It feels nice when you know you’re safe.
Especially if your pooch is the reason why you’re feeling this way.
Going out on walks can be carefree.
You can even sleep at home without any worries.
But it can make you wonder, “Will my dog protect me?”
Read on to learn:
- 19 signs your dog is protective over you.
- If your dog’s protective behavior is based on our sex.
- The difference between being scared and showing protectiveness.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
- How do you know if a dog is protecting you?
- 19 signs your dog is protective over you
- #1: They are always on the lookout
- #2: They’ll stare at a suspicious object
- #3: They try to drag you away from danger
- #4: They’ll run around you
- #5: They sleep beside you
- #6: They are looking out the window
- #7: They stand over you
- #8: They sit behind you
- #9: They walk ahead of you
- #10: They try to alert you
- #11: They check on you when you sleep
- #12: They try to be as close as possible
- #13: They do the “warning bite”
- #13: They stay around while you eat
- #14: They only react when they see danger
- #15: They panic when you lie down
- #16: They bark when someone sits next to you
- #17: They sit in between your legs
- People also ask:
How do you know if a dog is protecting you?
You will know a dog is protecting you if they are always alert when you are together. Canines also have the tendency to run around to search for incoming danger. They will also show some aggression such as growling, snarling, and showing their teeth. Their eyes will also be fixed on the threat.
19 signs your dog is protective over you
#1: They are always on the lookout
Sometimes having a dog is like having your own security guard.
Well, they can’t pat everyone down to check for weapons.
But what your fur baby can do is check your surroundings and watch out for threats.
You’ll notice this when you are going out for a walk.
Or maybe even when you’re just chilling somewhere.
Especially if the place you’re in is somewhere unfamiliar to them.
Your pooch will also bark and snarl at things they might deem a threat to you.
“What can trigger this behavior in dogs?”
Here are examples of what your pooch might think are threats:
- Loud noises.
- Screeching tires of cars.
- Strangers walking up to you.
- Aggressive animals e.g. dogs.
- Creatures they see for the first time.
#2: They’ll stare at a suspicious object
Have you ever seen your pooch stop at something and just stare at it?
It’s like they’re hypnotized by any random object?
It could be that they’re just interested in it.
Or, they might see it as something that looks suspicious and can hurt you.
You’ll probably observe during walks – they’ll stop and investigate an object.
Sniffing around and walking around the “suspicious” thing is a pretty common behavior.
Even if the object they saw is just a few dried leaves.
Well, behavior like this can also stem from not being able to interact with the outside world.
“Really? How so?”
Dogs who haven’t socialized much will have the tendency to be fearful based on research.
The study says that bad behavior is lessened if your pooch is properly socialized.
Puppy preschools can help them greatly, too.
If you have a highly protective guard dog, they might need to be socialized well while young.
Examples of dog breeds are:
- Puli Dog.
- Great Dane.
- Fila Brasileiro.
- German Shepherd.
- Estrela Mountain Dog.
- Anatolian Shepherd Dog.
#3: They try to drag you away from danger
Have you ever had your pant leg pulled by your fur baby?
They might be trying to get your attention.
It can be caused mainly by fear of something.
Your fur baby wants to run away from it and protect themselves.
And if they are afraid, it’s natural for them to drag you to safety, too.
I mean, you are an important part of their lives and they want the best for you.
They’re so loving, right?
Now, if your pooch is a giant, they might pull you away quite easily.
It can be useful if you really are in danger.
And we’re grateful that our dogs care for and protect us.
However, if it already causes you injuries, then you might have to train them to follow vocal cues.
And make them stop pulling on you.
Here are a few commands you can train them for:
- “Stop it.”
- “Let go.”
- “Leave it.”
- “Drop that.”
With the right training and the use of positive reinforcement, you can get them to stop dragging you.
This way, if you aren’t in danger, you won’t have to deal with a dog eager to pull you.
#4: They’ll run around you
The quickest way a dog can shoo away danger is to run after them.
And this is what happens when they see something alarming for them.
Dogs usually bark while running around.
It’s a way for them to intimidate the danger.
Or alert you that you are not safe.
