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8 Tips on How to Stop a Dog From Being Possessive of Owner

8 Tips on How to Stop a Dog From Being Possessive of Owner

Having a protective dog always at our side can help put us at ease, like most owners, but sometimes, we have to learn how to stop a dog from being possessive of owner when their possessiveness becomes too much.

Dogs are a man’s best friend. They are loyal to a fault, and their protective nature is sweet and also comes in handy most times.

Man playing with his dogBut when the dog is already showing signs of being extra possessive that he growls whenever we have to go out of the house without them or when they don’t let us near with other family members or friends, then it’s time to train the dog.

Training on how to stop a dog from being possessive of the owner can be a gradual process, but it’s possible. Especially if their possessive aggression has been going on for a long time, we have to get the training right.

  1. Realize and Understand the Problem

Dogs are protective in nature. They will growl and bark whenever someone comes to the door. More often than not, what happens next is the owner picking up the dog to help it stop growling or barking. But when it doesn’t stop and comes to a point when the dog doesn’t allow anybody near their owners, and growls and barks and might even bite on anybody getting close, they are already showing signs of possessive aggression towards their owners.

It’s a blessing when the dog shows its protective stance during emergency situations, but it’s another matter when they are trying to protect their owners from somebody who isn’t doing anything wrong.

The dog’s excessive protectiveness to their owners can lead to a dangerous situation. Realizing that the dog is already showing signs of possessive aggression is the first way to help them move on from this behavior.

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  1. Stop Over-Indulging the Dog

Especially when we give the dogs unlimited attention, they may soon develop possessiveness when we start to give attention to other things or other people. When we always give them what they want and when they realize they don’t have to follow any rules, that develops a habit.

  1. Enforce Rules and Define Who’s in Authority

One of the best tips on how to stop a dog from being possessive of the owner is to practice leadership exercises. Introducing the concept of rules and defining who is in authority is important when training dogs.

Most of the possessive and aggressive behaviors of dogs are a result when they perceive themselves as equals or even more superior to their owners.

As such, it’s important to show them who’s the leader, and it’s not them. We can do this in various ways like making them wait for their food or making them wait for a minutes before taking them for a walk outside. These are simple ways of showing dogs that we are in control, and once they know who is the boss and who makes the call, they will less likely become overprotective.

  1. Exercise the Dog’s Obedience Skills

Dogs who have well-defined obedience skills generally show more respect to their owners. They are more willing to listen and follow commands, and they tend to have high levels of self-control. This skill will be extremely helpful in curbing their possessive aggression.

We can start training dogs by getting them into obedience classes or learning to train them ourselves. We can teach them simple obedience commands like telling them to sit or rollover, among other things.

  1. Enforce Boundaries

Another helpful tip in training how to stop a dog from being possessive of owner is to enforce ground rules and boundaries. Incorporating clear structure and boundaries to dogs is a good place to start curbing their possessive behavior towards their owners.

We can start by not allowing them to sit on the furniture or the bed, at least temporarily. When they try to jump on our lap or on the couch, set them back down on the ground. Oftentimes, the furniture itself, like the bed and couch, triggers their possessiveness, and they may not allow other people or dogs to be on the bed or the couch with their owners. But, they don’t get to decide, the owner does.

  1. Teach the Dog to Cope with Being Alone

Most of the times, dogs become excessively possessive of their owners because they fear of being left. But, they have to be able to cope with being alone when their owners have to go out of the house without them.

Teach them to be okay without their owners. After all, it wouldn’t be healthy for them to stay attached to their owners 24/7. We can train them by giving them some time to be in a separate room or inside their kennel each day. Another thing we can do is tether their leash somewhere far away from us and ignoring them for some time, even if they are barking endlessly.

  1. Encourage Dog to Bond with Other People

Once the dogs have started to curb the possessiveness of their owners, it will further benefit them to gradually help them bond with other people or dogs other than their owner. Being with other people will help the dogs realize that other people are good too, and they don’t have to protect their owners from everyone.

  1. Commit to Solving the Dog’s Possessive Aggression

Realizing that dogs have problems with being extra possessive of owners and training them to get rid of this behavior is just one thing. We have to be able to commit to solving their possessive aggression. It doesn’t come easy.

When they are scared or angry, it takes real courage and commitment to set them down on the ground instead of picking them up and enabling their behavior. Especially when they have shown possessive aggressive behavior for years, training them can be a gradual process. Also, the training process has to be consistent for them to change the behavior they were already used to.

While it’s cute and heartwarming when dogs show their protective nature over their owners, training is necessary, so they don’t get excessively protective for no reason. By assuming the authority and enforcing clear rules and boundaries, it can change the dogs’ perception of their leadership. With time, we can learn how to stop a dog from being possessive of owner, and they become more welcoming to others presence.


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Hi, everyone! My name is Mathew Barham and I’m the editor in charge here at M-Dog. I’m currently based in Northampton, Pennsylvania, where I live with my beautiful wife, two amazing kids, and four rowdy rescue dogs. Growing up, my parents had a huge backyard and lots of animals. So my entire life, I was surrounded by pets that I cared for deeply. When my wife and I moved into a bigger place, I knew that I wanted to do the same for my family. That’s when we went to an animal shelter and fell in love with the most adorable little rescue pup. Since then, our family just kept growing, and we couldn’t be happier about it.