top of page

Sample Hierarchy - Location

The hierarchy below applies to dogs that guard their spot on a chair, bed, or couch.   Location guarding and touch sensitivity often present together - in which case you must D&C to body handling beforehand.  This hierarchy illustrates how to combine operant behaviors, i.e. teaching your dog to get on and off the couch on verbal cue, can facilitate training.

1.  Teach "On" and "Off" the couch with targeting

  • Teach touch, ‘couch’ and ‘off’' - see foundational behaviors - targeting section.

  • Add duration - practice on the couch, adding 5s-1m duration.

  • Add distraction - practice on the couch, and walk away and back.

  • Generalize the cues - give the cue from different distances and angles from the couch.

  • Generalize the behavior, if desired, to include chairs and other furniture.​

2.  Cue him on the couch, then add reach and touch

  • Cue him on the furniture, praise, reach out as if to touch him, cue off, click and treat.   

  • Repeat this from different distances, starting from 3’ and increasing 15’ away.

  • Cue him on the furniture from 3 feet away, approach, and touch his back, click and treat, cue him off, click and treat.

  • Repeat this touching his head, shoulders and other parts of his body.

  • Repeat this with adding 1s-5s durations.

3.  Generalize the behavior to other guarded furniture or beds if relevant and other people.

4.  Practice cold trials.

5.  Optional steps  

  • Sit on the couch, then cue him on the couch near you and add reach, touch, and duration as done above.​​​

  • Cue him on the couch, sit down, treat, walk away.   

  • Add reach and touch as done above

  • Add duration - wait 5s, 10s, 1m+ before approaching and sitting on the couch.

  • Add distance - approach from near, mid, and farther away from the couch.

  • Add distance and duration  

bottom of page