Some dogs even try to herd humans for their safety.
According to the AKC, this behavior has been passed down from their ancestors.
This is more prominent in herding dog breeds.
Because these types of canines are designed to control the movement of cattle.
And this includes keeping them safe from predators.
Even if there are no cattle in your home, they’ll still have the drive to herd you.
Examples of these dog breeds are:
- Border Collie.
- Belgian Malinois.
- Belgian Shepherd.
- German Shepherd.
- Old English Sheepdog.
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
Even toy dogs have been known to still have this herding behavior.
When fur parents try to throw a plaything across the room, they have the tendency to go catch it.
Just like how herding dogs run after predators.
Further reading: 13 Reasons Why Your Dog Walks in Circles Around You + Tips
#5: They sleep beside you
Ever felt the warmth of a fur baby resting by your side?
Yeah, I know the feeling. I love it too when they snuggle with me.
To the eyes of someone who doesn’t have a dog, this might be normal behavior.
But for us fur parents, we know there is something else going on.
Our fur babies sleep beside us because they trust us.
Resting is one of the times when someone is most vulnerable.
All your senses are dulled down and you can’t see threats coming towards you.
Your pooch knows this, too.
Even they won’t sleep with people who they don’t trust.
Your dog doesn’t want to be exposed to attackers.
And in the same way, they don’t want you to be in danger, too.
This is why you’ll often see them jump on your bed and sleep with you.
They’ll act as your guardian when you go off to dreamland.
And don’t be shocked if they sleep beside you every night, too.
It’s just their way of showing they care.
Just make sure that you keep them clean when you let them sleep beside you.
Especially if they get on top of your bed.
And I don’t mean to clean them from outside dirt.
Based on research, people who are always exposed to dogs will have changes in their skin.
Not necessarily bad – but your dog’s microbiota will impact yours.
Simply speaking, the microbiota is the community of microorganisms.
In your body, these can include the following:
If your pooch picked up something from the outside.
It can affect your and your family’s health.
And this works both ways, too.
Check out also: 15 Amazing Reasons Why Your Dog Sleeps On Your Bed + 9 Tips
#6: They are looking out the window
Your pooch may look like they’re being dramatic when they stare outside.
But sometimes, they’re just trying to watch for those who pass by.
You can see them try to follow passing cars with their eyes.
Maybe even bark once or twice… or hundreds of times at other dogs.
A squirrel is another thing that makes your pooch go crazy.
This behavior is pretty normal for dogs.
Especially if they look at your home as something important.
It’s like their own territory that needs to be defended.
And everyone inside, including you, should be protected.
Just look at this fur baby running and barking outside:
Your mailman might even experience this regularly.
Even your close friends who would ring the doorbell will be barked at.
#7: They stand over you
Some people would look at this as a dog trying to be dominant.
This can’t be farther from the truth.
According to Dr. Horwitz, wolves do not have a hierarchy in their packs.
And this rings true in the relationships of their successors – your fur baby.
There is no proof that a dog would try to pin you down in an attempt to be “above” you.
But, as part of their pack, their protection will always be there for you.
And this might be the case when your pooch stands over you.
Look at their expressions.
Are their eyes wide and seems like they’re searching for something?
Do you see your fur baby’s ears twitching?
These are all indicators that your pooch is trying to protect you.
You might also be interested in: 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Stands Over You + 5 Tips
#8: They sit behind you
Ever heard the phrase, “Having eyes at the back of your head?”
Well now because you have a loving and protective dog, you do have them.
Maybe not yours, but still will lookout for danger.
And are going to be a whole lot fluffier than you.
Your dog will sometimes try to sit behind you.
You’ll notice this when you’re out.
At the park for a little bit of exercise?
When you rest, your pooch might sit behind you to try and watch out for suspicious people.
Your fur baby will even do this at home.
“Really? But shouldn’t they feel safe here?”
A little unfamiliar sound can make your dog run and protect you.
And when they do, they usually look around for threats.
Notice the location of where your dog sits.
Can they see the doors?
Are they able to peep out the window?
If yes, then, they most likely are being protective.
