People guarding can occur in all dogs. The dog views the owner as their world and can act like jealous children if their owner touches or interacts with another dog, or even another person.
What does it look like?
- Running over and pushing another dog/person away with their body if you try to interact with another dog or human, or them with you.
- Keeping a short distance from you and blocking another dog/person from approaching you.
- Growling at another dog/person if your dog is sat with you and you touch another person/dog.
- Snapping, lunging at or fighting with another dog, snapping at, or biting a person if they come in close contact with you.
People guarding can be managed if it is not serious, but it can be difficult. We avoid adopting to homes with people-guarding dogs as it is very stressful for both dogs involved, and for you and if not managed, it can easily escalate into a bigger problem. Dog's that have lived as only dogs for a good portion of their lives can people guard, and dogs that used to live with another dog, but the dog has passed away can also begin to people guard as the human and the home are now solely theirs. Some Rommies have been known to people guard as you become the main thing in their lives and they donw want to share.
What can I do if I notice people guarding in the home?
- Do not draw attention to it and do not panic
- Do not tell the dog off or punish the dog
- Keep an eye on both dogs body language - is one dog suddenly stiff? Can you see whale eye? Are they beginning to bare teeth?
- If so, stand up. Do not talk to either dog, touch either dog or fuss either dog
- Leave the room, if one dog tries to follow you, shut the door after you and wait for ten seconds
- Return to the room and sit back down, do not speak to the dogs, touch or fuss them. Continue what you were doing before
- If the dog's begin again, repeat the above process
You may find that you need to leave the room 5 times, or even 10 times before the dogs settle down and get the message. What they're learning is that if they begin to guard you from one another they lose out on your attention.
Don't feel bad if you need to separate the dogs at points. One dog can be outside away from the other for a while if they need to be.
If you are struggling, please speak to the trainers for support. For people guarding from people, also speak to the trainers.