On Dog Behavior: Is Your Dog Over Protective?

Do you ever wonder – is your dog over protective? 

Some people like their dog to be over protective because it gives them a sense of being protected and secure.

The dilemma comes when their dog is being over protective with the wrong people. Visits from friends begin to dwindle.

An over protective dog can often become a problem and a liability

On Dog Behavior: Is Your Dog Over Protective?


The problem with an over protective dog is that it can significantly limit your enjoyment of your dog in normal, every day circumstances like when you have house guests. And you certainly can’t take your dog out in public.

Not very many people like to walk into a home to visit a friend only to be confronted with a dog that growls, snaps or worse yet, bites. And, the bigger the dog, the worse the threat. A dog bite from any size dog creates a potential liability on many levels. It can create lawsuits, loss of friendships and can get you and your dog, a reputation you never ever wanted.

Then you’ve got to consider the embarrassment factor as well. You have to admit it’s pretty embarrassing to have to pick up your barking dog or try to somehow restrain your big dog to keep your house guest from being jumped on or worse.

Often times this necessitates crating, gating or putting your dog in the back yard so that you can enjoy your visit. This many times creates non-stop barking which can quickly become a nuisance and also spoil the visit. Your dog quickly begins to dislike visitors because every time a visitor comes over, he gets the boot. Get the picture?

Most friends don’t know how to handle these kinds of awkward and anxious dog situations so they avoid the visit altogether. To them staying away from your home keeps them safe.  Now that’s a bummer.

A better alternative to your dog being overprotective

Wouldn’t you agree the better scenario would be to have your visitor greeted by your tail-wagging, non-jumping happy dog?   Being able to enjoy your friends along with “the company of your nice dog” that sits comfortably by your feet or on the couch next to you has got to be a much better alternative to a growling, biting and over protective dog.  

What creates an over-protective dog in the first place?

Many people get a dog to satisfy their own personal needs. Did you? Did you get your dog to have a companion to love on, be affectionate with and be with you all the time?

If your answer is yes, that’s okay. It’s okay as long as you put structure in your dog’s life so there is a fair and equitable balance of needs. In other words, if your dog wants on the couch with you, he should sit. If he wants love and affection, he should sit. In fact he should sit to earn everything including his food. Otherwise the relationship you have with your dog becomes lop-sided because nothing is earned – it’s all free to your dog.

What does this have to do with you and your dog? Constant free doting and petting satisfies your own personal needs with no thought given to how your dog is interpreting the interaction with you.

Over time the lack of structure or inconsistent structure begins to affirm in your dogs mind that you are a valuable provider of good things for free. Many dogs begin to guard things of high value; i.e. YOU. An over protective dog is born. Is that your dog?

It starts off with guarding you and then often times can and does extend to the house and yard. Here is another common owner mistake:

When your dog is allowed to run the fence line in the back yard, the gate across the driveway or the bay window in the front living room barking at dogs and people, he is able to rehearse territorial aggression. This all begins to complicate greetings at the front door.

And if you have a dog that is fearful because of a lack of socialization to people, that too can further complicate your over protective dog situation.

What to do?

They say that hind sight is 20/20. That always seems to be the starting point when dealing with dog behavior problems. Fixing an already over protective dog problem requires going back historically in the relationship with your dog to understand what caused your dog’s behavior problem in the first place.

In this case, no structure and too much unearned love and affection over time created your dog’s symptoms of growling, barking and over protectiveness. It was his way of protecting you as his valuable possession from intruders (your visitors.)

Changing how you view your relationship with your dog so that you begin doing the right things can allow you to start seeing improvements almost immediately.

What are the right things? Controlled, structured walks for exercise and exploring, learn-to-earn program (sit for everything) and regular dog obedience training sessions 3 times daily for only 2 minutes are all a good start to showing your dog a “different you.”

How protective your dog is will determine whether dog behavior modification exercises will be needed to put the final touches on your newly improved happy dog.

I’m always curious about your input – it’s important to me.  Do you deal with this scary situation in your house?

Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 9000 clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is your must have, easy step-by-step process to helping your dog. Be the dog owner your dog needs to be a great dog.  Ground Rules gets you there. Grab them now.


128 replies
  1. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Mandy: in this article I gave specific things to do, in fact I linked to other articles where I go step by step.

  2. Mandy
    Mandy says:

    I have a blue heiler/ Dashaund mix that we have had since she was 6 weeks. She is just over a year old (not fixed). We have another male (neutered) terrier/dashuand mic that we adopted 2 years prior that has a lot of anxiety issues and does better with another dog when we leave to go to work during the day. The problem we are having is our female is super protective of my husband/myself and 11year old daughter. If anyone comes to house, my older children that are away at college or family she snaps at them and yesterday she actually bite my older daughter that was visiting twice. We are scare to have her in the house with company and have been placing her outside during these times but what can I do to stop her aggression to anyone that enters the house. She picks on our poor male (Aggie) when he gets attention and we ignore her so she knows it is not okay, but it seems to be getting worse. They play and are very loving with each other (they sleep on the same bed and we’ll actually share the same food bowl) She does not like anyone near my husband/11yr daughter or myself. She listens to almost all of the commands and is very loving towards us. I just don’t know what to do at this point because we do entertain frequently and if my youngest has friends come over I do not want anyone to get hurt.

  3. Client care
    Client care says:

    Hire a professional dog trainer. Make sure only positive reinforcement training is used and minimum 10 yrs experience doing this for a living

  4. Cary
    Cary says:

    To add on to what I posted……
    I have always made my dog sit for his meal, before he jumps on the bed, before he could go outside, etc…. He is well discipline. I just don’t know what else I can do ☹️

  5. Cary
    Cary says:

    My husband and I take my dog to the dog park every week and he does very well with the other dogs. The other owners love him and he never gets out of control but he’s different when my husband is not around. I tried taking him to the dog park by myself and I can’t be in there for more than 2 minutes. He attacks every dog. I tried to take him two times already but I had to stop because I don’t want the other owners to feel like their dog is not safe around him.
    My dog is always around other people and is very sociable. Even when my husband is not around. I just wish he can be the same way every time.

  6. Kim thorne
    Kim thorne says:

    If I am not home sometimes when my sister goes to make my bed or clean near or on my bed. Our dog will bark or snap at my sister our dog sleeps in my bed. And she also lays under my bed. And she has also gone under my sister’s bed.

  7. Jim
    Jim says:

    Tara: go back to the article and re-read the part that discusses what creates an over protective dog. You answer is in there.

  8. tara
    tara says:

    I have a old English bulldog going on 4yrs old after a yr of having her she has gotten very protective of who ever comes to the house she just keeps barking regardless how many times I say no no barking if they go to pat her she will lunge at them but not really bite but her tail is wagging at the same time I don’t get it. its even people that she knows and comes over frequently

  9. Suzanne
    Suzanne says:

    I have a question about my 5 year old cocker spaniel mix. I just recently adopted him from the SPCA. He is a wonderful dog. My friend and I were going to give him a bath and when my friend tried to pick him up, the dog growled. I left the room and my friend was able to pick him and and handle him with no issue at all. Is this jealsousy? Is my dog being protective of me? What can I do to change this behavior?

