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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I am a somewhat new dog owner. We found Leo as a puppy outside of our house about 2 years ago. He's a great dog and learned quickly to have inside manners etc. We do have a serious problem that has started to develop. He is extremely overprotective of me. It could be that it's because I work from home all day, but I am unsure.

Anytime my wife or our cats approach me, he gets aggressive and tries to stand in the middle of me and whatever is coming close to me. For example, my wife came to give me a kiss before she left for work and he ran into the middle and made a light growl.

My wife and I are trying to have a baby and I'm concerned about the future with him here in the home at this point. We really love him, as he is super sweet on all other occasions and we want to keep him in the family, but we need some help with this issue before it gets out of control.

Thank you, Leo
 

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It sounds like a form of resource guarding and you are the resource.

I've had very limited experience with dealing with resource guarding but, fortunately, there are users here with more experience that can probably offer some suggestions. My understanding is that it can be a complex behavioral issue.
 

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Cat-dog, GSD spayed female and Tornado-dog, JRT mix, neutered male
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Talk to your vet and see if they have a recommendation for a certified behaviorist. As you are talking about having kids, it is better to go straight to a professional rather than try to work through it on your own.
 
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Resource guarding people is probably the trickiest kind of resource guarding to deal with. I do recommend the book Mine! by Jean Donaldson, as it's a great resource about the hows and whys of resource guarding and what you can do about it. I second the suggestion to get a professional evaluation of the situation if you can. In the meantime, I'd be setting up pens or baby gates so you can limit the dog's access to spaces where you and your wife tend to spend time together. This will help prevent him from practicing the behavior until you can talk to someone.

Here's an article on general resource guarding from another well respected canine behaviorist, Dr. Patricia McConnell - it focuses primarily on resource guarding objects, but it might give you some ideas about where to begin:

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Resource guarding people is probably the trickiest kind of resource guarding to deal with. I do recommend the book Mine! by Jean Donaldson, as it's a great resource about the hows and whys of resource guarding and what you can do about it. I second the suggestion to get a professional evaluation of the situation if you can. In the meantime, I'd be setting up pens or baby gates so you can limit the dog's access to spaces where you and your wife tend to spend time together. This will help prevent him from practicing the behavior until you can talk to someone.

Here's an article on general resource guarding from another well respected canine behaviorist, Dr. Patricia McConnell - it focuses primarily on resource guarding objects, but it might give you some ideas about where to begin:

Thank you, I appreciate the response. The baby gate idea sounds good! We also located a canine behaviorist that is seeing him this week. Thx all for responses!
 
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