Dealing with an overly protective dog?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

Weston aka- Chocolate- Monkey

Wheres my- chocolate- Monkey.
Barked: Sat Dec 2, '06 12:53am PST 
Our one year old standard poodle has become more and more overly protective of his parents (us). He's not overly protective of other people approaching us but rather when we go to the dog park, and strange dogs try to approach us he gets between us and them and let's them know sternly without any violence but with some growling that they are not to come any closer to us.

He seems to only do this once we have settled down in the park and are sitting down on some chairs or bench. If we are standing he is far less aggressive at keeping other dogs away from us.

When he runs somewhere in the dog park, he plays with every other dog perfectly and there is never any problems, it's only when he's right next to us (and were usually sitting down in leisure) and another dog approaches, then he immediately goes into this sort of protective mode and trys to keep the other dogs away from us often standing inbetween us and the other dog and barks agressively at them.

Once another dog has gotten close to us and he gets used to that dog after seeing us play with the other dog then he settles right down and usually lets that dog approach us without blinking an eye.

But Im rather concerned that what I perceive as him being overly protective might turn into a serious situation so I'd like to nip it in the bud now before it might.

We will always correct him when he does this by telling him NO. But that doesnt seem to do anything towards curing it at all.

We have been trying to be proactive now and when he does it we walk over to the dog in question and try to play with it to show him that the dog is okay, but once we sit back down he goes into protect mode again.

Any clues if this is really him being overly protective of his parents (or should I say his "pack") or if it is an indication of something else.

It seems to me that if it were a mean streak in him then when he's away from us in the dog park he would be exhibiting the same thing but he doesn't and never has, when hes away he just plays gladly with *all* the other dogs in the park.


Edited by author Sat Dec 2, '06 12:55am PST

Sachi- (1997-2012)

Dirt is a girls- best friend!
Barked: Sat Dec 2, '06 8:16pm PST 
Are either of you sending off signals that may lead him to believe that you need protecting? Perhaps one of you gets a little tense when a specific breed or strange big dog approaches. Also, being in a sitting position is more submissive, so therefore you lounging on a bench makes you vulnerable?

Or maybe the dogs that are approaching you have aggressive body language and Weston feels that it's threatening.

I honestly don't have any experience with this but those are the only reasons that came into my mind.

When Sachi is aggressive towards another dog I make her sit with her back facing it and she's not allowed to look at it. (I learned it from Cesar Milan. party) She just gets in the zone and it takes more than a strong "no" to get her to realize she needs to stop.

Edited by author Sat Dec 2, '06 8:19pm PST