  10. Jim
    Jim says:

    Samantha: If you go back to the article I give quite a few things for folks to do who have this problem. That’s where you start, plus adding structure to your dog’s life. If you need more help, I do fee based live video coaching.

  11. sam
    sam says:

    Hi! I have a 4 year old Rottweiler. Male. He is amazing. Very loving and affectionate. Not food aggressive at all. However he is very protective of the house and yard. I always just put this down to his breed. Also last year while I was out walking him a man approached me and was abusive and proceeded to follow me and my dog. After all this he now growls at most men. In and out of the house. Just wondered if there was anything i could do to help him relax again. Thank you.

  12. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    May: First question is – did you do any of the things I mentioned in the article? If you did and you still need help there are 2 ways I can do that.
    Free = all of our blog posts on dog behavior (hundreds of them), you can re-watch some of our Dog Behavior TV replays. Fee based: private one-to one
    video coaching.

  13. May
    May says:

    Hi good day!!! I just want to ask for an advice about my dog. He is one year old and he’s not very friendly with other people especially when other people come in my house, he growls and barks a lot. And he’s over protective too he doesn’t want other people come near me and I’m so worried that one day he might bite someone.

  14. Jim
    Jim says:

    Selina:Sounds like a “handling” issue at your doggie day care. They should not let dogs crowd at the gate.

  15. Selina
    Selina says:

    I have a 1 year old Spanial/chihuahua mix 14 lbs. she is very love able she loves everyone and all dogs. We have been working with her on training for a year now. She does pretty well with most things. Our biggest problem is she goes to Doggie day care to play with the dogs 3 days s week. She has a great time but now she has started snapping at other dogs as they come and go in and out the door (when being picked up by owners). They give my dog time outs but she don’t know why. She of course don’t fo this at home as we don’t have other dogs. I’ve been training her to sit away from our door when people come over. I am at a loss as to how to stop this potentially starting aggressive behavior. I don’t want her to be banned from going. Any suggestions? I’d appreciate any suggestions

  16. Kilie
    Kilie says:

    I have a 2 1/2 year old neutered black lab that is very over protective of me in certain situations. He’s fine around friends and family and he’s fine in social situations like the dog park or pet store. He gets plenty of exercise and is well socialized. But when we are in the truck or out walking alone and strangers approach he is like a different dog (there are a few people he just instantly likes mostly women). Especially when we are in the truck he barks and growls at everyone, children, elderly, he wants to attack other dogs that are walking down the street, he barks at people in the cars next to us. We can get gas and I can get out of the truck and he will rarely bark but as soon as I sit back in that seat he turns into a different dog. If we are walking alone on trails no one can get near us generally he barks and growls but I can take him to fundraising events and carnivals with no problems

  17. Jim
    Jim says:

    cathy: pls. do NOT force your dog down and hold her neck – that makes everything worse. Get a positive reinforcement trainer to come to your home and work with you. This is called resource guarding and it simply means your dog thinks that is her job. If you continue correcting in this manner it will not end well

  18. cathy
    cathy says:

    I have a 5 year old Austrailian Shepherd – Lab mix that recently had her litter dispersed to new homes. She has become overly protective of a newborn in the home so much that her mother is unable to burp the baby without the dog barking at her. She had the babysit cornered in the room adn would not let her near the baby. How do I break this? Not sure if this is right, but i put her down and held her at the neck until her body went limp. She is an alpha and this is how I have seen her dominate other dogs. She has never bitten another dog in this process. She is highly intelligent and very obedient in every other area.

  19. Amy Christman
    Amy Christman says:

    I have a 3 year old rescue named Annie (mix of some kind of larger terrier/beagle?) who was found as a stray. I fostered her when she was 6 months old (and failed and adopted her). Her southern foster spoke to me in advance letting me know that Annie was very fearful and would take some time to learn to trust. We’ve now had her over 2 years and have worked on her fear issues that will probably never fully go away. My biggest issue with her is when my son/daughter (ages 10/8) enter a room (esp. one I’m in) she will bark and lunge (has never snapped or bitten). I’ve tried counter conditioning with her and I also have worked with my kids to try to have them assure her using our code word “friend” but lately it’s gotten worse. I don’t understand the issue totally b/c when my children go to bed at night, she likes to join them and snuggle with them. I would love to try a quick and easy technique. I’m willing to put the time in but not even sure where to start. I’m hoping if I can work with her reaction to my own kids, she’ll eventually be better with others (as it stands now, I keep her crated or leashed at all times). HELP!

  20. Simon
    Simon says:

    Jim, she is 7 months old, i would like to enter her in to dog shows but I’m concerned she will attack other dogs people. She has already “nipped” someone walking past the house.

  21. Jim
    Jim says:

    Simon: You don’t say how old your “puppy” is. Key here is that the puppy acts differently with someone else than it does with you. That is telling
    about how you have structured your relationship with your dog. There are many many articles on the site about owners relationships with their dog. You
    can do a search for those words on the front page. If you still need help I do live face to face video coaching anywhere in the world. Here’s where you can
    read about those http://www.petiquettedog.com/dog-training-hangouts/

  22. Simon
    Simon says:

    We got a puppy in from a breeder 2 months ago. She lives at home. she is great with all the people in the house. I take her to work where I have 3 working spaniels she gets on great with them but, she changes, barks at everyone and other dogs. This last weekend we took her to a dog show where she attacked nearly every dog that came near, including puppies. One of the organisers took her off me and walked the dog around, the dog did not bark or attack any other dog, only when she is with us or the 3 other dogs. how do I change this? she has only just started to do this

  23. Jim
    Jim says:

    Ashleigh: use your good basic obedience commands to work on the issues you have. Without having a much more indepth understanding of what is going on
    I can’t give you any direction. Happy to do video coaching with you if you don’t live in my area or I advise you to find a good positive trainer who
    has minimum 8 yrs experience of dog training FOR A LIVING

  24. Jim
    Jim says:

    Jessica: it appears that her lifestyle of being in the backyard alone with very little socialization to other people and dogs is now becoming evident
    in her behavior. You need to learn how to de-sensitize her to the things that are now foreign and somewhat scary to her. Find a good positive reinforcement
    trainer in your area.

  25. Ashleigh
    Ashleigh says:

    I have a one and a half year old German Shepherd/Australian Shepherd Mix. When were are walking and he see’s a person or dog he barks,growls and lunges. When new people come to our house he barks, growls, nips, and frankly to a person that doesn’t know him it is very scary. I have found that if he is put away when people arrive and then we let him out he is completely fine, It seems to be an issue with people coming into our home, or seeing people he doesn’t know on walks. He has gone through training courses and they have been great for his basic commands ( sit, stay, lay down) but when a new person comes in its like he is different dog. While walking I have started making him focus on me (using a squeek toy) and he it seems to help him not to worry about the people walking nearby.

