Reasons Why Dogs Become Protective of Their Owner
Protective behavior in dogs is not something bad! It is natural for a dog to survey his environment to confirm if things are okay. However, some dogs become so aggressive that they bark at, growl, or even bite strangers who come close to their owners. If this is your situation, then you should hire the services of a dog trainer to make your furry friend more social.
Why Dogs Are So Protective Of Their Owners
Is your dog constantly scanning the area and his ears pin forward whenever a new person comes into his view? Following are some reasons why your dog is so protective of you:
1. Your Dog Is Naturally Protective
The protective behavior is something natural and doesn’t need to be trained out of dogs. This is because it is their job as pack animals to ensure that every member of its pack is safe. Dogs have a protective drive ingrained deep in their brains.
2. Dogs Descended From Wolves Who Are Pack Animals
Wolves work together to take care of puppies, guard their resources, and bring down game. Since wolves are the ancestors of dogs, it’s natural for them to be protective of their owners because they consider you as a member of its pack.
3. Your Dog Has A Strong Bond With You
If you treat your dog well, then he will return back the favor by resource guarding you at all costs. This is expected in dogs who were mistreated in their previous homes and found love in their current homes.
Whenever these dogs see a stranger coming into the house, they will come between their owner and the stranger in a bid to stop them from conversing. Your dog believes in his mind that the stranger would take you away from him. Yet you are the one who gives him treats, opens doors, and ensures he sleeps on a comfortable bed.
How To Change Protective Behavior In Your Dog
While this protective behavior may be admirable, at times it may grow out of hand. Some breeds become aggressive such that they glare, snarl, show teeth, and even bite strangers who approach their owners.
It’s important to tame your dog so that it becomes more social and interact normally with your visitors. Here are some of the steps to make your dog less protective of you:
Find A Treat That Your Dog Loves
Which food does your protective dog love? Is it cheese, hot dog, or diced lunchmeat? Prepare the dog treat and take a seat wherever your protective dog usually resource-guards you. It could be on the sofa or even in its toy room. Once you are seated, ask your dog to join you and enjoy the delicious meal.
Ask Your Friend To Walk Into The Room
While your dog is busy enjoying his treat, call your friend into the room to join you. Ask your friend to stop at the entrance and slowly walk towards you. While coming towards you, ask her to throw a steady stream of treats at the dog’s mouth.
Let Your Friend Leave The Room
Ask your friend to leave the room after a few minutes. By pairing scary situations with good things, you change your dog’s perspective. He will start associating an approaching stranger with treats falling into his mouth. So, he will lower his guard and let them get close to you.
In Case He Barks At Your Friend?
It is normal for your dog to bark at your friend as she approaches you on the couch. Ignore him until he stops. Reward him with more treats when he stops barking as you let your friend walk out of the room.
Repeat The Session To Reinforce The Behavior
All habits are reinforced behaviors. You have to do something repeatedly for it stick to your mind and become a normal action. That is what you have to do the dog. Next time, let your friend stand further away from the couch as she throws the treats at your dog. What’s more, let her stay longer around your dog before walking away. These sessions should take between 2-3 minutes.
When To Get A Professional Trainer
If the dog refuses to let go of his protective behavior after trying these sessions, then you should seek the help of a professional dog trainer. Professional trainers know how to use positive reinforcement to make your dog less aggressive towards strangers. If your dog snarls, barks, and bites people he considers as strangers, it is time to hire the services of a dog trainer!
It is natural for dogs to feel protective of their owners. This is because they have a protective instinct ingrained in their minds. Dogs are descended from wolves who are pack animals. Their main duty is to ensure that every member of the pack is safe. For dogs, they consider their owners as members of their pack.
Author: Vincent Otieno