Reasons For Possessive Aggression In Dogs And How To Stop It

Possessive aggression is the tendency of the dogs to mete out some hostility to anyone who dares cross its path whenever it is holding onto anything that it considers valuable or novel. Whereas this behavior is somewhat normal even with humans, it may escalate to dangerous levels if not mitigated in time.

That is why you inevitably, as a dog owner, know the reasons behind it and how to stop the same from happening. We are here to help you out. In the discussions that follow, we shall lay bare the reasons as well as the steps to take to be able to achieve this awesome end.

Reasons For Possessive Aggression

Possessive aggression has several causes. Below are but a few of them identified and explained:

Shelter Dog Syndrome

Dogs that are bred and cared for in shelters tend to be more possessive aggressive than their counterparts that grow under normal circumstances. With prolonged isolation comes the feeling of being unique or insecure. Each time a person other than the caretaker comes, the dog feels as if its possession is to be denied.

That calls for some vigilance on your part. You have to see to it that you expose your dogs to the open environments and keep them away from all harms that may be meted out against it or predispose it to quite a number of the associated risks that be.

The arrival of a Competitor

When another dog or household pet arrives at the scene where the dog is, this arrival might trigger some aggressive tendencies. The dog will usually view the new entrant as a distractor or someone that is hell-bent on denying them the comfort that is truly deserved.

In such a case, you have to introduce the new entrant slowly and steadily. That will help the dog to get accustomed to it. If possible, refrain from doing so altogether if you have sufficient reason to believe that the said entity can pose some adverse harm to the dogs altogether.

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Acquired Behavior

This behavior to some extent is acquired in the sense that dogs easily mimic and pick it from their peers. While it is inevitable, the behavior may be slowed down nonetheless. Identify any dogs or persons who are likely to predispose your dog to this behavior first and foremost.

Proceed to separate them appropriately by way of putting in place measures that are aimed at preventing the two from mingling freely. On the same note, also find ways of teaching your dog the good ethics that are meant to help it share the little it has with others.

Poor Mitigation Techniques or Approaches

In some instances, the techniques you use may be the ones to blame for this menace. If you use the wrong technique to push through your mitigation, chances are that you might even worsen the situation, let alone mitigate it as need be. In particular, you have to stay away from any aggressive techniques.

These will only tend to breed similarly aggressive techniques that are quite detrimental to the health and wellbeing of your dogs at large. Instead, maintain some calmness and overall great confidence while engaging your dogs all the while. That will go a long way in allaying the fears and psychological problems.


Genetics has also been noted to play a role insofar as bringing up or escalating this issue is concerned. Some breeds have been noted to be predisposed to this menace than the others. Examples of these are the Broder Collies, Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Jack Russells, and the Rottweilers.

You have to prepare yourself psychologically if you have these dogs in your possession. That may include taking appropriate steps to incorporate an expert dog trainer and veterinarian to help you out. He is to guide you all along in your pursuits and engagements all the while.

How to stop Possessive Aggression

We now examine how to stop this behavior altogether.

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Consult a Professional Trainer

Your first line of defense should be to consult a professional dog trainer to help you out. As we have noted this behavior may escalate if not mitigated in time. A trained expert has the skillset needed to make your dogs exercise well. You have to adhere to their instructions and manuals well.

This may of course demand that you dig deeper into your pockets to afford it. Fret not because the benefits that come along almost always far outweigh the costs of training. Also, exercise some patience as you go about it for maximum impacts and overall outcomes.

Minimize the Exposure to Precious Items

As explained above, dogs are most often jealous of precious items. You have to take deliberate steps and measures to keep these items away from the dogs altogether. That will also minimize the likelihood of this issue arising and the dangers that ordinarily come by.

Accompany this by introducing to your dogs that are less valuable and will hardly attract too much attention and the menace of possessive aggressiveness. These could be common everyday items that are ignored by people and are hardly likely to elicit too much attention. They slow down the appetite of the dogs to be hostile as well.

Attempt the Multi-step Conditioning Approach

While acquainting your dog with something new, you are highly advised to attempt and adopt the multi-step conditioning approach. This is a slow and meticulous approach that introduces your dog to the new place, process or technique in bits. It, in doing so, minimizes the strains that the dogs may have to endure.

In doing that, the approach also wards off the strains and the confusion that do arise whenever your dog has to change its regime. Have we also stated that it keeps your dog off of the stress that grips it all the while of engagement?

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Institute a Punishment-reward Mechanism

Dogs love treats and abhor punishments. As a way of helping them to overcome this behavior, you should also think of instituting a punishment-reward mechanism in place. Simply put: punish the dog for behaving properly and reward it for doing good. This way, you will register some patterns in its head.

Each time it contemplates exuding possessive aggressiveness, it will think of the punishments that await it. On the flip side, it will be more than eager to do that which is right as it knows that at the tail end of it all, it shall surely reap that which is awesome.

Inculcate the “leave” and “give” commands

Lastly, consider also putting in place a favorable command regime that is basically aimed at teaching your dog to refrain from the behavior while at the same time strive to do that which is good. The commands have to be simple and easier to remember. They should also relate to common everyday applications.

This will easily and faster draw the connections and let your dogs memorize them too soon! As is the norm with many other commands, you have to maintain a proper training schedule to be able to accrue the necessary outcomes and long-term memorialization.


Just to reiterate a subtle point, this issue of dog aggression may often escalate to strenuous levels if left untouched or handled well within the proper timeframe. That is why urge you not to let things fall haywire or get too complicated. In fact, start reversing the problem right away.

Also, it is normally a great thing to talk to trained medical experts and veterinarians. These are people who have the skill and the expertise you might need to handle your dogs well. As a bonus, you should also spread the news as far wide as you probably can. Help others care for their dogs well!

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