  26. Jessica walker
    Jessica walker says:

    Hi, I have a 1.5 yr old 50lb mixed puppy. The person I got her from says she is pit, but she doesn’t look pit. She looks more like a Rhodesian ridgeback or terrier mix. For the past 5 months she’s been living as an outside dog free to run and play in our fenced in back yard. We had two way smaller boy pups that she played with but that’s the only other dogs she was around in that time. Also she wasn’t really exposed to other people. I just moved into an apartment so she has become an inside dog and is having to be taken out on a harness to go potty. She constantly barks very deeply at other people that she sees out on balconies or out in the parking lot. Also whenever she sees another dog she barks very deeply at them and she kinda gets protective. Idk how to break her from barking so loudly at the other dogs and trying to pull me toward them. So far she’s had 2 very hyper dogs come running right at her and she’s growled and jumped on them to defend herself. Idk what to do to calm her and to understand that those dogs are coming to check her out and sniff her not attack. I just need help, it stressed me out to take her out because she’s not used to all the other dogs and people

  27. Eileen
    Eileen says:

    Hi, I have a 1 year old rescue who is part Jack Russell Terrier and Chihuahua. I have her since February this year. She follows me all around and is always kissing me. She seems to be very over protected. When my husband comes home from work all she does is bark and grow at him. When other people come to the door she happens to be fine. The situation with my husband is not getting any better. He is not
    happy with this dog. Please advise me on what I can do to correct this situation

  28. Jim
    Jim says:

    Emma: Thanks for your email. In the article: Is Your Dog Overprotective, I gave quite a few “to do’s”. If you can tell me where you are on getting those
    things done and how often you are doing them, then I have a better idea of where you are in the process. We could then do some video coaching to help you
    accomplish your goal. Let me know, Jim

  29. Emma
    Emma says:

    I have a 6 year old male Labrador who hates anyone and anything on the other side of the fence. He has access to a fully fenced back yard, but unfortunately has had some taunting from neighbours and their children and dogs, and now reacts negatively to any noises or people on the other side of the fence. I can call him off the fence line when he is reacting. This evening another neighbour called me over to the fence for a chat and my lab raced across the yard and nipped his hands before I could do anything. My neighbour is ok, and acknowledged that he shouldn’t have dangled his hands over the fence, but I don’t want this happening again. Is there anything I can do to work on this behaviour? My dog is sweet and loves people, but not when the fence is involved.
    Thank you.

  30. Angela
    Angela says:

    I have a 14 year old male jack Russell. He starts barking up a storm when he sees me snuggling with my boyfriend of 3 years. Even when my boyfriend and I are behind closed doors, my dog starts in. This has gotten worse lately as he will now pee and poop on the floor in the den and kitchen. How can I stop this behavior? Thanks.

  31. Samantha
    Samantha says:

    My Yorkie is growing more and more overprotective. My dog is 7 years old and has lived with me for his whole life. Just this past year, I have gotten married and my husband has 4 children. My husband and the dog have a great relationship until he puts the younger girls (12 and 9) to bed and wakes them up in the morning (The girls share the same room). My dog races my husband to the girls’ room and growls at him when he attempts to wake the girls up. At night, my dog does the same thing (growls) when my husband goes to check on the girls while they are sleeping. This morning, my Yorkie actually bit my husband when he went to wake them up! I understand it’s in their personality to be protective but this has got to stop.

  32. clair young
    clair young says:

    I my name is clair. I have a 5 year old shih to u and my issue is that we moved house in march and he has not settled at all. He refuses to walk the area because of the new surroundings and my other issue is that he barks at any of our new neighbours and he seems to be getting worse. Help with advice please.

  33. Stacy
    Stacy says:

    I have a 5 year old Catahoula/Pit Mix. He is quite well-behaved when visitors come over after the initial curiosity when the doorbell rings (sniffs, leans in to be pet, then goes and plays with his toys). However, if I am not home and someone tries to enter the home (a backyard guy who he has met a dozen times), he growls and barks aggressively and will not let him in. Is there a good strategy to teach my dog that this visitor is “OK” and safe to let in? Or is this an unrealistic expectation of a dog who seems to spend a lot of time “guarding” the house from squirrels, raccoons, UPS guy, etc…

  34. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Raymond, it’s not about dominance, it’s about the relationship between your dog and you and what you have inadvertently told your dog is his job. He
    also sounds like there may be some fear there too. Again happy to help with video coaching, I can not solve behavior problems via email.

  35. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Keesha: To fix something this complex via email is just not possible. I do live face to face video coaching if you do not live in an area I service
    or if you do live in Houston I do private lessons. Jim Burwell

  36. keesha
    keesha says:

    My moms 9 year old dachshund has been barking at family member who come over everyday and attacks and bites here and there. Just yesterday he took a sandwich off the plate of a Lil boy and when she went next to him he bit her. About a half hour later she walked in her room after closing him in there and he bit her again.. She loves him but doesn’t want to take any chances with him anymore. Before we are forced to give him up do u have any suggestions? Please help

  37. Raymond
    Raymond says:

    I have a mini smooth Dauschaund that is 2 yrs old. His former owner let him have complete control of the house and he has become very protective. He growls at any high value treat if we get close and barks at everything that moves. We are currently trying to reduce his access to the house to regain the dominance and taking the treats and food after he growls to show he is not in charge. Are we on the correct path and is there anything else we can do.

  38. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I should have added that he has graduated from a few dog obedience and agility classes, knows all the commands, listens well at all other time, knows he has to sit and wait for me to give OK to start eating. He is well socialized and goes on hikes and goes to dog parks with other dogs.

  39. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    We used to live in a town with a fenced in yard. When we moved to the “country” we realized we had a problem. Cooper won’t stop jumping up on cars/people. When we tried to hold him back from jumping on cars he then thinks the person is dangerous and has bitten someone. In addition to this if he is in the house and gets out when they ring/knock he has grabbed coat sleeves/arm. This happened to a couple adults but my worry is it could be a child. I’m at my wits end!

  40. Liz
    Liz says:

    Hello Jim,
    About a week ago, my husband and I got a pug/boxer mix named Ebony and she’s starting to have problems with our cat, Harley. I know it’s only been a week but Ebony didn’t seem to have any problem with Harley at first. In fact, she didn’t seem to have much interest in Harley at all. Harley was a bit nervous but we figured that was to be expected considering they only just met.
    Just yesterday, though, we noticed that Ebony was chasing Harley away from us when we are sitting in our room. Ebony isn’t growling or showing teeth but her posture doesn’t seem playful either; no tail wagging and she gets really tense. All the cat is trying to do is get pet and our dog keeps chasing her out.
    At first we thought Ebony was just jealous but she only does it when we are sitting down on our laptops. Is she just being protective? If so, how do we break her of this? I want to nip this in the bud as soon as possible. Please and thank you.

  41. Mark
    Mark says:

    My dog is over protective of the apartment, car also when on leash some of the time. She growls and lunges at other dogs and sometimes at people. When she is at the dog park she behaves well until there is a dog frightend or stressed she then gets aggressive with the dog. Not sure what to do

  42. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Vera: In order to correct any behavior problem – particularly those involving aggression, it is essential that you improve your relationship with the younger dog (Female Bull Terrier) so that it sees you as the most important member of the family. It is almost useless to attempt to teach correct behavior to a dog that views it’s owners as merely incidental pack members.

    For the next 5 weeks keep your dogs separated to avoid issues and focus on your youngest and do the following:
    1. Teach sit, take it, drop it and interact daily with your younger dog in games like tug, or fetch to burn predatory energy appropriately.
    2. Walk her daily – 7 days a week at the same time each day.
    3. Work on rapid-fire sit/down/sit/down for two minutes 3 times daily.
    4. Make her earn everything like food, toys and affection and keep her off the furniture in which you are sitting.

