still and looks away, and if he doesn’t give up ground, then Lilly immediately goes into wiggling and kissing fits. I’m quite convinced that Ginko thinks she is completely nuts.

    Sometimes he heeds her warning and backs off, then whines like a baby because he can’t get what he wants. I usually get up and leave Lilly to fuss on Ginko … even taking him in another room to have special hugs and treats.

    I love that Ginko does not guard us like that. If he is cuddling and Lilly joins in, he has no issue at all with it.

Susan - April 27, 2010

Sometimes we gotta let go of what (we think) we know and just enjoy the moment.

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