It’s understandable that some dogs are just really hyper and energetic when they’re in the backyard, and some are simply protective of their turf. But if they’re always in high alert, there could be something wrong, and it has to be dealt with before they become aggressive and attack people! You don’t want guests to be scared of your dog or your dog attacking anyone, would you?
Why are some dogs territorial? There are some dogs who are more aggressive genetically. That’s why there are dog breeds perfect for guarding and other breeds that are more suitable for company and family. It’s because of their guarding instincts that they’ve been dubbed man’s best friend. But some can get too carried away and might even be aggressive toward family members when they’re protecting things that matter to them—treats, toys, humans, and territory.
Territorial behavior is dangerous, but not entirely hopeless. These pups can be trained to completely control their aggressiveness. A rule of thumb would be to focus on the “Quiet” command, basic obedience commands, recall, and techniques to reduce anxiety. To prepare your dog for the training, here are some supplies you might need to get:
- A good quality dog crate
- A sturdy pet gate
- Good treats (go for the healthy kind of treats)
- A long sturdy leash
Here are a few things to train your territorial dog:
1. Refresh basic obedience commands. It all boils down to the obedience of the dog. You need to work on your dog’s obedience if you want to tame him. The usual “Sit” and “Stay” commands falls under here and are commonly used as a way to control your dog in tense scenarios. You can use this when you have to get something from the door or are expecting guests—tell them to sit and stay.
If this doesn’t work yet, separate Fido from company using a pet gates or a crate. Even if they’ve been trained in the past, doing so again will be a nice way to bond with your dog. Don’t overdo it; limit training to five to ten minutes every day, and offer treats when they perform great.
2. Don’t give in. One of the common mistakes most pawrents do is give in whenever the dog annoys them so much. They might act cute and give you the puppy-dog eyes, but giving them that piece of chicken leg you’re holding won’t do any good. They might get aggressive if you don’t give them what they want, and they might growl or bark for it.
This kind of habit makes them think they are entitled to treats whenever, wherever, and this behavior will keep on coming since it always guarantees food. You can give small commands and maybe even have them go “down” for a while before letting them eat dinner. Teach them to work for their food!
3. Total recall. Does Fido turn or look at you when they hear their name, or does he ignore you? If the latter, then it’s high time to teach him recall, which teaches your doggo to come to you when called. This is quite useful for dogs who tend to find themselves in troublesome situations. You can start somewhere small, like inside your own home, and make sure you reward the dog if they get it right. A reward system is especially effective for dogs, and it will make them look forward to being called.
Before you can move somewhere else, make sure your dog is always responsive to its name. If you want to try it outdoors, make sure the leash can be extended and is sturdy enough so your dog doesn’t break it or you can stop your dog on time if needed.
4. Calm your dog. Dogs being aggressive doesn’t always mean they’re violent; they might be extremely nervous because of certain triggers. It can be as simple as a sound of a car dashing past or as overwhelming as being in a crowded place.
Isolating a nervous dog and feeding them somewhere peaceful and quiet might help. If your doggo is the nervous type, you might want to invest in a dog gate so you can safely keep Fido away when there are guests. Visit the vet for some advice about your dog’s anxiety. There are certain pet vests and gear that can also help them calm down.
5. Silent treatment. Dogs bark when they feel like a trespasser is in their territory, and it can scare off some guests. Teach them the command “Silent” or “Quiet” to calm them down. You can start inside the house and introduce different distractions and noises while saying the cue word you prefer. This can help them calm down whenever you say the command.
6. Desensitize. This can only happen if you have trained your dog basic obedience and anxiety control. Desensitizing can help promote a healthier and calmer reaction to past triggers. But never rush them or punish them—this will only make their anxiety worse—and be patient with their development. Provide rewards if they have done a good job.
While these steps seem daunting and overwhelming for pet parents, it actually has good benefits and might help you in your and dog’s everyday life. It will make it easier for you and your pet to cope with a stressful scenario and maybe even mold the pup into a better version of themselves!