    As you become the focus of her energy and games, you’ll probably find that she will want to spend time with you instead of your Boxer mix. But even this ​ ​is not everything. There is simply too much more info ​.….

  43. Vera
    Vera says:

    Hello Jim,
    A week ago I acquired a 7 y.o. bull terrier (female) from a rescue. She was just recently spayed and when she was found she was full of milk. It appears the owner kept the puppies and threw her on the street. She’s been good with our 13 y.o. boxer mix except recently she’s been barking fiercely when startled in her bed, either when we make a noise or the other dog gets too close. She actually snapped at the other dog near her bed today which of course we corrected with a loud, “no!”. We removed her from her bed among the family and placed her in her crate to cool off. But when the elderly dog came back in through the dog door (near the crate), she barked with aggression once again. I think she was not kept in a family environment and may have been crated the majority of her life. We are affectionate with her but make her wait to be last to go in and outside as well as sit to be fed. The other dog is fed first. Was removing the bed and having her lay on the carpeted floor instead a good move? We’ll keep working with her as it’s likely not her fault she has this startle reflex or aggression when resting. Thank you!

  44. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Rachael – I would say your assumption that it has to do with you is correct. In the article you read I gave some steps to take AND also gave you other resources in that article. At least
    give those things a try.

  45. rachael cross
    rachael cross says:

    hi. i have a collie/staffie cross who ive had for 1 year shes now 3years old. she lives with another dog i have which is a 1year old lurcher. but last few weeks whilst walking on the lead shes become aggressive towards other dogs. the lurcher always likes to go and say hello and likes to play but she starts growling and trying to jump at them. shes becoming very hard to control at these times as shes quite strong and i have the other dog to contend with too. when shes off the lead shes great and will run around playing. i thought maybe its because shes become protective of me and my other dog and feels a need to defecd us. shes a healthy dog and otherwise very loving and affectionate. any advice would be helpful thanks

  46. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Stefanie: In that article on Is Your Dog Over Protective, there are exact steps to take. Each highlighted blue link takes you to an additional article with more step by step instructions.

    Your solution is there, just be sure to read what I highlighted and do the steps. There is no quick solution or magical pill – Just like everything, there is work involved, can’t get around it

  47. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Jessie: sound like separation anxiety. Which “roughly defined” is like a junkie who’s drug of choice i.e. his fix is not available to him. His world crashes. If you have an out of
    balance relationship with your dog and he is co-dependent on you, when you are gone he can not cope with his world. We can do live, private interactive training with you http://www.petiquettedog.com/dog-training-hangouts/

    Please do NOT just ask anyone what to do, hire a trainer and a positive reinforcement trainer to help you

  48. Jessie Hatch
    Jessie Hatch says:

    My boyfriend and I recently rescued a dog from a bad home situation. The dog was left outside at all time with 2 other dogs. He had very little contact with people except when they gave him table scraps of food. He is a 4 year old lab/german shepherd mix and he is 40 lbs overweight. He is a mostly well behaved dog when my boyfriend and I are around. He is very attached to us. He follows one of us everywhere. When we leave him alone, he chews on things. He has chewed blinds and now put in him a crate and he broke the metal water bowl that was in there and destroyed the blanket. He is now getting protective and barking and growling at our friends. We are not sure what to do but we would like this behavior to stop. We would appreciate anyone’s advice on what to do.

  49. sam
    sam says:

    Hi, i have a very protective pitbull boxer mix. He is really loving and is a good dog. I make him sit, “what do you do?” and he sits for his food, for his water, to get a treat, to go out for a walk, to even leave his room. He has to lay down to get pet. But it didn’t seem to change anything. He still growls and puffs up when people come over. I have a process that i would do in the apartment and anyone who did it when they came over after i moved to my mom and dads (which is when he got really bad) he would never growl at anyone who had done it.
    Since i know live with my mom and dad and brothers with my husband people are always coming in and out. He became really bad. Before at the apartment he would stay in the living room and growl about ten feet from the door. Now he growls and barks and lunges and will even jump at the door so now he isn’t allowed by the door when anyone comes over.
    I’ve started muzzle training him hoping that since he would be muzzled people would be more comfortable about doing what i needed them to do, get on the ground not looking at him and letting him get comfortable and approach them instead of them coming to him.
    My only problem is he will get excited when i grab his muzzle, a mesh muzzle, he can paint and lick his lips and give me kisses while wearing it, but as soon as i put it on he freezes and i give him praise for wearing it and he can wear it comfortable for a little over five minutes right now before he starts getting antsy. But he WILL NOT move if he has the muzzle on. I will step 5 feet away and ask him to come to me and as soon as he takes a step he will start trying to rip it off and once i make him sit he will calm back down.
    I am not sure what else i could do to stop the protectiveness! the only thing i haven’t done yet is prevent him from looking out the window and see people and dogs outside!

  50. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Rosalind: Thanks for your comment. First I would say stop yelling at your dog, all that emotional energy is not helping anything. I need much more information and to ask questions
    before I could even begin to help you through this.

    Check out our dog training hangout page and see if that works for you We have a couple of clients over in the UK who have used this


  51. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Dilma – your dog’s breed has strong protective instincts. However by tons and tons of un-earned love and affection you are consistently telling him that you are his property. Just like
    the article say, structure, boundaries, rules. Have your dog work for you instead of you working for your dog.

  52. Dilma Arends
    Dilma Arends says:

    Hi, our Belgian Malinoise is extremely affectionate with us; wants to cuddle all the time but is also extremely territorial and protective; he attacks anyone who is not from the family the minute they move into our yard. We got him from a police dog trainer, who was not too satisfied with him. He listens well at home; but it is almost he sees anyone else walking into the territory as an enemy. Once we get to him, we can control him, but he has bitten three people already…what can we do?

  53. Rosalind Ashcroft
    Rosalind Ashcroft says:

    In June I got a new adult dog from a breeder who had puppies in March. I live alone but everyday I take my dog to my parents who look after her whilst I am at work. I took two weeks off to bond with her and get her use to my parents and at first she was brilliant. during that first week she escaped from my mum in the front garden and went missing but returned to my parents house 14 hours later. Ever since then she looks at my mum as if she is going to kill her. She had always been vary wary of my mum and we initially thought it was because she was unwell but things have got worse and worse. My mum started to feed her twice a day but it did not get any better. Two weeksa ago my mum walked into the room that me and my dog were and she started bsrking at her. When I am at work she keeps her distance from my mum and hides under the table but will eat her food and treats that my mum gives her. Things are now getting silly and as soon as I get home now to my parents house, if my mum moves or walks into a room which I am in the dog barks and growls at her and shows agression but also wags her tail. I shout at her no but she still does it next time my mum moves. She is absolutely fine at home when it is just us two but if I leave her in the house she literally screams. The only place that I can leave her alone is in the car where she has a crate. She does not like being locked out in the garden and if she is in she likes the door to be left open. If I shut the door at my house she is OK and settles down but at my parents she gets very restless and hides under the table. She is fine with my dad but he is registered blind and cannot take her for walks. I do not know if to ignore the behaviour, shout at her, smack her, put her in a crate or what. Please help

  54. Kelsey Opfar
    Kelsey Opfar says:

    Hey so I have a 3 year old Aussie/heeler mix, I dont know if it is in his breed to bite or “herd” people. But everytime someone new comes over he will charge at them and bite their leg. There are those times where he will just run up to them and angrily sniff their leg. We usually end up just putting him in my bedroom. My coworker just met my dog by themselves for the first time the other night and they said my dog was just wagging his tail and licking her face. Then I walked up and he growled at her. Help! How can I make it to where he is just friendly with other people? I am also a hard person to deal with, so does my dog pick up on my vibe?

