Territorial Aggression Case Study
Dogs naturally have a tendency to act territorial, to varying degrees. It can be based on breed disposition, overall temperament, their structured lifestyles (or lack thereof), and more. In some cases, dogs might act territorial over the home and property, and some owners are okay with this and have it under control. But when territorial behavior becomes aggressive, that’s when owners have to be careful. Sure, one not mind if Spot growled or lunged at the burglar that broke in the home, but what if Spot attempts that with a visiting relative or guest?
Territorial aggression isn’t always just about the home, many dogs get fiercely protective and aggressive of their owners. While some dogs are being protective of their owners, dogs that are being territorially aggressive and treating their owners like, well, territory! This should not be the case, as dogs should view their owners as leaders. They can protect their leaders, but when a leader says, “No stop, everything is under control”, the dog should be able to follow through. Dogs that do not follow through, might be viewing their owners more as territory, a defenseless thing that must be protected with full-on aggression.
While in the field with a colleague, a dog trainer in Kansas City, we worked with Tad. He was treating his owner more like territory/property, rather than a leader. When in the front yard, Tad would run up along the fence anytime someone passed and would bark loudly. This was fine with Tad’s owner, but soon Tad started acting this way anytime a person approached his owner, even someone who Tad and his owner was familiar with! When Tad bit his owner’s dad, I got a call from the owner asking me to help Tad overcome his aggression.
In Tad’s case, he felt like he had rule of the home. While him and his owner have a loving bond, it was also an unbalanced one, where Tad was running the show, and his owner simply following his dog. Through my training program, we reversed roles and gave that leadership to Tad’s owner, and now Tad was expected to follow. Tad needed to see that his owner had control of everything, and soon Tad calmed down and was no longer demonstrating anxiety or aggression when his owner hung out with friends or greeted neighbors during walks.
If owners allow their dog to be territorial of the home and they have control of their dog, then that’s fine. But owners will allow themselves to become the territory! Your dog can be protective, but aggressive over you because they see you as a piece of property or as helpless, is unacceptable. Don’t let your dog see you like this, they should see you as a confident leader that shows them how to be behaved and under control!
If you think you’ve become “territory” in your dog’s eyes, give us a call and we’ll change that! We can be reached at 800-649-7297!