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Tuesday Training Byte: Dealing with an over-protective dog

There can be a variety of reasons why your dog is behaving like this, and chances are it didn't happen overnight. This can take time, just like when dealing with separation anxiety. There is too much to address it all here, but I will try to condense it to some key points. Here is the hard part: the owner often (inadvertently) has rewarded the wrong behavior. Thus, the unwanted behavior increases. For example, my pup is jumping up on me so I look at my dog, speak to him, and maybe even push him off of me. I have just rewarded the jumping up by giving my dog attention and his jumping up behavior increases. If I am sitting at the vet office with my dog on leash when someone approaches and my dog barks and growls at them, I need to be careful to not reward that behavior. Telling my dog, "There, there, its okay", and stroking my dog, etc is all rewarding. This quote is from PetLabs dog supplement company: "The odd stroke or cuddle is fine, but constant fuss and petting may actually be making your pup learn some bad habits as they think they’re being praised for everything! This unhealthy relationship you’re building will make your dog think that they’re entitled to your attention at all times, demanding you when they want you and becoming obsessive." Dogs should earn the extra attention when obeying. Another key point is that dogs thrive on structure and a pecking order. If you establish a set schedule and routine, the dog is much easier to manage and will be less likely to try to be dominant over you. If you are having friends over for a party, have your dog removed to a different room or crated. Give them a long lasting chew and a calming treat. Don't force your dog into a position where it goes into protection mode. Lastly, enrolling in a dog obedience class or Canine Good Citizen class will help you better help your dog put it's best paw forward. Check out and click the learn tab on the top menu.

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