  55. James
    James says:

    I have a 6 year old Chesapeake Bay Retrevier. The only major vice he has is that if he we have out freely in the yard, he will stay in the yard or go to the woods. However, if someone walks down the road he goes full speed towards them, sometime he stops at the ditch but recently he goes all the way to the road. If I see the person before he does I can make him lie and he will stay there. But if I don’t catch him first it it is full speed ahead. He is a inside dog and will bark and jump at windows as well when someone walk by. I have tried positive reinforcement and I have tried electric colar, and that doesn’t stop him. I have tried even to reheare going to the ditch and walking him past and saying no, and then taking him back over and doing that several times a day for about a month and that hasnt’ even slowed him down. We have had him for 6 years and not until recently has he actually fear that he might go to far.

  56. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Susan: you have multiple issues going on here and Joe is responding to his environment and his relationship with you, your husband and your mother-in-law. This will require work. If you do not live in Houston I do live video coaching anywhere. If you live in Houston I can help you with inhome lessons. To even try to fix something so complex as this without face to face in some way is impossible.

  57. susan
    susan says:

    We have 2 small male dogs that we have to keep seperated or they attack each other. So, joe spends most of his time with my mother in law. Shotgun, spends his time with me & my spouse. The issue I’m most concerned with involves joe. My spouse & I have lived in the same home as joe for over 4 years now. Joe still has not warmed up to either of us. He acts as if we are complete strangers and will not come to us unless there’s food involved. Neither of us has ever mistreated him. Now joe has become extreamly protective of my mother in law. I can’t walk in the same room as her, especially her bedroom without joe barking & lunging at me. Sometimes he gets right on my ankles & nips at me. He has not actually bitten me yet. I have tried & tried to befriend him to no avail. I truly believe it’s just a matter of time til he will bite me. The mother in law has no control & coddiles him. In repremand she picks him up or just simply says joe you no suzi now stop that.
    I don’t know what to do. Please help.

  58. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Annayvonne: Apparently you were unable to find competent trainers 🙂 This is a very very common problem. I see you read the article. My question—have you or your daughter implemented
    any of the things I talk about?

    I do live video coaching for folks that don’t live here in Houston. Let me know if that would interest you. The mechanics of it are easy: computer, webcam, internet connection.

  59. Annayvonne Flores
    Annayvonne Flores says:

    My daughter has a mutt, irish terrier/yorkie that is amazingly loving when its just the family but anyone else enter the room or come in the driveway he is uncontrollable. He has bitten several people, not breaking the skin but enough to cause concern. She won’t take him to her apartment anymore because of his inability to socially interact. We can’t get rid of him because he is so amazing when its just us. He was kicked out of three obedience school and two trainers left on her and refused to give her back he money. We are at a lost on what to do with him?

  60. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Riley: lots of unknowns here. For one thing it does not sound like your dog will come to you in very high distractions and each time you let your dog go out and do that the behavior becomes
    more ingrained. Hire a good positive reinforcement trainer to Come To Your Home to help you as that is where your dog’s behavior is happening

  61. Riley
    Riley says:

    My dog is 2, was socialized very well (puppy class, obedience 1, leash training) but has lately taken to barking at the 3-year-old boy next door who likes to hang on our fence and call to us. He doesn’t mind the barking, but i do! and so do his parents. My dog has always been GREAT at coming when called but when she is barking at the little boy she will not listen and dodges me. I have to go in the house and rattle the cookie jar to get her attention.
    How do I stop this alarming behavior??

  62. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Stevielee: you need to have a dog trainer come to your home and help you teach your puppy how to live in your home. For 10 weeks old, that is concerning behavior.

  63. stevielee
    stevielee says:

    Hi i got a pup a little over a week ago she is 10 weeks old she has always been fine with people but the last 2 to 3 days she wont leave my side she barks and growls and yesterday she went to ran at a mate for been to close she fine with me and my partner i just dont understand what is happening

  64. Jillian
    Jillian says:

    Thanks for the articles!

    My boyfriend and I currently rescued a 2 year-old french bulldog, boxer, terrier mix. When we first got him in January, he was great! He loved anyone who walked through the door, etc. A new behavior has been occurring for the past month or so, and whenever someone walks in the door he will begin barking, growling, and even yesterday jumped up on someone while doing this. It was mortifying. He also begins barking etc. if someone comes to touch (handshake, hug, etc.) either my boyfriend or I. However, when he is home without us there and someone walks in the house…he is completely fine. I don’t know what to do. When we are out of the home on walks and what not, again, he is fine! He loves people and other animals.


  65. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Sadie, until you change the way you have life structured with you ShihTzu then no, nothing will change. Things can get very ugly very fast.

  66. Sadie
    Sadie says:

    I have a 7 year-old Shih Tzu at my home. He’s been my baby since day one. When we got him we already had 2 other dogs (both rat terriers), but they were my brothers. We still have the 2 dogs and my shih tzu at my house with my parents. My Shih Tzu will usually get along with the other 2 dogs- they just can’t be eating near each other or at the same time. My dog though, is way to overprotective and usually doesn’t listen. I take the blame for it because I’ve babied my dog so much since we got him. I literally do everything for him. He’s very overprotective of me and only me. If him and I are in my bedroom together, nobody can enter my room. He will growl, bark, and even try to attack.
    We recently just got a new puppy, a pomeranian/pug mix. We’re going to try him out and see how he does here and how my dog adjusts to him. The first night we brought the pup home, my dog acted like he wanted to play, he taps his front paws and has his “friendly” growl. But then all of sudden his mood changed and he wanted to attack. I’m wondering if he’ll be this way everyday from now on. I thought it could be because we haven’t had my dog neutered yet, and he still thinks he’s “the man.” We are currently kennel training the pup so we are keeping them separate for now. I’ve tried a few times to have them interact but it hasn’t gone well. I’m really hoping I can keep this new puppy, he listens very well for his age and is a good boy. I just don’t know how to properly introduce them and I wonder if they’ll ever get along/

  67. Karen
    Karen says:

    I am a foster carer for the RSPCA in Gladstone and today we brought home a male fox terrier which was running near a highway. But he has come very attached to me in a short time and won’t let my own dogs come nowhere next to me, he goes for them and barks

  68. Liz
    Liz says:

    What a wonderful site. I need some help. I’ve got three dogs, one little rescue girl and two strapping German sheps-12 and 2. The 12 year old is the grumpy boss. Our 2 year old was fine. He and the alpha male do not get on, but we keep them apart for most of the time. But now I think I have protection issues. If he is with me and someone wants to shake my hand say, SNAP. He goes wild. I ‘punish’ him-harsh words and put him in his pen (de-lux garden area). He looks at me with such a face. Also, if he is off leash and we happen to see another dog on the horizon, there is no getting him to return until he’s ready. I’ve bought a muzzle to stop the snapping, but the energy is still there. Apart from this he is the sweetest dog. But I can’t have biting-especially as there are four little kids where we live. Can you advise? Thank you

