Overprotective Dogs – Dealing With Them
Having an overprotective dog is very frustrating. Of course you want your dog to protect you if you are under threat, but you certainly don’t want them to get overprotective. Overprotective dogs can cause serious issues should them become aggressive.
Dogs that are extremely close to their owners and spend lots of time exclusively with one person can become overprotective. That person is their source of food and love, so why wouldn’t they protect them? Many dogs will start to guide things that are of very high value to them.
It’s natural for dogs to want to protect their owners, but it’s only acceptable if you are being threatened. It shouldn’t get to the point where your dog sees certain people as a threat. Here are some tips if you have a dog that is becoming overprotective. However, if at any point your dog shows aggression consult a specialist in canine behaviour.
Look out for the warning signs
There are some early warning signs of an overprotective dog. If you can spot these and take immediate action then you may be able to prevent the problem from developing. Early signs of a dog that’s becoming overprotective include them placing themselves in between you and other people and showing signs of stress when people come near you. They might even growl a little when someone comes too close.
Regain control of overprotective dogs
Don’t let your dog be in control and run your household. Have clear boundaries in place and make sure your dog is not controlling you in any way. A lot of owners don’t even realise when their dog is completely in control, and this is when problems can occur.
If your dog is very close to you, or one particular person then try and get some distance. Even though you probably want to, don’t spend every waking moment with your dog. Get them used to being left and being in a different room to you. Your dog should spend time with other members of your family. Get your partner or other people that live in your home to help with feeding, walking and training your dog. This will help to increase their bond and help your dog to build trust in other people.
Give affection on your terms
Don’t just give your dog affection for no reason. We all adore our dogs and want to shower them with love, but sometimes this isn’t the best thing for them. If your dog comes up to you for affection, make them earn it by getting them to sit or do a trick. Never stroke your dog if they demand attention by barking or nudging you with their nose or paws.
Socialise your dog
Socialising your dog from an early age should help prevent them from becoming too overprotective. If your dog isn’t that well socialised, speak to a canine behaviourist about how you can gradually (and safely) socialise them.
Try to stay calm
Your dog will pick up on your energy. If you are nervous of them acting up when someone comes round your house, they probably will. They will sense something is wrong and feel the need to protect you. Some dogs will also be more protective when their owners are feeling upset, angry or vulnerable. They can tell something’s not right and want to guard and protect you. Try and stay calm when you are out and about with your dog and don’t show that you are nervous. If you feel upset then take a moment away from your dog so they don’t get stressed out.
Try and do some obedience training with your overprotective dog, both at home and by attending classes (if it’s safe to do so). Try and do one or two training sessions with your dog a day, even if they only last for a few minutes. This will help them to see you are the boss and improve their overall behaviour.
Physical and mental stimulation
Occasionally behavioural problems can be down to a lack of physical and mental stimulation. Giving your dog more exercise and keeping their mind busy can help make some behavioural problems less severe. If your dog is more tired and fulfilled they are less likely to act out.