What to do about your overprotective dog

June 30, 2016

Your overprotective dogDogs are regularly recognized as man’s best friend, and with good reason. They’re unique in their loyalty and dedication to their owners, but sometimes this can have negative consequences. An overprotective dog can affect your standard of living and potentially create a hazardous situation for family and visitors. If you’re dealing with an overprotective dog in Lakewood or Golden, you may want to consider dog training or dog boarding to ween them off of destructive habits. The earlier you diagnose and treat the symptoms, the easier it will be to foster a sense of mutual respect that will help both you and your pet live healthier lives.

Breaking the Habit Early

For thousands of years, humans have been breeding dogs to serve as everything from protectors to hunters, but this behavior can have significant negative consequences. Overprotective canines see everything around them as a potential threat to their owner, and unless they’re programmed in a manner that dissuades this behavior, they may become increasingly hostile. The most important factor in treating an overprotective animal is to recognize and discourage the behavior as soon as possible. Puppies are often rewarded for growling and barking, but when this behavior is supported at such an early age, it ingrains the behavior in their minds as positive. Instilling the dog with a sense of obedience from an early age is crucial. Always discourage acts of hostility towards others, and make it clear that you’re the leader in the relationship. Firmly and fairly chastise your pet whenever they show hostility towards others, and reward them for positive behavior. Owners should always keep their dogs leashed when outside or in public. This is particularly crucial when having guests over within your house. Your dog will consider your home as their territory, and intruders within that space will only exacerbate their anxiety and territorial tendencies. Overprotective canines act out of a need to protect their owners, and asserting your dominance will help convince them that you do not need to be protected.

A Comprehensive Approach to Obedience

Understanding why a dog becomes overly aggressive means understanding their psychology. Dogs are compelled to follow humans, and a failure to obey is often a sign that the owner is not asserting themselves thoroughly. Teaching your dog to take a subservient role in every aspect of their life is a crucial aspect of helping both you and your pet have a happier relationship together. Consider yourself as a parent in the relationship, and be sure to teach your pet all-around obedience habits. If your dog is trained to heel and sit, it will be easier to control them in a high stress situation, and having habits of obedience to fall back on will help alleviate the anxiety they feel in high stress situations. Obedience allows the dog to cede control to you, building a bond of confidence between yourself and your pet. Enrolling your pet in dog training services can help nurture this bond, and a trainer can provide you with experienced tips on how best to condition your furry friend.

Establishing Family Dynamics

Dogs are inherently pack animals, and they implicitly understand the power dynamics among their family. They thrive in environments with strict hierarchy, but any number of seemingly innocuous behaviors can undermine their role within their family. Major changes within this environment can cause even the most well trained dog to act out. As pack leader, you should avoid showing signs of fear or timidity when around your dog. Your dog will translate any sign of nervousness as a threat to her family and will instinctively become defensive as a result. Similarly, instability within the family unit can undermine your pet’s role within the pack. If you’re fighting with family members, recognized friends, or roommates, your dog will seek to serve as a mediator by protecting his pack mates from one another. This will typically assert itself as an act of aggression. Finally, do your best to set clear boundaries and minimize your pet’s dependence on you. While it might seem natural to always reward your pet’s acts of affection, it can create a dangerous power dynamic between the two of you. Setting clear boundaries might mean making sure that your dog knows not to jump on furniture or designating strict times for play. Don’t encourage raucous behavior. If your dog chooses to jump up on you, chastise her. Teach her that she’ll receive positive reinforcement when she waits for affection. The worst thing you can do is to convince her that unruly behavior earns her positive results.

Socialization is Key

Dogs are strongly social creatures, and introducing them to the wider world will create a healthier and more well-rounded pet. Dog daycare, dog boarding, and kennel services will help them acclimate to being around other people, and regularly walking them will stimulate them both physically and socially. While it may be difficult to leave your dog at a kennel or a dog daycare, particularly if she’s withdrawn of nervous, these are environments where she’ll be forced to socialize with other dogs and humans. Forcing her into environments where she can’t rely on you solely for protection will minimize her dependency on you and train her to see people and animals outside her family circle as something more than just threats.

While it may hurt to train your dog in the short term, strict rules will pay off in the long term. Enrolling your pet into a daycare or training course in Lakewood or Golden like Pet Peeves can be one of the best decisions you make. They’ll receive the exercise they need in a safe and supportive environment while also opening up to socialization outside of the home.