We all want our dogs to have happy, healthy and fulfilling lives. You may not realize that your dog needs continual training to achieve that perfect life. Why is that fact true? A dog that is confused as to who is in charge may make decisions based on their breed instincts. The need to defend and protect an owner may prevail when it’s not needed. Some instances can include: A stranger is approaching you on a walk and a dog lunges as if to say “stay away”, you have a repairman in your house or delivery person making a delivery. This can cause some dogs to go into defense mode. With certain breeds this need to serve and protect is especially apparent.

German Shepard, Malanois, Rottweiler, Doberman, Akita, Mastiff, Staffordshire to name a few are breeds that routinely are used for protection. They have a natural instinct to for it so training them to be protective can come easier. Of course, any of the above breeds can be taught when not to be protective. If you own one of these breeds, do yourself a favor and don’t leave it to chance and wait for problems to occur. We all know someone who has owned that gentle giant that has displayed no desire to be in charge. This is the dogs personality shining through and of course is another factor. Not all dogs will just become protective.

Confusion as to the dogs’ role or job is what leads to poor behavior. When a dog clearly doesn’t know it isn’t suppose to bark at the windows, growl at strangers or lunge on a walk and thinks it is okay and even desirable. The owner gets excited and yells, the dog is excited and barks, it all seem to be in unison.

Training can shut down behavior before it even starts. Don’t chase the behavior instead get in front of it. That means at the first sight of arousal in your dog, you shut it down. You see your dogs’ ears go up at the sight of another dog and know what it leads to. This is the time to address the excitement. Not when the dog is full out barking and lunging…… you missed your prime opportunity.  It will now be harder for your dog to hear anything you say due to their over excitement.

Teaching obedience will help make your dog a friendly, well-behaved companion.  This doesn’t mean your dog won’t be protective if needed in the middle of the night. Most dogs regardless of breed will make plenty of noise when startled and surprised. I know mine do!