Is Your Dog Too Possessive?

Is Your Dog Too Possessive?

“I’m worried my dog is too possessive of me!” Of course, we love our dogs, and it feels great to know they love us too. But sometimes, our dogs’ affection can go too far, and when a dog is too possessive, it can become a problem.

Animal Behaviourists suggest this is a natural behavior. It makes sense that dogs would be protective of the main providers in their lives. The instinct is known as “resource guarding”, and can be a result of genetics, rearing, and factors in the dog’s environment. It can manifest in a variety of behaviors, some more obvious than others.

The most recognizable traits of a possessive dog are growling, barking, and other aggressive behavior towards anybody who comes near you. This can cause tension in romantic relationships if the dog directs its protective behavior towards one partner. Other signs to look out for are licking the lips, tucking the tail, showing the whites of their eyes, yawning or pinning their ears back. Though these are more subtle, they can be indicators that more aggressive behavior is on the way.

So, what can you do if this sounds like your dog?

Behaviorists say this is a job for professionals. Dog trainers are specialists at identifying triggers for possessive behavior and encouraging more desirable behavior through positive reinforcement. But that doesn’t mean you are completely helpless. While a trainer is likely to be necessary, you can take small steps yourself.

For example, if you identify any triggers, then you should try to keep your dog away from them. You can also try giving your dog more space. If he begins to feel more comfortable without you around all the time, then some of the protective behavior will fade away.

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