Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

Preventing Possessive Aggression in Dogs


Preventing Guarding in DogsPossessive aggression in dogs can range from worrisome to dangerous. Preventing the problem is much easier than dealing with it after your dog is snarling at you.

Since you cannot know ahead of time exactly which dogs may try this, doing this training ahead of time with your dog is time well spent.

Our Goal: To teach your dog to want us to approach them.

Do this:

  1. When your dog is engaged with a toy they don’t care about much, walk up to them praising happily.
  2. Continue to praise as you hand him an excellent, delicious, over-the-top treat.
  3. Walk away quietly.

Well done. Now, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Soon your dog should stop chewing and look up at you happily. “You again?” will be his expression. “Excellent!” Good job! That’s what we want.

If your dog tenses up, freezes, snarls or in any way makes you nervous/exhibits any aggression stop! Seek qualified professional help ASAP. If your dog is possessive over certain items, throw those items away. Period. Do not allow your dog to practice aggression just because he enjoys some toy or chew. They can live without it.

Wondering why didn’t I say something like “Leave it”? Because of the dog trainer who wrote about how she was bitten by her own dog (!!) because she didn’t say “Leave it” when he had a toy. What???

If you teach this behavior on a verbal command, your dog will do it on a verbal command. That is no help to the child or adult guest who doesn’t know that command. My goal is to make for your approach the “command” so your dog happily disengages whenever anyone approaches.

In fact, I take it a step further, which I explain in this video clip.

My goal is to lessen the risk of possessive aggression in dogs with this simple pre-training regime. Let me know how it goes in your house.

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