TAGS: behavior | dog ownership

Why dogs are protective of their owners

19 Feb, 2023

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Many dogs are very protective of their families and display this in different ways; whether they bark like crazy when the doorbell rings, they become more alert if a stranger approaches you, follow you around the house, or even growl at someone if they feel it is necessary. The mentioned behaviors are not necessarily applicable to all dogs. Some are more protective, while others are less. Then there are the cases of dogs like the Golden Retriever that will greet every stranger with a wagging tail and a happy demeanor. Putting the exceptions aside, let's look at some of the reasons why they behave protectively over their family.


German Shepherd with Owner


Dogs have an instinct to protect their pack, including their owners and home. This instinct comes from their ancestry as wolves, where the alpha wolf was responsible for protecting the rest of the pack. While most domesticated dogs will not behave as aggressively as a wolf in a situation where they feel threatened, they still have the instinct to protect. 

As many dog owners will notice, a dog will become more protective of them the closer the bond is between them. The more positive experiences you have with your dog, such as playing, training, or feeding them, will increase the likelihood of protective behavior. When a dog bonds with its owner, it considers them part of its pack. As a result, a dog will feel a strong urge to protect its owner, just as it would defend any other member of its pack. 


Man Hugging Husky


Dogs have highly attuned senses. Some people even believe that dogs have a sixth sense. Their sense of hearing and smell is so fine that they can detect things we can't. These sharp senses make dogs sensitive to potential dangers in their environments and react accordingly when they sense something unusual. Their keen senses, combined with their desire to keep their pack safe, make dogs the ideal protector. 

Lastly, certain dogs are specifically trained to protect. Some dog owners like it when their dog fiercely barks when someone knocks at their front door, which can result from positively reinforcing this behavior. It is for this reason that you should always ask if you can pet someone's dog before doing so, as you need to know what kind of training the dog has been through. Some dog owners may want a more protective dog, others less. Before bringing any dog home, make sure to do your research on the breed to make sure that it is a good match!



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