While some dogs who guard people are doing it for a living (think dogs specifically trained to deter anyone who touches their person), most of the dogs I meet with this issue are freelancing. Some of them park themselves on their owner's lap and growl at an approaching spouse or child. Others, block their humans from approaches, positioning themselves so that no one can touch or get near them. Some of these dogs can be called off, meaning if their person tells them it's okay or sends them to their place, for example, they do so, no escalation required. Others are not easily swayed and won't move when asked, instead choosing to stand their ground, willing to escalate if they feel challenged. These dogs are risky to own because their owners need to be more vigilant and more restrictive about the situations they put their dogs into. It's not funny nor cute; it's a behavior to be discouraged as it could result in a bite for which you will be held liable. While you may think your spouse (or your kids) won't sue you if your dog bites them, bites still have to be reported to Animal Control if the person who has been bitten sees a doctor for their injury. This could result in fines or worse. If your dog bites strangers, people approaching you on walks, making deliveries to your home, or working on your property, then you could be held liable, particularly if you knew your dog had resource guarding issues with regard to you.
So, what specifically can you do if you know your dog is guarding you? First off, don't reinforce the behavior. If they are sitting near you or on your lap and someone approaches you, get them off of your lap/away from you and approach the person yourself. If the dog tries to get between you and that person, barking at that person or worse, remove the dog for a time out so the behavior doesn't escalate. If your dog behaves aggressively toward approaching people working on your property or guests in your home, then you need to confine them with something fun to do while visitors are there. Don't hesitate to use crates, leashes, and even muzzles, if necessary, to ensure that your dog doesn't hurt anyone while they are protecting you.
Owning a protection dog is a huge responsibility. The people I know with professionally trained protection dogs know this and care for them like you would a loaded firearm or an expensive automobile. They don't let just anyone handle their dogs, and they make sure the dogs are only protecting them when asked to do so. When they are off duty, they are off duty. Professional guard dogs learn to have on/off switches while our pet dogs who resource guard us don't have such clear boundaries and their behavior can be unpredictable.
As always, if you have questions about your pet's behavior, you know where to find me.
He's a pretty nice dog. Unless you try to hug or touch his owner.
Then he's a snarling/snapping 12 lbs. of lunging fur and teeth.