Puppy Biting Reason #6: Guardian Instinct


Dogs are awesome.  They protect us with their lives and will fearlessly take on pretty much any adversary if they believe that you’re in danger (any adversary except thunderstorms and vacuum cleaners).

But sometimes this protective instinct can go too far.

Young puppies can easily misinterpret other people’s actions and lash out to defend:

  • Themselves
  • Their toys or food
  • Their masters

This can be particularly challenging if you get a second dog or have a baby.  It’s not just possessiveness at that point – it’s jealousy.

There are even instances when 2 people adopt a puppy, but the dog forms a much stronger bond with only 1 of her adoptive parents.  If mommy is sitting on the couch petting the dog, daddy is not allowed to approach either of them for fear of getting growled at – or worse yet – getting bitten.

Out-of-town guests, extended family members, neighbors – these only complicate the matter.

An overly protective puppy will defend its territory from all threats – both foreign and domestic.

How to Get Your Possessive Puppy to Stop Biting

Figuring out how to get your puppy to stop biting in these circumstances is challenging because you must alter how they perceive the world.

You basically have 2 choices:

  1. You can get your her to stop loving you so gosh-darn much
  1. You can get your her to stop perceiving potential threats as potential threats

If you’re like most dog owners, option #2 is typically the better choice.  Getting your puppy dog to stop loving you is next to impossible.

You can try.  But you will fail.

Training your puppy not to be as possessive and protective is the better option here.  So how do you do that?

Well, socialization with other dogs and people is a good strategy for reducing this habit.  You have to slowly build up exposure over time since it may take awhile for your dog to become comfortable with strangers.

And keep in mind that some puppies (and puppy breeds) take a lot more socialization than others.

This guardian instinct can be really tricky to address, which is why we recommend going with professional training resources prepared by expert dog instructors.  For a list of affordable at-home courses, click here.

Need More Resources for Training Your Puppy not to Bite?

For more resources on how to get your puppy to stop biting, use the links down below: