Would you want your dog to take bullet for you?

How does your dog behave when someone new enters your home, yard, property, personal space, etc?

Do they let out some alert barks or do they charge, lunge, growl, bark, or even bite at the person? For many people, when a dog aggressively charges towards someone we will say things like "He is protective" of us, the home, their territory, or property. A dog that acts out like this every time someone new enters puts themselves at risk due to their "guarding" behavior. Even worse, us allowing them to do this is potentially risking their life (depending on their size, body shape, pre-assumed prejeduces of breed, etc).

I think this is an important conversation to have. The average dog is not "guard dog" material and most families are not looking for a guard dog. It's one thing for a dog to bark and alert their family that someone is at the door -- that's what everyone wants -- but it's a whole other matter for a dog to be out of control barking, lunging, and biting at people that come over. Actually, the majority of the dogs that do this behavior are anxious/stressed dogs lacking believable boundaries and guidance from their owners and show all of that nervy-ness through their reactions. The problem with this guarding-like behavior, is it puts your dog at the front line of conflict. A dog who does this is potentially putting their life at risk every time their owner allows them to practice this behavior (not just risk of euthanasia due to biting a person or child because they walked into your house) but risk of being shot, literally. 

What if an armed person approached your property (possibly with ill intent) and was charged by your dog. Most likely, if they were scared enough, they may shoot the dog.

What if someone in your home was hurt or injured, and paramedics or law enforcement could not enter your home because your dog was charging them? 

Dogs who act like this, unless professionaly trained to be protection dogs, are a real danger to themselves and others. Not only is constant barking, growling, lunging, and reacting everytime they see someone or hear something a good indicator that your dog is mentally stressed, but it also means, that if you can't stop it, you won't have control of your dog in a crisis or when it matters the most.

To help your dog be less anxious, less reactive, and act more appropriately in social settings, you first have to start by building some structure and setting boundaries in your dog's life. For some families (especially if biting is involved!) you may need professional help. Feel free to reach out to us in the Central Florida area or ask for a reference - we know balanced trainers all over the country who can help keep your dog and your guests safe and happy.

Stranger aggressive dog