#9: They walk ahead of you
Ever seen how actors have guards that slightly push people away when they walk?
With the amount of paparazzi and potential harm, they need to be protective.
Sometimes going over the top.
But that’s how VIPs usually are treated.
And to you fur baby?
Well, you’re the most important person ever.
After all, your hands give out treats and provide belly rubs.
Kidding aside, your pooch does this because they love you.
That’s why they’ll try and investigate the surroundings when you are out.
Trail hiking would be a little bit delayed due to all the sniffing around.
Their curiosity could’ve caused this behavior.
But behind their being investigative is a drive to protect you.
Check out next: 7 Reasons Why Your Dog Walks In Front Of You + 5 Tips
#10: They try to alert you
Whenever your dog sees a potential threat, they do their best to get you away from it,
And they won’t be able to do this if they don’t let you know about it first.
One of the most common ways they do this is through barking.
Dogs aren’t called man’s best friend for nothing.
It’s best to check what they’re barking at.
You could really be in danger and they are going to prevent it by alerting you.
However, it can get frustrating listening to your dog bark all day long.
Especially if you already checked and confirmed there is no imminent danger nearby.
“Yes, I feel this way sometimes. What can I do to help lessen this?”
Well, you can try and manage your dog’s surroundings.
Take note of the things that trigger their fear that causes barking.
And minimize their exposure to it.
You can start by doing the following simple tips:
- Close the curtains so they won’t see what’s outside.
- Put privacy films on your glass panels. Here’s one from Amazon: Coavas Privacy Window Film.
- Keep them occupied with activities and toys as much as you can.
- Avoid giving them pets and rubs when they bark. These can be seen as rewards for the behavior. And they will repeat it over and over.
#11: They check on you when you sleep
Ever wanted to have a real-life guardian angel?
How about a fluffy one that licks you?
Well, you already have one in your home.
They won’t check your good deeds but will ask for treats and belly rubs regularly
And with the way they act, full of love and care, they truly are angels.
Makes one wonder, “Do dogs go to heaven?”
And because they are heaven-sent, they always will be watching you.
Even when you go to sleep.
They go to you and make sure that there is nothing that will harm you.
According to PetMD, dogs sleep about 50% of the time.
So in a day, they can be napping for around 12 hours.
They do not have the same timeframe of sleep like you.
That’s why there will be times when you’re getting the shut-eye but your pooch is awake.
You’ll probably notice them breathing and pacing around your bed.
But they do this to check the surroundings and make sure nothing dangerous is present.
#12: They try to be as close as possible
Do you have a pooch that just won’t leave your sight?
One can easily think that they’re just being clingy.
And maybe your dog really is feeling this way.
After all, they love you and want to be around you most of the time.
They might even try and go in with you when you go to the bathroom.
But don’t worry if your pooch is trying to get very close to you.
This is pretty normal behavior in dogs.
However, another reason why they do this, is because they’re protecting you.
Kind of a weird way of doing it, but it also makes sense.
I mean, it would be easier for them to fend off attackers if they are present.
Here are some ways they’d try to get close to you:
As long as there won’t be any health and injury risk while your pooch does these, it’s okay.
#13: They do the “warning bite”
You may have noticed this when someone they don’t trust tries to “hurt” you.
I put quotation marks because there might be times when you play fight with someone.
Like a friendly punch to the arm or even a fun wrestle with a sibling.
And when your dog sees this, they might read it as something that would hurt you.
And because of this, they would have the tendency to bite the other person.
Well, not the kind that would injure.
It’s going to be more like saying, “Hey, if you don’t stop that, I’ll hurt you.”
We really can’t communicate to our dogs that what happened was just you having fun.
However, what we can do is to train them and expose them more to these situations.
It’s likely that a dog that does this often lacks socialization.
And is therefore not knowledgeable that humans do this.
Warning: Dogs who aren’t socialized properly tend to be aggressive in old age. Newly adopted dogs may also have the tendency to be overly protective.
This can lead to injuries and wounds. So always be on the lookout for signs that your dog is already pissed off.
These will be helpful if you are still in the process of training your fur baby.
Here are a few of them:
- Erect ears.
- Snapping their mouths.
