How to Tell If Your Dog is Guarding You?
How to Tell If Your Dog is Guarding You
Resource guarding is a common and often less than desirable dog behavior. It involves them defending anything they consider valuable, like food bowls, beds, high value toys, treats or even their humans.
While it’s natural for dogs to protect their resources, severe resource guarding can be a problem, especially in human homes. It can cause discomfort and harm for both dogs and their people.
1. Your dog’s body language
Your dog’s body language can tell you a lot about how they’re feeling. It can help you better understand your dog and prevent them from acting out in stressful situations or around people they don’t like.
Your pet’s head position can also help you determine how they are feeling. For instance, if you see your dog tilting their head, it can be a sign that they’re trying to get your attention or are thinking about something they would like to say to you.
If your dog is guarding something, they may also squint their eyes. This is called a “whale eye,” and it usually signals a possible aggressive outburst in the near future.
2. Your dog’s eyes
Your dog’s eyes are a fascinating, if not underappreciated, tool for understanding your pet. They can help you identify their emotional state and tell if they’re guarding you.
Eyes work much like a camera, allowing light to enter through the iris and then focusing it on the retina. This layer contains color-sensitive cones and motion- and light-sensitive rods, which convert the light into electrical signals that are sent to the brain.
Although dogs cannot see all the colors that humans can, they have amazing peripheral vision. Their eyes are set at a 20 degree angle, which allows them to perceive depth and increase their field of view.
3. Your dog’s ears
Your dog’s ears can tell you a lot about their mood. They can tell you if they are excited or disappointed, or if they are happy to see you or want something.
When a dog has their ears pulled back they are likely feeling threatened and will turn their head away from you. They will also avoid eye contact with you.
A dog’s ears can also tell you if they are anxious or angry. They will have tails tucked close to their bellies, ears bent back, and may be rolling around.
In addition, their ears can tell you if they have an ear infection or foreign object in their ear such as grass seed. In severe cases a vet may have to flush the ear canals and remove the item surgically.
4. Your dog’s mouth
Your dog’s mouth is a good place to look for signs of resource guarding, which is when your dog tries to protect something they consider valuable. This can include food, toys, and more.
Many people mistake this behavior for aggression, and that’s totally wrong.
Usually, resource guarding isn’t aggressive and can be a normal part of a dog’s life.
If you notice that your dog is guarding their items, you can help them to learn not to.
You can do this by removing the item they’re protecting and offering them something that is even more desirable. Do this often, until your dog stops guarding their possessions. This is called a drop it cue. It can take a lot of repetition, but it’s the best way to teach your dog that they don’t need to guard their stuff.
5. Your dog’s ears
Your dog’s ears are one of their most powerful communication tools. They can tell you how your dog is feeling, what they are thinking about, and even whether they want to play.
When a dog has pricked ears, it means that they are very alert and interested in what you have to say. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are guarding you.
If your dog has droopy ears, it may be a sign that they have an infection or other ear problem. Your veterinarian will inspect your dog’s ears and ear canals to determine the cause of the problem, and then prescribe medications to treat it.