Meet Merlin the Golden Retriever

Merlin's owners contacted us with help with Merlin and some resource guarding. Merlin enjoyed collecting objects in the household, but when asked to give them back he would struggle to give them up.


During his assessment, it was clear that Merlin loved all family members and new people. However, when Merlin had objects or food he would try to defend these objects or food using growling and snapping. Merlin was not regular in his behaviour and also showed abnormal behaviours in cycles. This meant we had concerns about medical problems being involved. The object gathering and need to keep the objects can be a self-soothing behaviour when medical issues flare up.

Treatment plan

As with any pain/medical concerns, Merlin was referred back to his vets for a targeting assessment. He then has a medical workup and trial medication. During this, we introduced control measures to reduce the chances of guarding. We also introduced a drop and swap behaviour. Lastly, we placed value in having people around him when he was given food items safely and securely.


Merlin is still having his medical workups, however, medication is currently helping regulate his behavioural patterns. Merlin has reduced all collection of items and can now easily drop and swap if collected. With food, he is more settled with others being around him and has shown no more incidents of unwanted behaviour. We hope that Merlin might get a medical diagnosis soon, but in the meantime, Merlin is acing his behavioural plan!

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