Territorial Aggression in Dogs
What is Territorial Aggression?
It is normal for dogs to guard their territory (your home or house) and hoarding resources, such as food, toys, or any other object that he values. That is called territorial aggression. Dog breeds with strong territorial aggression make the best guard dog. They will bark and even attack any unfamiliar person or animal that invades their perceived territory.
Some territorial behaviors, such as alerting you when there is a potential threat are good. But some are less useful. Things like urine marking don’t help pet parents in any way. Urine marking can even cause yellow spots in your beautiful green lawn. Most territorial dogs also have the potential of being aggressive even when they get out of the yard. They can become overstimulated and attack strangers even when you are walking them outdoor.
If you are looking for a companion, not a guard, you should avoid dog breeds with this trait. Pet parents should always research before getting a new pet. That can help reduce the chances of returning the dog to the shelter and animal abuse.
Tips for Reducing Territorial Aggression in Dogs
If you already own a dog but don’t like him barking or sometimes biting whatever or whoever invades his territory, here are some tips for managing territorial dogs. These tips will help reduce territorial aggression in your dog, but if you feel that your dog is a potential threat to himself or your family, you should call a vet for professional help right away.
1. Obedience Training
Dogs with a solid foundation of obedience training are easy to manage and control. Basic obedience training troubleshoots most behavior problems in dogs. You can train your dog on your own or get help from a professional dog trainer.
If you opt to train your dog on your own, you should start with the basics. Basic commands like come, sit, stay, watch me, and walk are the foundation of all dog obedience training. Once your dog masters these commands, you can keep your dog calm when someone knocks on your door. All you need is to command your dog to stay or sit where it is, and if the dog is already barking, you can stop that by just saying Stop.
During obedience training, you should also focus on helping your dog develop strong recall skills. Train your dog to come every time you call, no matter the environment. Strong Recall skills can help keep your dog out of trouble.
If your dog has already been through basic obedience training, a refresher will help you bond and improve his behavior. Having a five-minute session of obedience training every day and rewarding positive behavior is the best option.
2. Physical Exercise
Regular physical exercise is vital in territorial dogs. They tend to be less aggressive when they are physically tired. Many dogs opt to take a nap after physical exercise because they are tired. All you need is to find exercises that you like, and your dog is willing to join you. That can be a game of fetch, swimming, a run alongside your bicycle, or a good jog. Remember, regular exercise with your canine can help you keep fit and lower the risk of diseases.
3. Brain Exercise
Keeping your dog’s mind busy can help improve his behavior. You can teach him new tricks to challenge his brain. Trick training exercises such as scenting, flyball, and agility can help you have fun together with your dog.
4. Reduce Your Dog’s Anxiety
You need to know your dog’s triggers. You have to reduce potential triggers to make your territorial dog less aggressive. Some practices such as gating your dog when you are expecting guests, feeding him in a private place, and closing curtains can help.
Anti-anxiety medications and gears can also help. Some of the gears that can help reduce your dog’s anxiety include pressure wraps, calming collars, and ThunderShirts. Long-lasting dog chews and puzzle toys can also help improve your dog’s symptoms of anxiety. Remember to consult your vet before giving your dog any anxiety medicines to determine whether it is a safe approach.
5. ‘Nothing in life is free’ Training
After your dog has mastered the basics of obedience training, you can now reinforce good behavior by proceeding to the Nothing in Life is Free training. This training helps your dog know that all resources come from you. Your dog also learns that it has to do a given task to get treats, food, or any other thing he desires. This training is effective in territorial dogs that think they are entitled to food and treats. Asking your dog to work for treats reminds him that you are in control and can help reduce his guarding behavior.
6. Make It Difficult
Does your dog have a favorite spot where he waits for people he can bark and range? Make some changes to make this behavior impossible. If it is inside your house, block his access to that room. You can also close the door, pull the drapes, and move the sofa to another position. If this spot is outside, you can bring him inside, restrict access to a certain portion of the yard, or block his vision through the fence.
7. Reward Calm Behavior
Don’t be that pet parent who yells when the dog makes a mistake and forgets to praise what is right. Remember yelling or screaming at your dog is the humans’ way of barking. It doesn’t teach the dog anything. You should use your training to gets your dog’s attention and redirect it.
Praising or rewarding the behavior that you want to see again is vital. It helps your dog know what is right. You should help your dog do what is right and not forget to offer a reward when he cooperates. Give treats when he stops barking when you ask and when he ignores someone walking past.
Living With a Territorial Dog
Parenting a dog that exhibits aggressive behaviors can be stressful but manageable. All you need is to work with your dog on developing a healthy alternative to every aggressive territorial behavior. Remember, dog training is a long-term process requiring a lot of work, but the results are worth your time.