Dogs have many ways of expressing their love and affection for you, though they are unable to do this verbally. You may have experienced these displays of love from your dog; from subtle gestures to over-the-top displays of affection.
However, not all displays of affection by dogs can be counted as just protective. Some dogs at sometimes go overboard with their displays of attachment. They can become overprotective. And this is not a good sign as this behavior can make them more aggressive.
As a pet parent, you need to curb the protective aggressive tendency in your dog.
Signs your dog is protective of you
It’s essential that you learn to distinguish between protective and overprotective behavior, as the latter can result in aggressive tendencies. An aggressive dog can end up in undesirable situations with other dogs or owners.
Dogs are not too difficult to understand, as long as you can devote some time to your pet. You will understand them better and will be able to sense what they want.
Here are some of the obvious signs of overprotective behavior in dogs.
1. Will act as a guard
Even if there is no real danger, dogs typically strive to protect the people they care about. Some dogs show their devotion to their owners by keeping them “safe”. When you notice signs your dog is guarding you, it is an indication that your dog considers you to be a member of his “pack” or group.
If you are seated, the dog may sit near you, guarding you. They usually sit facing away from you and be on the alert to any dangers that may come your way. In case another dog approaches you, they quickly stand in front of this dog, blocking its path.
Veterinarians discourage this protective tendency because it can lead to behavioral issues in them, including extreme territorial behavior.
2. Will adjust to your mood
As dogs are highly sensitive to your mood changes, they can easily detect if you are depressed. When they sense this, your dog may attempt to help you by cuddling you, placing his head on you, or simply remaining near you.
Do remember that each dog is unique, so there’s no way you can predict how a new pet will react to your mood changes.
Dogs, being sensitive creatures, respond in their own way if they suspect something is wrong. Their behavior may seem almost human, rushing to your aid when you need help. They will try to show how much they care for you in their own silent ways.
3. Will herd you
Your dog may exhibit herding behavior if he feels that you or any family member is wandering away. Many dog breeds are natural herders and they use this behavior to show their affection for the “pack”. The “pack” often includes you, your family, and other pets in the family.
For example, if a family member or other pet wanders away from the sidewalk, overprotective dogs would bring him back and defend him. Border Collies and Australian shepherds were originally used to herd livestock, and their herding tendency often comes out when the situation demands it.
4. Will share their toys
Your dog’s damaged tennis ball may not pique your interest but his willingness to share it with you is a method he uses to show great affection for you. If your dog adores you, he or she will frequently bring his favorite toy to you. It’s a gesture to show you that they care by sharing their stuff with you.
If a dog brings a broken object to its owner, on the other hand, it may be an indication that it trusts the owner’s intelligence to repair it. If the dog gets emotional after getting it back, it is a clear sign of his attachment to you.
5. Always watching over your belongings
When you are away for long periods, dogs tend to collect and keep items that have your smell. This is typically interpreted as a sign of attachment. However, if the dog destroys these items, it is considered aggressive behavior. It is important to train them not to do so from an early age.
This is the most obvious evidence that your dog is overprotective and guarding you. When you leave the house, most pets behave negatively or aggressively, which turns into a frenzy when you return. You can tell whether a dog is excited to see you by the way he behaves.
6. Through facial expressions
Dogs have unique facial gestures and manners to effectively communicate well with humans. Pet dogs are more likely than wild dogs to lift their eyebrows and give us this friendly, compassionate look that evokes feelings of love and care in us.
Disadvantages of protective dog behavior
When we interpret a dog’s gestures and behaviors as overprotective or protective aggressive, we are drawing parallels between these actions and human emotions. Many dog owners believe that their pets are guarding and protective of them. For people, it’s a relaxing and reassuring experience but for dogs, it must be a frustrating one.
It’s called resource guarding when dogs bark at strangers approaching while sitting on their pet owner’s lap. Yes, your growling dog is defending his resources, which include you. However, when dogs become protective excessively, it is harmful. This behavior will only continue to get worse if it is not addressed promptly.
Veterinarians recommend aggressive behavior dog training to contain this tendency.
When a protective dog perceives that you are in danger, it is natural for it to react violently. When dealing with protective aggression in dogs, you may need the assistance of an animal behavior specialist. If you want your dog to stop doing something you don’t want him to, simply reward him for doing it the way you want him to.
A dog’s primary motivation is to please and protect its owner. To encourage appropriate behavior, keep track of how the dog behaves when he or she is with another person or animal, pay attention to what they want, and correct any indications of aggression.