Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the Instagram post cited below.
Something many dog parents will have encountered at one point or another is territorial behavior.
Some dogs might bark at passersby or people who come to the door, while others might be possessive or territorial over things like furniture, toys, or the best dog treats.
Territorial behavior in dogs is a survival instinct, and it's one that they would have needed to survive many years ago. But pet dogs today don’t need such behaviors – and they can be frightening for their parents, or even dangerous.
Fortunately, however, if your dog is territorial over blankets and furniture, there are things you can do. Trainer Ruben Montes of Kindred Dog PDX in Portland, Oregon, has outlined some advice in a recent Instagram post.
A photo posted by on
“This is a pretty common problem in households,” says Montes. “Dog objects to being moved. They snarl, lunge, bite, the human moves away and then they are rewarded by the pressure being removed.”
He shows that you can try using a recall to remove your dog from something they’re territorial over, like a blanket or a piece of furniture, as they can’t guard something they’re away from.
He explains that it can take time for your dog to learn the recall command, but it’s worth keeping your patience with it. “It removes the dog from the object, and then gives you the ability to fold the blankets – you know, whatever it is that you need to do, in a pretty non-confrontational way.
“And practice over time. This actually starts to show your dog that ‘Hey, look, I’m actually in control of these things and I can move you if I need to’.
“It’s not to be mean or to be a dictator of sorts – it’s just a fact. You’re the dog, I’m the human, and I might need to move you from time to time."
He says in the post’s caption that if you’re experiencing territorial behavior from your dog, and they don’t yet have a strong recall, you may want to put a leash on them. Then, you can simply grab the leash and get them to leave the bed, or blanket, or sofa.
Other things you may want to try in the meantime include making the piece of furniture inaccessible to your dog, perhaps by putting something on it when it’s not in use. Or, if they like sleeping on a particular chair or blanket, try to make their own sleeping area more appealing. Try buying an even comfier dog bed, and giving them plenty of treats when they’re in it.
It’s important to remember, too, that not all dogs are the same. Some can be more territorial than others. Your dog’s breed might be a factor, but even individual dogs belonging to the same breed can vary in how much they show territorial behaviors.
And if you'd like to learn more about recall, here are three reasons why your dog’s recall isn’t reliable (and what you can do about it).
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Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.