Signs your Dog is Protecting You

As a dog owner, you will find that your dog plays different roles in your life. Friend, family, confidant and yes, even protector. Understanding dog behavior takes time and experience with animals and even with that, you may still have trouble reading your dog’s moods and feelings. So how would you know that your dog is protecting you?

Dogs, like humans, come in different shapes, sizes, and temperaments so their behavior will vary. However, there are some classic telltale signs that will indicate that your dog is protecting you. These signs include:

  1. 1
    If your dog tends to come between you and other people, particularly strangers, this is their way of shielding and protecting you from potential harm. A protective dog will growl when someone approaches you as a warning to the other person to stay away.
  2. 2
    Protective dogs will be wary of other animals as well and you will notice that they get tense in the presence of other dogs. For instance, you might be out for a walk with your dog and you will notice that they get aggressive when you encounter other dogs. This wariness stems from the need to protect its owner from potential dangers.
  3. 3
    If your dog likes sitting on your feet, this is his way of marking you and telling others that you belong to them.
  4. 4
    Protective dogs tend to be sensitive and you will find that they will try and comfort you if you are distressed because they feel the need to protect you.

Is your Dog Protective or Aggressive?

Dogs are pack animals and thus the instinct to protect comes naturally to them. However, protection can quickly crossover to aggression which is a dangerous dog behavior. So, it is important to distinguish between the natural instinct to protect and aggressive dog behavior.

  • A protective dog will revert to a calm state after establishing there is no threat to you. An aggressive dog will tend to display aggressive tendencies whenever anyone comes near you whether they are family, friends, strangers or other dogs.
  • Aggressive dogs are usually trying to assert their dominance over you and not necessarily trying to protect you. They will consider you as belonging to them and will be aggressive whenever anyone comes near you. If for example, your dog will not let anyone sit next to you on the couch, you are dealing with aggression and not protection.
  • Aggressive dogs tend to be poorly socialized and will have trouble not just with humans but with other dogs and pets as well.
  • Aggressive dogs can bite and pose a danger to other people and animals because of their constant need to show dominance. A protective dog is generally friendly and will only become alert if they sense a threat to their owner.
  • An aggressive dog will growl, nip, or bite regularly and will tend to guard not just their owner but also their toys and food.

Dealing With An Overprotective Dog

Despite the comfort that comes with knowing that your dog is looking out for you, overprotective dogs can pose a danger to others. You, therefore, need to watch out for overprotective behavior and deal with it before it turns into full-blown aggression. If you are enjoying this article, check out our article on the best dog food for miniature schnauzer.

  • Be aware of your dog’s body language; if your dog starts to bark, growl or lunge at others take immediate action by firmly removing him from the situation.
  • Establish clear boundaries so that the dog knows you are in charge not them. Give clear commands and voice your displeasure when your dog starts displaying aggression. If you are consistent with this, the dog will slowly learn that their aggression is bad behavior and not acceptable.
  • Dogs pick up on your energy and if you tend to be nervous around other people your dog will likely pick up on this. Try to be calm so that your dog doesn’t feel the need to protect you needlessly.
  • Some distance is necessary to diminish over-attachment which may cause a dog to be overprotective. Create some space and let the dog interact with other people in the family or other pets.
  • Obedience training will instill discipline and a measure of self-control in your dog.


Hello, I'm Shelly! I write about all things dogs. I'm a proud mother of 3. So I guess my official title is fulltime mother, part-time dog blogger. Look around and if you have any questions reach out to me