How To Stop Your Dog Being Territorial at Home

Territorial behaviour in dogs is quite common, with some pups seemingly convinced that they are the neighbourhood sheriff! However, it’s possible to effectively manage territorial behaviour in your dog. In this blog, we’ll dive into the reasons why your dog may see themselves as home security and how to gently show them they don’t always have to be on guard duty.

Signs of a Territorial Dog

Territorial behaviour in our canine friends can present itself in various ways. These might include:

  • Barking at people passing by your home
  • Growling at visitors
  • Protectiveness over certain spots in your home.
  • More intense signs could include lunging or snapping

What Causes a Dog to Be Territorial?

Barking, growling and the other territorial behaviours outlined above can be caused by a range of things. These include:


Territorial behaviour is natural, and for many dogs, their response is a result of their instincts kicking in. They behave the way they do in order to protect their home. This is the space that they feel the most comfortable in, and they don’t want it to be invaded.

Lack of Positive Exposure

Puppies and younger dogs who have not been positively and slowly exposed to people or strangers can develop more protective behaviours. Your dog does not need to meet lots of people in order for them to have a positive experience, but it is important for them to be able to see people and know that they are not a threat.

Fear or Anxiety

These negative emotions could be at the root of some dog’s territorial behaviour. Negative experiences in the past might have left your pup more on edge.

Unpredictable Environments

If your dog is unsure of what is happening in their surroundings, for example if you have moved or have work done on your house, this uncertainty in the environment could cause dogs to feel like they need to guard what resources they have.

Territorial Dog Breeds

Territorial behaviour can occur in any dog, but are some dog breeds predisposed to be more territorial than others? The answer to this question is yes, some breeds are naturally more inclined to guard their turf. Think German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers.

Having said this, all dogs can be territorial, especially if they are anxious or do not have positive behavioural outlets such as regular mental and physical stimulation.

Can a Dog Be Trained Not to Be Territorial?

Absolutely! Many dogs can learn to dial back their territorial instincts with the right approach and patience. It’s all about teaching them what to do and helping them feel secure. Let’s dive into the best way to go about this.

How Do I Stop My Dog Being Territorial?

While it’s possible to work on your dog’s territorial behaviour yourself at home, don’t shy away from consulting a qualified behaviourist straight away. Dog behaviour is complex, and it can be difficult to address behaviours effectively on your own.

If you’d like to try working with your dog to help manage their territorial behaviour at home, the following step-by-step guide is a great place to start:

Step 1: Firstly, identify what exactly triggers your dog’s territorial behaviour.

Step 2: Create a safe space away from triggers where your dog can feel secure.

Step 3: Work on increasing their exposure to their triggers in a safe and steady manner.

Step 4: Ensure positive things (favourite food or toy and lots of praise) happen when your dog sees or experiences their triggers.

Step 5: Try not to get angry or frustrated with your dog, remember that they are uncomfortable and need your support.

Top Tips for Preventing Territorial Behaviour in Dogs

  • Keep your cool. Your dog is likely to get upset if you are frustrated or angry.
  • Never punish your dog. It can make things worse. Stick with positive training methods like positive reinforcement using treats, toys and praise.
  • Don’t forget to invest time to meet your dog’s biological needs. Mental and physical enrichment, social time with you and fulfilling their need to chew and use their nose are all incredibly important.
  • Be consistent in your training and routines, anxious dogs can thrive on predictability.

Wrapping Up

It’s natural for dogs to feel a bit territorial, but it doesn’t have to be the status quo. Understanding why your dog might be behaving this way and gently guiding them with these steps can help you both enjoy a more peaceful home life. Remember, every dog is unique, so tweak these steps for your own dog – and when in doubt, professional advice is always a good call.

Struggling with your dog’s behaviour? Discover how Renee can elevate your wisdom and transform your relationship by visiting

Renee Rhoades MSc, dog behaviour expert for Animed Direct
About Renee Rhoades, MSc

Renee Rhoades, MSc, is a distinguished authority in canine behaviour and welfare, recognised for her unwavering commitment to improving the lives of both dogs and humans. The founder of R+Dogs, a virtual dog behaviour consultancy, Renee offers cutting-edge private coaching and online courses to dog guardians worldwide. Renee specialises in transforming fearful and high-energy dogs, addressing aggression, reactivity, generalised anxiety and hyperactivity.

Beyond client-focused coaching, Renee is also the co-host of DogLogical, a podcast dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of our dogs. In addition, she extends her expertise by mentoring fellow dog professionals, contributing to the growth and development of the industry.

Struggling with your dog’s behaviour? Discover how Renee can elevate your wisdom and transform your relationship by visiting