Why Does My Dog Only Misbehaves When I’m Around

As much as you love your dog, he’s a little crazy sometimes, especially when you are with him. He has some bad habits that drive you crazy at times.

He’s very protective of you and will bark at anyone that comes near you when he is with you. He is also very aggressive towards other dogs that approach you in a dog park or people that greet you along the street.

At times, he will even mouth your hands and legs or jump on you when he sees you. I guess he is trying to get your attention.

You’ve learned to ignore his mouthing, because if you pay attention to him, he’ll just keep mouthing you.

This makes you wonder why your dog only misbehaves when you are with him?

Let’s find out in this post.

Your dog’s behavior may be due to fear, insecurity, or a need to assert dominance. He may also be acting possessive because he sees you as part of his pack and feels the need to protect you. Separation anxiety or a lack of attention could also be causing this behavior. Additionally, excess energy can make him restless.

He Is Trying to Possess You

A dog’s possessive behavior can be a sign of fear, insecurity, or dominance. 

Dogs with this problem are more likely to:

  • Nip at hands that try to take their toys or food away from them (possessive of their properties).
  • Put their paws up on your lap (demonstrate his dominance).
  • Try to get in between you and others (being possessive of you).
  • And may even be aggressive toward your family and other pets in the house (sense of insecurity).

Some suggestions to help your dog overcome this disorder will be as followed:

1. Avoid petting or grooming your dog if he seems possessive. This will only strengthen his feelings of ownership over you.

2. Do not give in to his demands for attention, food, or love.

3. Never allow your dog to stand on your lap or lie on top of you.

4. Be firm with him when he growls or barks. Don’t back down when he is being aggressive. If he’s aggressive toward your family or other animals, correct him immediately. Don’t let him get away with this behavior as it will only make him feel that this behavior is okay.

5. Make sure your dog has regular physical and mental exercise as that will keep his energy in check.

6. Start him on an obedience training program to teach him how to be a well-behaved, obedient pet. Don’t forget to reward him with treats and praise for good behavior. The goal of the training is to make him see you as his Alpha and be submissive to you.

7. Bring him to a dog park or playgroup for socialization once he has learned to follow your commands. 

8. Finally, make sure that you are always aware of your dog’s needs and that he has plenty of attention. This will help him feel loved and secure. 

It’s important to be able to read your dog’s body language such as whether his body is stiff or relaxed, ears pulled back or put down, tails holding high up or curled up, to understand his emotion.

Dogs don’t always mean what they say through vocalization such as barking and whining.

The most important thing you can do is to provide your dog with a secure and positive relationship. If you can do that, your dog will begin to trust you, and develop a trusting relationship with you.

If you are willing to put in the time and energy, you can do much to change your dog’s possessive behavior.

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He Is Overly Protective of You

A dog that is overprotective of you may seem to be misbehaving himself. He is alerting you to every situation that he believes to be dangerous by exhibiting aggressiveness towards anyone or anything that he perceives as a potential threat.

This can happen anywhere (in the house or out in public places) when you are with him.

If you want an overprotective dog to behave less aggressively, then you need to train him, and make sure that he recognizes you as the leader of his pack.

Only when he perceives you as his Alpha, he then relinquishes his protective duty and be submissive to you.

Separation Anxiety Leads to Possessive Behavior

Leaving your dog alone for long periods of time can cause him to develop separation anxiety and show signs of possessiveness when he sees you again because he does not want you to leave without his “consent”.

It is because of this that you will feel he is misbehaving when you are around as he jumps on you, mouths you, and cries for attention.

He is just showing signs of being possessive and wanting you to stay with him even if you have to go away for a short while.

Separation anxiety can cause dogs to become possessive of their owners and want them to always be with them.  

There are several things you can do to help your dog overcome separation anxiety and possessiveness towards you:

1. You need to make sure that he is fed properly and that he has access to water. 

2. He will also need to have a calm environment to live in, so make sure that the house is quiet and dim, but not too dark.

3. Also, preparing a crate for him to retreat to when he is feeling anxious will be a wise move. Leave some chewing toys in the crate to keep him busy when you are not around.

4. Make him see you as his Alpha through obedience training. This will make him learn that you are not his “property”.

5. Gradually built up his confidence to be alone through positive reinforcement training.

To make your dog feel at ease, it is essential to meet his basic needs (food, safety, and shelter).

You Have Been Neglecting Him

Most dogs will not misbehave when you are around, but sometimes if you are paying more attention to something else than to them, they might.  

If you are busy with your work or with your phone, then you will notice that your dog will be behaving differently.

He is trying to get your focus back on him by misbehaving himself, such as mouthing your hands or jumping on you.

Dogs are sensitive and social animals, and they need lots of love and attention. They thrive on attention, and will do anything to get it.

If you are not giving him the affection that your dog is craving for, he will try all means to get it!

You see, your dog has no way of knowing whether he is using the right or wrong method to get your attention. It’s clear to him that any behavior that gets your attention will be worthwhile.

And to you, that could mean that he is misbehaving himself when he is with you.

So, don’t ignore your dog when you are at home. Allocate adequate time to play with him, take him for walks, or just sit beside him and give him a good stroking.

This will improve your relationship with him and build his trust in you.

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A Behavior That He Finds To Be Rewarding

Did you give your dog immediate attention whenever he starts to misbehave, such as chewing on your shoes, clothing, bedding, furniture or mouthing your hand?

If you have been “acknowledging” him for his misbehavior, that explains why you will find your dog keeps performing these annoying acts whenever you are with him.

You have indirectly told him that you “love” seeing him performing these behaviors through rewarding him with your attention.

And as you know, dogs love to please their owners, and they will do whatever they can to make you happy.

So, if you want your dog to stop doing these annoying things, stop rewarding him with your attention whenever he does them. This is the easiest way to prevent your dog from repeating that annoying behavior.  

Reacting to your dog’s behavior should be done with caution. You should only reinforce positive behavior. Be sure to reward your dog whenever he behaves well and do it with consistency.

The goal of the training is to make your dog associate certain DESIRABLE behaviors with positive feelings and, as a result, he will love to perform them more frequently.

Excessive Energy in His Body Makes Him Restless

Did your dog get to run around in the yard, playing games such as fetch, tug-of-war and chasing bubbles and have his daily walk in the dog parks.

These routine activities are essential to helping your dog release his pent-up energy in his body and maintain a healthy mind.

If you are keeping your dog in the house for most of his time, it’s of no wonder why he starts to misbehave when he sees you back home. There is no outlet for him to release his pent-up energy.

He is trying to get you to play with him or to take him out for a walk in the neighborhood. 

This is especially true if your dog is an active dog breed such as Poodle, German Shepherd and Russell Terrier who are all known for their high activity level.

The amount of exercise a dog needs depends on his age, breed, size, and overall health. As a general rule, your dog should spend 30 minutes to 2 hours a day being active.

Just as a human being needs to be socialized, your dog needs to be socialized too. Taking him to a dog park will allow him to interact with other animals and people. A dog park is a great place for both your dog and you to have fun.

The more your dog is socialized, the happier he will be. This will help to make him a well-mannered dog, and he will not misbehave around you, your family members or other animals.

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