  69. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Gelicia: I don’t recommend the Pet Corrector as you’re not FIXING the issue. It’s all about structure in your dog’s life. Someone, somehow has inadvertently taught
    your dog that is what his job is. Usually it’s from lack of structure, letting the dog have whatever he wants when he wants it etc. It appears you do not live where
    I have my business so there are 3 ways I can help you:

    telecoaching http://www.petiquettedog.com/telecoaching/
    video coaching http://www.petiquettedog.com/telecoaching/
    my online product http://www.petiquettedog.com/ground-rules-great-dogs/

  70. Gelica
    Gelica says:

    I’ve recently adopted a male saluki mix, his name is Woodie and he’s been great with my family and I. He’s calm and quiet when we got him however, after a month being with us we’ve noticed how protective he got. Whenever he sees new people, he would instantly growl and bark and tend to bite. It’s a little scary and I don’t know what to do. My brother got back a few days ago from the hospital and he was gone for almost a week, as soon as he got home Woodie started to growl and bark. Weird, how he forgot my brother when he’s super close with him.

    I have another dog who’s been with me for 3 years, she’s a saluki mix too. Very quiet and loves seeing new people unlike Woodie.

    Woodie’s foster mom came for the housecheck and she was sad that Woodie didn’t recognize her. So she recommended on getting a pet corrector spray which she said helped her own saluki mix.

    Unfortunately, I’m busy working and my aunt is the one taking care of Woodie until I’m home.

    Would really appreciate your help and hopefully get Woodie to stay quiet and not go crazy when seeing new people. I would love to just let him loose around the house when we have visitors but because of his barking/biting behavior I don’t want to risk it.

    Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.

  71. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Patti: thanks for commenting. I don’t have enough information to give you guidance through your blog comment. I do video coaching, tele-coaching and of course
    in-home lessons if you live in Houston. Happy to help you in any of these ways.

  72. Patti
    Patti says:

    My mom and I rescued a 5 year old yellow lab about 9 months ago. All we know about her is that she was left in a cage most of the time (the owners didn’t have time for her). Based on her papers, it does appear she spent some time overseas (UK stamps on the paper work).

    When we tried petting her, she would shy away. When you tried touching her elbows, paws, or back end, she would snap (we have to get the vet to cut her nails). When getting too close while she was eating a treat, she would snarl. She has been found to eat her feces. She was afraid of anything that clicked (such as a new color going on because hers was a little too tight). She was jumping on furniture.

    On day 2 I had her going in to a cage on request without issues and staying off the couch. She was terrified of a dog bed, but she absolutely loves her bed now.

    I have been able to get her past most of these issues. I have taught her many things such as sit and giving her paw. I can even take a treat away from her.

    She will go through times when she is very ‘needy’ for attention, which she has to sit to receive and we let her know when it is time to go lay down (and we will call her over to get some ‘loving’).

    She is sometimes aggressive towards other dogs. A couple of months ago I had a monitored meet-n-greet with a relative’s dog. It took about 30 minutes, but we were able to get them past things when his female dog submitted.

    While walking her last night, as we got closer to a neighbor walking her dog, she barked (while not pulling too hard). The other dog did submit (and hid behind his owner). My dog sat down across the front of me. I stepped back from the owner and we continued talking. At this point the dogs were able to get nose-to-nose without aggressive behavior.

    Will I need to continue doing this to introduce her to other dogs, or is there a better way?

    Also, how can I stop my dog from eating her feces? The vet said she is healthy in every other way. Now that the snow has melted I can clean up my yard, but Winter will return.

  73. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Jay-El: I would have your dog checked for any medical conditions. It that is all clear then hire an experienced dog trainer to come help you. I can’t fix
    something like this via email.

  74. Jay-El
    Jay-El says:

    My dog was raised on the “nothing in life is free” method of training; he’s always had a huge amount of structure and consistency in his life. He sits and stays before being fed. He doesn’t get to play when he demands it; he has to wait for me to request it. He knows to stop when I say we’re done playing. He has been crate trained and sees his kennel as a positive place (enjoys napping there, sleeps there at night voluntarily, etc). He has gotten more nervous and fearful as he ages, though, and that has resulted in two recent (bad) behaviors: 1. When someone knocks on the door when we are not home, he melts down and gets destructive, even when kenneled in his “safe spot” far away from the door. It’s totally based out of fear/anxiety and not boredom, so toys don’t help. 2. He has gotten very dog-aggressive whenever a dog is close to him. He doesn’t pursue dogs to hurt them; he just wants dogs to stay out of his (and my) personal bubble, and will snarl/growl or try to chase them away when they get into it. He has a great recall and will immediately return to me if I tell him to, but it kind of hampers our ability to meet new dogs or hang out with people who also have dogs. As someone who has raised her dogs with consistent structure, I’m totally lost as to what to do. Help!

  75. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Beth: She is doing what we call resource guarding. She has been taught that you all belong to her and she is guarding you. Pls. go back and re-read the article and
    do the suggestions I make. I also in that article, refer you to several Other of my articles with more “how-to’s”. The solution is there, you have to make the changes.

  76. beth
    beth says:


    I have a 2.5 year old yorkie-poo. She protects whomever she is being held by or cuddling with. She barks and snarls aggressively if the person near her is approached, even if the person approaching is a favored family member? She doesn’t behave this way when being walked and approaching strangers, which is odd. Any suggestions?

  77. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Jessica – thanks for commenting. In the article Is Your Dog Over Protective which you comment comes from, at the end of the article I give very very specific steps
    With links to articles to tell you how to begin to fix this.

  78. jessica
    jessica says:

    i have a miniture wiener dog he is about 3 or 4 years old i got him from a friend who didnt have enough time for him he lives with me at my home its just me and him he loves attention and visitors and is very friendly but when its just the 2 of us at the house he will bark at any little noise he hears and when we visit my bf who he loves very much he gets excited to they play and everything problem being if my bf or anyone for that matter touch me or attempt to touch me he goes crazy and tries to bite them what can i do other then that he is great with people just as long as they dont come near me

  79. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Travis: In the article you read I mentioned specific steps to do and also directed you to other articles with specific steps. Those steps do work. So please try them

  80. Travis
    Travis says:

    I adopted a 5 yr old dog about 1 yr ago. So I don’t know his history. When he’s hanging out with my partner on the sofa and I come close or touch my partner the dog jumps at me and has bitten me a few times. He also become pertective of our other dog. He’s a little 8lb dog and I tell him no and give him a time out. I’m afraid to be to loud or scoled him. I don’t want him to think he’s not in a safe place. I sometimes think he was in a house with domestic violence. I’m lost at how to handle this situation. Other that that he’s a great dog

  81. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Karin, did you click on any of the links in this article. I linked to other articles about being a leader to your dog as too much unearned love and affections is getting
    you what you’ve got. No fence fighting—PERIOD. You are allowing him to make decisions that he should not be making.

