All dogs have some form of aggression, even those who appear to be pictures of calmness and domestication. “Territorial Aggression” is the most common aggressive behavior commonly exhibited by even the best trained dogs. Not sure if your dog suffers from bouts of territorial aggression, does she go absolutely crazy when you have company or a stranger approaches the house. This is classic territorial aggression.
What encourages a dog to display such aggressiveness?
It is perfectly natural for your dog to want to defend his home and make it known to others that the area is his territory. The following scenarios may cause your dog's aggression over his territory to escalate:
1. When riding in the car, a dog with extreme territorial aggression will bark incessantly at every person he sees and every object, which goes passed the window. Your dog is saying "Hey, You stay away, this is my territory!" While it is clear humans, nobody is actually approaching; the dynamics of movement of the car is lost on your dog. As the car moves away from objects and people, your dog thinks he is "winning". Therefore, the dog will bark even longer to celebrate his victory.
2. Aggressive reactions are reinforced, for example, whenever a delivery person approaches the house drops off a package and THEN leaves the territory, all the while your dog is barking nonstop. Your dog actually believes he drove the stranger away, with his barking, and this in itself creates more aggression.
3. Most dog owners do not realize yelling at their dogs is accomplishing nothing but creating more aggression. Whenever your dog is acting up and barking at the door (for whatever reason) and YOU starts to yell at him in order to quiet him down it creates an ongoing cycle of aggressive behaviors. Your dog thinks that you are "supporting" his aggression towards the approaching stranger or delivery person, by yelling, while he is barking. In short, it has become a unified front, you both against the approaching stranger.
4. Another reason why a dog may develop heightened levels of territorial aggression is he is isolated or locked up when there are guests and strangers inside the house. At first glance, it seems very reasonable to take your barking dog and secure him in a room or crate whenever you have guests. However, during this time, your dog can smell the "intruders" and he feels powerless to do anything about it; therefore, his aggression levels rise dramatically, causing stress and anxiety, which of course leads to more behavioral problems.