Reasons for Possessive Aggression in Dogs

Dogs can be very possessive, but it’s important to understand why your dog is showing possessive aggression so you can work on correcting the behavior.

What is possessive aggression?

Possessive aggression refers to a dog that is overly protective or aggressive when it comes to something they consider theirs. This can be a toy, a space, or even another person.

While this behavior may seem like an exclusively “possessive breed” problem, it’s actually more common than you might think in all types of dogs—and it’s not always easy for owners to deal with.

Why do dogs guard objects?

Dogs are territorial. Most dogs are pack animals and will defend their territory to the death. They have a personal space that they need to feel safe in, and will guard it from strangers or other animals who get too close.

You can take advantage of this behavior by teaching your dog to guard an item when you leave him alone for long periods of time so that he’ll be less likely to bark or chew up furniture while you’re away—but there’s no need to make him do anything he doesn’t want to do!

Why do dogs guard spaces and people?

Dogs are territorial animals, and they have a natural inclination to guard their space and possessions. Your dog is likely guarding you because he feels that you’re part of his pack—his family—and he doesn’t want anyone else getting close to the things that belong to him (you) or trying to enter his territory (your home).

If your dog guards other people or pets, it’s likely because he feels threatened by them. He may feel as though they pose an immediate threat to your safety or his perceived role as protector of your home. The best way to help curb this behavior is through training sessions that reward calm behaviors instead of aggressive ones.

How to stop your dog’s possessive aggression

If your dog is aggressive about objects or people, you’ll need to take a behavior modification plan to address the problem. You can begin by setting up a training area where you can work with your dog if he becomes possessive of things like toys or treats. You should also make sure that these items are in an area where they are easily accessible and not locked away.

You may also want to consider using positive reinforcement for good behavior and when the dog is calm. This can help him associate that action with something pleasant, which will hopefully reduce his aggression over time. If your pet becomes too aggressive when playing with other animals, it may be best for him to play alone until he learns how to control his emotions around others more effectively (this could take weeks or months).


Dogs can be trained to change their aggressive behaviors over time. Your dog may still get jealous sometimes, but that doesn’t mean they won’t eventually learn to cooperate with other people and pets around the house.