Stopping a Dog From Acting Possessive When Being Held

By: David Codr

Published Date: October 4, 2022

stop a dog from acting possessive when held

For this Santa Monica dog training session we worked with one-year-old Chihuahua mix Lovie, sharing tips to stop a dog from acting possessive when held.

I gave Lovie some high value treats as soon as I arrived and refrained from trying to reach out and pet her. Sometimes when you’re meeting a fearful or anxious dog, the best thing to do is remain passive and let them explore you when they feel comfortableinstead of reaching out to pet or call after them.

I went over a number of fundamentals with her guardian to make sure that they are communicating well and on the same page. By using marker words and rewarding desired behaviors and petting dogs in their preferred the places, we can help build their confidence which often reduces nipping or biting behavior.

How to stop a dog from acting possessive when held

When Lovie is in her guardians arms, if someone approaches and tries to pet her, Lovie often barks and gets reactive. This could be because she is possessive over her guardian or that she is worried that someone who is approaching may try to take the guardian away. Acting possessive is not unusual for rescue dogs who spent time in a shelter.

To stop a dog from guarding someone, you need to help the dog understand that when people approach, they are not going to hurt the dog or take the guardian away. The secret way to stop dogs from acting possessive is to make them feel like the new person is a positive. We accomplish this by making something wonderful happen when the person arrives. I like to do this using treats.

If your dog is possessive of you around other people, you should definitely check out the free positive dog training video below. In this video I share some tips to stop dogs from acting possessive when they are being held by thier guardian.

By going at the dog’s pace and making somethig nice happen when someone approaches the dog and guardian, I was able to help Lovie see my arrival as a good and positive thing. if the guardian is able to re-create this with friends and neighbors, she should be able to help Lovie stop acting possessive when held. This is an easy way to stop possessive behavior in dogs, but you have to practice at a level low enough for the dog to not feel triggered (meaning it doesnt react).

Lovie is a wonderful lovable dog, but due to her under socialization and stressful experiences as a young puppy, she can be nervous and anxious. The more than her guardian reinforces desired behaviors, communicates clearly and reads and reacts appropriately to her body language, the more confident and secure Lovie will feel. After you stack enough intentionally positive experiences together, it’s possible for many dogs to develop a new behavior pattern after a few months. My hope is that Lovie starts to associate people approaching as an indication that good things are happening and not that someone is going to take her away from her favorite person. She is so cute, it would be great for her to enjoy all the attention this pup garners.

After a couple hours I had earned Lovie‘s trust, allowing me to pet her and even hold her for a picture with her amazing guardian.

stop a dog from acting possessive when held

We shared a number of other dog behavior tips in this in-home Santa Monica dog training session. To help the guardian remember them all, I recorded a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categorized in:

This post was written by: David Codr