  82. Karin Hencken
    Karin Hencken says:

    Hi, I am loving all these answers.
    I adopted a Yorkie in September. He has bonded with everyone, especially me. At the beginning he was great with people at door etc. His only issue was growling at my husband when he tries to get in bed with me. Now it has escalated. and yes he does run up and down the fence barking at walking dogs- we live right next to a nature sanctuary with a walking path! So he just bit a friend when my son was walking him yesterday, and his barking is getting out of control.

    I can start walking him more regularly but what about the yard? He loves it back there and sometimes I need to let him out instead of walking!

    Help! I am really upset about the biting of a neighbor. also my husband is angry about the growling in bed. And during the day, he will jump up on the couch and snuggle with my husband.

    I interact with my dog, Piper by snuggling, walking, training- come, sit, stay, etc.

    help~! thank you, Karin

  83. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Emma: thanks for your comment. Pls. go back to the original blog post you read and look toward the bottom of the article. I give you several specific things
    to do And I refer to to specific articles to understand How to do those things.

  84. emma
    emma says:

    Hi I have a 3 year old staffy cross whippet rescue dog he is a very friendly loving dog we have had him about 3 months now he love home life the problem is that he has become very protective over our two children when they are sat playing or watching tv he feels the need to be sat over them or next to them playing he is fine when friends and family come to visit and shows no agression towards them and wil letvthem enter the house and be around our children without any fuss but when I go to move him away he is becoming more reluctant to move and has growled at me on a few occasions when this happens I send him to his bed and close the baby gate I have that separates him from the livingroom he seems to realise that he has done wrong but it doesnt seem to stop tge behaviour do u please have any suggestions or advice to stop this behaviour

  85. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Sue: get a positive reinforcement trainer to come help you get your dog back on track. I will tell you that you can not separate a dog’s behavior from the
    behavior of the owners. This means you all are giving your dog multiple messages that he is the leader. In a dog’s world the leader gets to claim space etc.

    Change your behavior with your dog and your dog’s behavior will change.

  86. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Sue: Thanks for commenting. In the article I give many, very specific steps to take to help you with your dog’s “protectiveness”. Based on your comment, your
    dog is under the impression he is running the show and that’s because inadvertently you have told him that. Pls. re-read the article and start working on the
    things I talk about.

  87. Sue Korf
    Sue Korf says:

    My dog (5 yr old Springer) is very territorial. We can’t pet him when he’s in his bed he’ll bare his teeth and snap at us. I’ve barred him from sleeping under my desk because if I try to pet him there he’ll do the same as if he’s in his bed. Today, when my husband was leaving for work he leaned in to kiss me and the dog barred his teeth and snapped at him. We immediately shooed the dog out of the room and he went and hid in a corner. How do we stop this from happening, I’d hate to have to put him down, he can be a real sweet and loving dog.

  88. llinos
    llinos says:

    My dog Wilson who’s nearly 3 is completely docile and non aggressive when out on walks,plays with other dogs and obeys my every word but when indoors in my house or my mums goes nuts when the door goes,he is so boucy when people enter that i end up putting him in another room.I have to close I’m in the living room when I go out because the postman is scared of him.its becoming a real problem as I’m scared he might bight someone given the chance ? 🙁

  89. joanne colombo
    joanne colombo says:

    I adopted a terrier mix two weeks ago. his owner died and he was in a shelter for a year. he is a great dog with me, very sweet. in walking him he will bark at every person as far as he can see. looks like he looks for them. the last two day I have noticed that he is good if someone comes in the house. but if they get too close to me he will lung at then , bark and try to bite them. I realize that he has some abandonment problems, and he is procting me or he doesn’t want anyone else to like me in fear maybe he will lose or they will hurt me, I need to fix this fast!. I live in senior housing and if he bites anyone he will have to leave. my heart would break for him…..

  90. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Rick: the answer is in the article. your dog needs to understand that your mother is not his property. He is resource guarding and without structure, and rules
    as I speak about it won’t change.

  91. Rick Santiago
    Rick Santiago says:

    My parents rescued a dog a few months ago. And since then he has become very attached to my mother. Now, he does not see me or any other adults as threats.
    But, when it comes to my 3 & 4 year old he growls at them and bares his teeth. He has also “Nipped” and bit them on occasion just for stand near my mother. One incident which just occurred yesterday.
    My mother was sitting in the kitchen had asked my son to come over to her. Not noticing the dog was hovering near her, under the kitchen table, she went to pick up my son and the dog lunged out and bit or “nipped” (as she put it) my son on the arm. Causing my son to scream and cry and mother to say “oh but he didn’t bite just nipped.”
    My wife no longer wants to visit my parents for fear that the dog will again bite one of the kids.

    My kids absolutely love the dog as the dog is very friendly. listens to kids well when they tell him to sit and lay down. We are not really sure what to do about this situation. This only happens with my 3 and 4 year old.

    I have a 1 year old that does not faze the dog at all, even when my 1 year old is around my mother. My 3 and 4 year old seem like a threat to him.

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Dog – Benji
    Age – According to VET – Less than 2yrs
    Breed/s – Beagle/Lab Mix

  92. David Cook
    David Cook says:

    Hi Jim,
    Your website is awesome! I’m going to read it further. My wife and I have a 6 year old black lab/border collie cross rescue dog from the SPCA. In our pack my wife is top dog, our cat 2nd fiddle and Rufus and I are duking it out for 3rd.. In general Rufus is great. FYI I use a power wheelchair and have limited arm function and strength. Rufus is a high-energy dog who likes and needs lots of exercise.

    I take Rufus out almost all the time whenever I go out. In the winter months, that’s less but we do get out once a day. I think he’s over-protective and barks at people, especially men and he really barks at homeless people walking by on the sidewalk.

    This behavior is relatively new, for about a year and is getting worse. I’m worried he might bite someone and we’ll have to put him down. He only does it with me.

    I take a pouch of very tasty liver ‘Big Bite’ treats which gets his attention right away. I praise him when he’s good and don’t always give him a treat but always verbally praise him with a higher/happier tone of voice. I try to position myself between the person approaching and Rufus but some times I can’t.

    I’m at my wits end. Please pass on any advice you might have for Rufus and I. Thank you very much!

  93. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    My dog barks at everybody that comes to my home, she jumps up and down. The only way I can get her to calm Down is put her in the kitchen and ignore her until she finally tires herself out what can I do.

  94. Tim romansky
    Tim romansky says:

    My dog barks at everyone Walking by my. Truck when I’m in it…iv watched him from around the corner.doesn’t bark at anyone but as soon as I open the door he starts…I’ve walked him to the local store and tie him up while I go in.he’s fine wont bark or bother anyone.. As soon as I come out and take his leash he goes crazy barking at people..

  95. Amanda
    Amanda says:


    I have a lab and she is about a year and a half years old. She has never been really overprotected until we were at a dog park and another dog came up to us aggressively and tried to attack. The whole event scared her pretty badly. Now she is okay when people come over it doesn’t bother her, but when my best friend brings her dog over she has now gotten aggressive. I put her in her crate for just a minute or so and she calms down and is totally fine for the rest of the visit. Now she has gotten a new dog and my dog, Luna, just won’t warm up. She is constantly on guard barking and baring teeth. We work together everyday on her training, so I don’t know what else to do! I would love some help!!



