Rules and Structure Help a Possessive Dog Stop Blocking Dogs From Family Members

By: David Codr

Published Date: July 5, 2017

Mowgli (left) is a nine-year-old Boxer who lives in Omaha with three-year-old Lab mix Louie (center) and Bulma, one-year-old American Bulldog. The dog’s guardians called me to set up a dog behavior training session to get Louie to stop acting possessive of people and objects around the other dogs, especially Mowgli. They also wanted us to show them how to train dogs to behave at the door when people knock or ring the bell.

Because the doorbell is a trigger and the dogs, well Louie, have shown aggressive behavior to guests at the door, the guardians put the dogs outside before I arrived. I saw them as I walked up to the door and gave them a few treats through the fence to helps start a positive association before heading inside.

In the video below you can watch how the dogs behaved as the guardians let them inside one at a time.

When you have multiple dogs and there are some dog behavior problems, working with the dogs individually is a great dog behavior tip many people skip. The thinking is it will take longer to repeat things with each dog separately. But the progress you will make with them together is far slower than separating them.

If you have multiple dogs and have difficulty training them or working with them, try separating them so you can work with them individually.

While I was discussing the situation with the dog’s guardians, Louie parked himself in front of one of his guardians in a blocking position and started to demonstrate his people guarding problem. I pulled out my phone and shot a shot video so I could point out what body language he was using as well as a strategy to stop unwanted dog behavior.

Knowing the warning signs to look for will go a long ways towards helping the dog’s guardians stop Louie’s guarding behavior the instant it starts. If they can consistently disagree and redirect him or move him away, it shouldn’t take long for Louie to learn that guarding a person results in the opposite thing happening.

This is more of a possessive behavior rather than protective behavior. Either one can be dangerous and lead to a dog bite, but the approach to rehabilitating a dog with possessive behavior is different from a dog who is protective or territorial.

After suggesting a number of ways to incorporate structure into this pack of dogs, Louie and Bulma needed to go out for a potty break. I used this opportunity to show the guardians how to train dogs to behave at the door when guests knock instead of being an excited dog.

By breaking down the door answering ritual into small steps and practicing with one dog at a time, step by step, the guardians will be able to train dogs to behave how they want in the future.

It will take some practice, but combined with the structure we introduced in the session, it shouldn’t take long before people coming to the door no longer results in over excited dog behavior from any of these three dogs.

We finished things up by filming a Roadmap to success video that you can check by clicking below.

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