If you have ever gone for a peaceful walk about your neighborhood and been startled out of your wits by a barking dog running, and throwing himself repeatedly against a fence as you walk by his yard, or listened to the incessant barking of a dog in his house, apartment or yard as he barks aggressively at everyone and everything, that walks by or approaches the door, you have been the victim of a territorial dog. Annoying, distracting, sometimes frightening, and even dangerous, a territorial dog can be a real problem. Being territorial is somewhat natural for your dog, after all, he is just protecting you and your home, his valuable resources. Some protective behavior is desirable, by alerting you when someone approaches your home, he alerts you to possible intruders. The problem occurs when this behavior becomes excessive, obsessive, and when he is no longer protecting your home or property, but claiming it as his own!
While most dogs will bark to alert you and protect your territory, a territorial dog behaves aggressively and defensively of his territory. This may include fence running, lunging, growling, barking, and other aggressive behavior that can result in your dog escalating to biting, which can result in injury to you or others. Some dogs are territorial over their home or yard, others may be territorial over their food, bed, or toys. Some breeds are more likely to act territorial than others, and will require more work to counteract territorial behavior than others. Socializing your dog and establishing leadership over your dog at a young age will prevent territorial behavior from developing in the first place, but if your dog begins to develop this type of behavior, the sooner you take steps to correct it the better. Being territorial is an instinctive and self-rewarding behavior, and can be difficult to break once it has developed. You will need to teach a dog that has developed territorial behavior to regard property as yours, not his, and to behave calmly and ignore other people or dogs that approach or enter your home or yard, or reach for his toys or food.
My dog tends to be extremely possessive over me. I was playing fetch with one of my other dogs this past summer and he attacked him right after. This was the first time we had ever seen him act like. Now there are times where he looks like he might do it again. What can I do to prevent that from happening again? Or to change my dogs behavior to not be so possessive?
Hello Tatiana, Check out Saun O'Shay from the Good Dog Or Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced in this area. It sounds like Frank is possessive of the toy and is resource guarding. Frank would need a lot of respect build for you to view you as the leader and not him. He would need to work on impulse control so that he could restrain himself in times of excitement. He would need a lot of structure and boundaries in general - and especially in a game of fetch, and would need to be desensitized to having other dogs around while playing ball. For now, I suggest playing with each dog individually until you can find a trainer to help you with the above areas. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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