Looking for advice from some experienced dog owners. We got 2 rescue lurchers about 4 months ago. They have been mostly wonderful. A few issues with other dogs and barking but generally great with people. We have never had any guarding issues before - I've even picked up a bowl one of them was feeding from without thinking and it was no problem. In the last 3 days one of them has taken to pulling the door mat outside to play with. He has always liked to lie on it - it's one of these absorbent ones so it's soft. Last night I went to get it in and he was pulling at it but it felt like he was playing and he let me take it back in. He's pulled it back out this afternoon and when I went out both of them started jumping up - not unusual, they think I'm coming to play. As I went closer the one who likes the mat got a bit rougher with the jumping and took the mat into his mouth as I went to pick it up. He then MAY have gone to nip me. I'm not certain and he didn't touch me. I wasn't sure what to do so I just left the mat where it was and came inside. They both followed me in a few minutes later and left the mat outside. They have been behaving perfectly normally since. Questions - was this guarding behaviour? What should I do if it happens again? I know it's not good and needs to be nipped in the bud as soon as possible. I've told the dcs not to go near the mat if it is outside - they are old enough to understand why. Any advice is very welcome. Thanks
The first thing to do is to get rid of the mat. You remove the resource that they are considering precious or worth guarding. Hopeful that will resolve it but if you get further problems you should think about consulting a behaviourist.