Understanding Canine Territorial Aggression

Understanding Canine Territorial Aggression

Dogs that suffer from inappropriate territorial aggression pose a danger to other animals and humans. The dog may bark, nip, pace or growl at the perceived threat. If the dog is unable to reach the object of his aggression he can exhibit displacement behavior and actually growl or bite at the human that holds the dog back or stands in its way.
A dog that exhibits territorial aggression often suffered from inadequate socialization when young. The aggressive attitude of the dog may also be a cover up for its own fears and insecurities.

An owner should avoid tying up a dog that has aggressive tendencies because restraining the dog often forces its behavior to become more erratic and frantic. Few dogs that make a fierce aggressive display will actually take on the intruder. The display is normally to scare the intruder away because in actuality the dog is afraid and hesitates to truly attack the intruder.

Never reach for the dog when it is aroused or stimulated because the dog may bite. Use a leash and collar to gain control over the dog. When the dog begins to act aggressively begin to divert its attention away from the intrusion.

Consider enrolling the dog in an obedience class to gain better control over the animal. Obedience classes will teach the dog to perform on command and divert its attention away from whatever he perceives to be an intruder. The dog will learn to focus on its owner. A dog that feels secure that its owner is the pack leader and is capable of taking on an intruder will be more relaxed and happier. The dog will feel that a load has been lifted from its shoulders and it will come to realize that it no longer has to protect its territory or pack because it will feel assured that the human pack leader will take care of any threat.

Food treats can also pull the dog’s attention away from its obsession. If the dog frantically growls and bark if it sees a car go by or hears the doorbell ring, consider giving the dog a treat to sidetrack its mind successfully.

The dog will soon come to associate an intrusion with a treat. Gradually, over time the dog will loose focus as it is driven by its need for a food treat. A favorite toy can also work if he dog adores playing fetch or some other game.

Never physically strike the dog. Try to remain calm and address the dog in a neutral voice.

Keep children or other pets away from any dog that begins to exhibit territorial aggression. The dog can easily become distracted and injure a child or smaller pets in the heat of the moment.

Sources:

http://www.animalhealthchannel.com/aggression/territorial.shtml

http://www.swiftcreekvet.com/resource/Behave/dogs/territory_aggr.htm

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