A Dog That’s TOO Protective
Dogs are great companions — they’re lovable, fun, they get us more active, and are loyal animals. With that loyalty, some dogs become protective of their families, which is certainly a perk for us. A dog that is protective can ward off any strange people from approaching us on the street or in our homes. But what if your dog’s protective behavior goes too far? What if your dog’s protective behavior becomes too aggressive and out of your control?
Protective behavior is not a bad thing, but if owners cannot control or calm the dog down when things are fine, then there could be major problems. If your dog barks aggressively at a guest approaching the home, and you are able to tell them to stop with a command, then there’s control over that protective behavior. If you have to scream at your dog nonstop or restrain your dog to then put away in a room when a guest comes in, then your dog has total control and if given the opportunity, could take things to inappropriate levels with their protective behavior.
Yesterday while working with another dog trainer, a client called to give me an update on their dog, Remy. Prior to training, Remy would not allow anyone into the home that wasn’t his owner. Remy, while being protective, bit his owner’s boyfriend in the leg when he came over one day. He also had to be put away whenever a package was delivered to the house, and even when the owner’s parents came to visit! Speaking with Remy’s owner yesterday, she told me she had her boyfriend come over and stay the whole evening, and Remy was completely calm and friendly with him!
To an extent, most people want their dogs to be protective. However, a dog that’s like Remy, feels the need to protect so aggressively because he felt that his owner NEEDED that protection, even from people she was familiar with. Remy did not fully recognize his owner as a leader, so therefore, he had to take that leadership role and be head of the pack. No matter what dog you have, YOU must be the leader of the pack, NOT your dog.
In Remy’s case, we worked on his owner taking more control and being more assertive with Remy. She had to show Remy that she was in charge and that when she wanted his protective behavior to cease, he had to abide by her command. When Remy saw that his owner took the lead and was confident with her direction and the people she allowed in the home, Remy’s anxiety went down and he no longer felt the need to act out. His response to commands improved all around, and now Remy’s owner was able to revitalize her social life without having to stow Remy away in his crate. He still alerted her when people knocked or approached the home, but she was able to calm Remy with one command. Remy finally learned to trust his owner.
If your dog is being overprotective to the point where it’s causing problems, then it’s time to evaluate the relationship between you and your dog. Do you feel like you’re the leader, or your dog is? Are you constantly nervous and timid around your dog and their overprotective behavior? Then it may be time to take charge and become head of the pack once again! It doesn’t require harsh training for your dog to see you as a leader, just confidence, consistent boundaries, and always be sure to set them up for success so they are keen to repeat more appropriate behaviors, rather than the inappropriate ones!
If your dog’s protective behavior is too much for you and your family, training will help! Contact us at 800-649-7297 and we’ll help you and your dog find balance with our aggressive dog training program!