- Low-range barking and snarling.
- Showing a stiff tail that moves sideways.
Try and pacify your pooch if you see these.
And keep them away from the person that agitated them before something happens.
#13: They stay around while you eat
Eating, much like resting, is also an activity that opens you up to attacks.
At least that’s what your dog thinks.
When your pooch is having their meals they are usually focused on the food itself.
They don’t have protection on their back.
And that may be the reason why dogs get jumpy when you touch them from behind.
Especially while they’re eating.
Some furbabies might not be used to it and get aggressive and show possessiveness.
They are thinking that you’re trying to take their food and therefore need to guard it.
Your pooch might think you feel this way, too.
And that makes them want to guard you while you’re eating.
As a member of their pack, you’ll be a recipient of their protection.
Well, that’s one reason that they stay around when you’re eating.
Aside from the occasional treats they get from your plate, too.
#14: They only react when they see danger
This one’s for fur parents who have dogs with mellow characters.
The kind that would probably be stolen when a stranger picks them up.
Because they’re too friendly.
When your pooch suddenly growls and snarls at someone, this is them protecting you.
This doesn’t mean just any stranger. Or anyone who touches you.
It’s when someone does something that’s really suspicious such as:
- A person runs towards you.
- Someone takes your things.
- An individual screams at you and your dog sees you reacting negatively e.g. crying.
All these can make dogs, even those that are usually “chill” react in a protective manner.
And when they only do this when there’s real imminent danger, that’s how you know they’re guarding you.
It’s not just a behavioral problem.
#15: They panic when you lie down
Lying down can look a lot like getting injured.
Especially to a dog who doesn’t fully understand the situation.
It can stress the dog out and make them think something bad has happened to you.
They might look at it as if you:
- Have been badly injured.
- Experiencing psychological issues.
- Other health-related problems could be dangerous if not addressed immediately.
This is more likely to happen if you have a service dog in your home.
Since they are trained to keep you safe in health emergencies like these.
#16: They bark when someone sits next to you
This behavior is closely related to resource guarding.
It’s when fur babies get too protective with those they see as important.
In the wild, dogs’ ancestors didn’t have much.
They had to hunt and travel for days just to find shelter.
Food and water were scarce and when they did have some, other animals might take it.
The only thing they can do is protect it with their life.
And sometimes, this over-protection of resources can transfer to you.
What I mean is, your dog sees you as an important person in their life.
And they don’t want anyone “stealing” you away from them.
Your pooch could bark at anyone – family members, friends, even other pets.
It could also be a behavior that stems from being jealous.
Research shows that dogs exhibit signs of jealousy if you play with other canines.
Ever wondered why your pooch barks when you pet another dog?
They’re just trying to protect you from getting stolen from them
#17: They sit in between your legs
This is similar to #12.
A dog sitting in between their fur parents feet is another way for them to show love.
And this can mean they’re protecting you, too.
It’s a sign that your dog shows to the world that you belong to them.
They might even be doing this to rub their scent on you.
And make other dogs know you already belong to a pack.
People also ask:
Is my dog protecting me or scared?
Your dog is protecting you if they show their guarding abilities and scared if you can see signs of fear.
Scared dogs will most likely show different behavior than the ones listed.
Examples of these would be:
- Hiding behind you.
- Shaking or trembling.
- Tucking their tail between their hind legs.
Although, they can still growl and bark at the threat.
But if it’s mixed with the listed behaviors, then they’re most likely scared.
Why is my dog suddenly protective of me?
Your dog is suddenly protective of you because they might have smelled problems in your body.
Ones that negatively affect your health.
Dogs’ noses are incredible enough to sniff out diseases and other abnormalities.
And if you are currently experiencing a health issue, your pooch might notice it first.
Are (male) dogs more protective of female owners?
Dogs are usually more protective of their female owners.
It could be because their fur parent (female) is carrying a baby.
They’ll notice it and be more protective of them.
Another reason might not have anything to do with the gender of the fur parent.
It’s just that generally speaking, women have softer voices and are better caretakers.
Note: This isn’t true for everyone. There are also men who know how to take good care of their fur babies.