Territorial aggression in dogs is very common and that is a lot of dogs out there will always bark or lung anytime they see people or other pets walking around them.
If you are the owner of that type of dog, you should know by now that territorial and dominance issues in dogs can be quite disturbing because you will always get bad comments from people about your dog.
Even your friends and family might stop coming to your place because of your dog’s territorial aggression.
But, have you ever tried anything to stop your dog from showing this bad behavior? I guess you’ve tried but you aren’t seeing any results.
In this article, I will be revealing the common causes of territorial and dominance issues in dogs and I will also reveal to you the best methods to stop your dog from showing this bad behavior.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
What is Territorial Aggression in Dogs?
Territorial Aggression in dogs is a situation whereby a dog is always aggressive towards other people, dogs, pets, or even inanimate objects that might seem like a threat to his territory.
The territory in this context refers to the dog’s physical space such as a cage or yard.
Dogs are descendants of wolves and it is normal for them to show territoriality. However, excessive or obsessive displays of this behavior by your dog might pose threat to other people or pets.
Territorial aggression in dogs is a very serious issue because it can expose other people or animals to the risk of being bitten by your dog.
If you notice that your dog has been showing this kind of behavior, I will advise you to read this article completely because all you have to do to help your dog stay calm again will be revealed here.
What are the causes of Territorial Aggression in Dogs?
As I said earlier, it is normal for dogs to show a territorial behavior. Even a well-socialized dog will tend to bark at strangers or people they aren’t familiar with.
However, consistency in this behavior coupled with fear and anxiety will make your dog’s mere territorial behavior lead to territorial aggression.
This is why you have to do something to help your dog manage his territorial behavior before it escalates to territorial aggression.
A lot of people thinks dog show territoriality just to guard anything they feel is precious to them. But, this is just “Resource Guarding” or better still called “Possession Aggression”.
There are a lot of factors that cause Territorial Aggression in Dogs and here are some of them:
- Instinctual Behavior: Dogs are descendants of wolves and as it should be, they should have this instinctual drive to always protect their territory against intruders or perceived threats.
- Fear or Anxiety: Your dog might start to show territorial behaviors if he feels threatened by the presence of another person or animal in his territory.
- Lack of Socialization: When it comes to training dogs, socialization should be a great concern for the dog owner. Exposing your dogs to different people, dogs, and pets can go a long way in helping your dog morally. If a dog is not well socialized, there are tendencies will show territorial behavior anytime he is around other people or animals.
- Resource Guarding: This is just one of the causes of territorial and dominance issues in dogs. Although, many people mistake this for territorial aggression itself. Your dog might become territorial over objects; people or foods they consider valuable.
- Past Traumatic Experience: Dogs with past traumatic experiences such as neglect from owners might become fearful and aggressive towards other people. This is why you should always spend quality time with your dog to avoid issues like this.
- Medical Issues: This is another significant factor that may lead to territorial issues. Health problems such as sight loss or pain can lead to territorial aggression in dogs.
Now that you know several factors can cause territorial aggression, you should not relate this issue only to “Resource Guarding” when you see your dog showcasing it. It might be caused by fear or anxiety or even other underlying factors.
Managing Territorial and Dominance Issues in Dogs
How can you help your dog manage this behavior? Well, there is no point in writing this article if I won’t tell you how to manage this behavior.
Managing Territorial and dominance issues in dogs is very possible, and here are some of the tested and proven tips that have been working for me:
Desensitize your dog
Detect the factor that triggers aggression in your dog, it might be other people, dogs, or pets.
After detection, you should try to desensitize your dog to this factor, this is done by making several people or dogs walk by your property in a very controlled environment.
Initially, the person or dog should begin by walking by the other side of your street. Keep repeating this walk but reduce the distance over time and make the person start walking closer and closer to your property.
If your dog sees this stranger and didn’t bark or lung at him, it means your dog is feeling safe.
If at any distance or stage, your dog shows his aggressive behavior to the stranger, you should take a step back and continue from there.
Proper Obedience Training
If you want to help your dog become well-behaved, then you should also have absolute control over it and this can only be achieved by obedience training.
Teach your dog some basic obedience commands such as:
- Sit: Teach the dog to sit down on command.
- Stay: Teach the dog to remain in a sitting or standing position until released.
- Come: Teach the dog to come to you when called.
- Heel: Teach the dog to walk calmly on a leash beside you.
- Leave it: Teach the dog to ignore an object or treat it and stop any attempts to take it.
- Drop it: Teach the dog to release an object they have in its mouth.
- Good boy/girl: A positive reinforcement phrase used to reward good behavior.
Do these and ensure your dog grasps the basic commands. You can facilitate this training by using the positive reinforcement method.
Give your dog tiny bits of treats when they start obeying the commands, you should also give them treats when they become aggressive during the training. This will make them calm and learn better.
The effect of early socialization in dogs cannot be over-emphasized. It is another key factor in managing territorial and dominance issues in dogs.
Taking your puppy to a social gathering or park where it can easily play with other animals and develop a healthy relationship with them.
You should also train them not to always bark at visitors. Give them treats anytime they refuse to bark at your visitors and you should also ensure that you do have different varieties of visitors coming to your home when your puppy is still very young and developing his social skill.
Keep your Dog in a Closed Space
Ensure your dog is staying in a fenced environment. A dog staying in an open environment will make him think all the physical space is its territory and he will tend to bark at people walking on the streets that don’t even belong to you.
Additionally, your dog can easily get into trouble if it doesn’t stay in an enclosed space.
This is why you should always keep your dog on a leash, and build a fence around your home today to control your dog’s territorial aggression.
Keep Your Dog on a Leash
Dogs with territorial behavior should never be left unsupervised. With a leash on your dog, you can calmly drag your dog away from potential threats or things that tend to trigger his aggression.
Keeping your aggressive dog on the leash will help prevent the risk of getting other people or animals injured.
Territorial and dominance issue in dogs is mostly caused by environmental factors and not any underlying medical factor.
However, many people say there are drugs for this aggressive behavior, I don’t think these drugs work as people see it.
The drug will also tend to lower your dog’s sensitivity to things that might trigger his aggression and this is not advisable because it can lower your dog’s metabolism, and even disrupts his general well-being.
Avoid Physical Punishment and Embrace Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is still the best practice when it comes to training dogs. Avoid using physical punishment as a means of discipline for your dog because it can aggravate aggression in dogs.
Seek the Help of a Dog Behaviorist or Trainer
If you notice that your dog’s territorial and dominance issue has increased beyond normal, I will advise you to seek the help of a professional dog behaviorist or trainer.
Doing this should help your dog become calm and lovable again.
Territorial aggression in dogs can have serious consequences. If you notice this form of aggression in your dogs, I will advise you to take the necessary measures in managing Territorial and Dominance Issues in Dogs.
seek the help of a professional dog behaviorist or trainer, who can help to determine the underlying cause of the behavior and develop a plan to modify it.