All dogs have one form of aggression or another and to some degree, it is perfectly natural. However, since our pets are domesticated then there is a certain level of calmness that we should expect from them. The most common aggression problem that dogs display is called “territorial aggression”. To sum up the definition of territorial aggression, it simply describes a dog that goes absolutely crazy whenever a stranger approaches their home.
What encourages a dog to display such aggressiveness?
It is natural for your dog to want to defend its home and make it known that the area is its territory. However, the following scenarios may cause your dog’s aggression over its territory to escalate:
1. Aggression is reinforced in a dog whenever, for example, a delivery person approaches the house and then after dropping off a package leaves the territory. Your dog actually thinks that it drove the stranger away and this in itself creates more aggression.
2. When riding in a car, a dog with extreme territorial aggression tends to bark incessantly at every person it sees and every moving thing outside the window. It is saying to them “stay away, this is my territory!” Of course nobody is going to approach the car, so your dog actually thinks it is “winning”, so will bark even lower to celebrate itsvictory.
3. Another very common reason why a dog may increase its levels of barking and aggression is whenever it is acting up and barking at the door (for whatever reason) and the owner starts to yell at it in order to shut it up. Most dog owners do not realize that yelling at their dog is doing nothing but creating more aggression. A dog will think that you are “supporting” its aggression towards the approaching stranger or delivery person.
4. A fourth reason why a dog may have heightened levels of territorial aggression is whenever it is isolated or locked up when there are guests and strangers inside the house. When you first think about it, it seems very reasonable to take your barking dog and lock it up in a room or crate whenever you have guests. However, during this time, your dog can smell the “intruders” and since it can do nothing about it, its aggression levels can rise dramatically, causing stress and anxiety, which of course leads to more behavioral problems.