  96. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Andrea: It sounds like you have not only a fearful dog but a dog who feels the need to guard what she thinks is hers. First thing I would tell you is to absolutely
    not let her out front where she can leave your property. You are setting your dog up to fail.

    Find a positive reinforcement trainer in your area and begin working on this asap—it will not get better on its own.

  97. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    My 2 year old Boxer/Beagle mix “Snoopy” has always been protective of her home and family but since our son was born a year ago she’s gotten much worse. When people come over she howls and growls and barks for quite a while before finally calming down. When people walk down the street in front of our house she does the same thing, and often follows them. She doesn’t do it with everybody though. Its like she senses a threat only from certain people and we don’t understand why. I can’t take her for walks anymore and recently when we boarded her we were told that she got into a corner and growled whenever they came near her. She had been there before and never had a problem, but this time they felt the need to videotape her, which upset me. Just today when I let her out to potty she ran to the front of the house and started howling at a woman with a dog and spooked her so bad she picked the dog up and rushed down the street. I feel so bad about it. We have always just assumed she’s protective of us because we’re “her people”, but I admit its becoming embarrassing. She has never attacked anyone. Never bitten anyone. She generally just lets them know she’s not happy with them and eventually backs off, but I do worry that someone will see her as a nuisance and report her.

  98. Jake
    Jake says:

    My Rottweiler has a problem with overprotection. He’s generally nice to people and other dogs, but whenever I am sitting down and someone is approaching me, he will growl and bark. Also, whenever I am in my bedroom and someone goes towards it, he gets very overprotective. A few times he did this little thing where he actually put his mouth around the other persons hand. He didn’t bite down, but it was like a warning. Like I said, he’s a very friendly dog, but whenever I am sitting and someone approaches or whenever I am in my bedroom and someone approaches, he can get nasty.

  99. Michael Burton
    Michael Burton says:

    I have two bulldogs. One I have had for four years, the other about 5 months. The newer dog was two when I got her and I am unsure of her background. She is very sweet but lately has become protective of us towards our other dog. In fact, it has gotten so bad that our original dog goes out of the way to avoid her because she jumps on him. The fights are happening more and more often. Neither dog has gotten hurt in a fight yet, I think its more posturing but the new dog is definitely asserting dominance which is taking atoll on original dog. First thing I did is not allow the new dog to sleep on the bed any more. She now sleeps on the floor. I am also going to start making her work for food. I normally feed them at same time without incident. I think I am going to make the new dog sit a few times for the food. Aside from this, she has had no other aggression and nothing towards people. Any additional suggestions?

  100. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Michelle: Not enough information on your relationship with your dog but let me ask you this: How do you spend your time with your dog? And, how much love and affection do you and the kids give your dog?

  101. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    Help!! My dog is mostly/only aggressive towards my husband!! We had her since she was only 8 weeks old. She is a full blood dogue de bordeaux & in fact my husband dud most if her training!! Yet, she growls and barks if he touches me, kisses me, yell at our kids ect. Yet I can yell or spank my kids and she won’t even stand up. The minute he raises his voice she I s ready to go!! She is fine with visitors (since there isn’t much contact or yelling with company). She just acts out against him who is alpha. He works long hours & doesn’t spend as much time with her, but he does feed her, walk her, play with her, correct her. What should we do???

  102. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Sometimes it’s a matter of your dog is simply on a leash and that can make him act differently. If you are holding the leash tight, loosen it. Allow hime
    to slowly, bit by bit get closer to the dog, praising at all times.

  103. Sian
    Sian says:

    I’m curious as to whether this is what I am experiencing with my dog or not. On walks, he barks at other dogs who come past. At first, I thought he was dog aggressive, but then today I realised he’s not actually wanting to get to the dogs, he straddles my feet if I stand still and barks in their direction – maybe a warning to stay away? If they get close, he lunges at them. If I stand still, he gets himself between me and the other dog in whichever way he can. If we see another dog coming towards us, he pulls at the end of his lead and tries to get to it until it comes past and then he’s fine – he just keeps checking behind to make sure it’s gone. He squeals and barks and makes some really odd noises too! This is the only philosophy I have found that makes sense. As, after a around 5 walks, he learns to trust most dogs (with some it takes longer than others) and will be fine. We take him to dog socialisation and training classes religiously and he is absolutely fine – he’s extremely well behaved and good natured with the other dogs (even ones he doesn’t know) until we get outside and then he starts barking and carrying on again! We even managed to adopt another dog. It took three days for him to get used to her being here and now he’s wonderful with her. However, despite all these measures and our constant efforts to socialise him, his behaviour to other dogs never improves. Do you think this could be the problem? He’s fine with people and loves it when they come to the house. I’ve never had a problem with him and other people. I’m very confused.

  104. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:


    Hi and thanks for your inquiry. The very first thing I would do is to stop “alpha rolling” your dog. I would focus on 3 areas with your dog: 1.) Put more consistent structure into his life; 2.) work on better obedience around people and; 3.) do situational behavioral set-ups that teach your dog alternative behaviors that you can praise and treat. If you are in my service area I could set up a program for you and work one-on-one with you and your dog. If not, I do tele-coaching as well. Resources for you: http://www.petiquettedog.com/telecoaching/

    or http://www.petiquettedog.com/ground-rules-great-dogs/

  105. siobhan
    siobhan says:

    I have a rescued romanian street dog he is amazing in every way but very protective of me and the children and displays aggressive barking tenancies to visitors and passers by. I have two other dogs who are fine and generally they all get on well.
    Bearing in mind Major has suffered hardship and this can explain some of his behavior, his potential to bite is high and he intimidates people who come to visit. I have to put him on a lead if repair men enter and he reacts strongly if my parents go to hug my children.
    I am not able to walk him at the moment as I am waiting for some injuries he suffered in Romania to heal, ( he was shot and lost his front leg and his corresponding back leg has been badly broken but that was an older injury) but I correct him every time. The best way, I have found, is to place him in a submissive position on the floor and say no firmly. I have asked people not to shout as this makes his barking worse. However, as soon as I leave the room he starts again. I have attempted to ascertain his level of aggressiveness by rolling him on his back and leaning over. Nothing, totally submissive and avoided eye contact as expected no aggression shown until I leave the room and leave visitors alone or the peace and routine is disturbed by visitors. Once he gets used to a person he is fine but I am concerned that some poor person won’t be able to get to know him and will get bitten instead! I don’t really understand why he is so protective and barky as I am not a nervous person and neither do I treat my dogs as 4 legged people. They have order, are made to sit for meals and treats and all move off the sofa or bed when I tell them to. The only issue on this is they are more quick to obey me rather than other people, but the labrador is responsive to all family members.
    I am getting no where with the barking and the protective aggression and really need some advice. Please help!!!

  106. Caroline Cottingham
    Caroline Cottingham says:

    Hi I have a beautiful German Shepard bitch
    Who is 18 months old. She is obedient in all ways
    With the exception of over protection. Before I got married she lived with just me and my two kids, now I’m married my husband has a lot of friends over and her over protective nature is causing problems. I can get her to lay down but she still barks. If people come in and sit down she is fine and loving. But when people stAnd up to leave she go’s back in to guard mode. Please help as I want her to be happy and stable and enjoy life. Thank you for your time. Caroline

  107. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    I have to put my dog in the bedroom anytime anyone comes over. I just thought that was the way he was

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