Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Aggression: territorial

Contributor(s): Karen Overall

Introduction

  • Occurs at boundaries and thresholds, in cars, or while next to owners.
  • Is form of defensive aggession.
  • Common in guarding breeds.
  • Directed particularly towards delivery people that leave when chased or threatened, or others that dog may view as suspicious or threatening.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Inherited predisposition.
  • Fear + lack of confidence.
  • Manifests at puberty.
  • Reinforcement following successful aggressive incident, eg fast exit of postman.
  • Repeated reinforcement eg normal departure of postman/people passing property which dog percieves as success.
  • Aggressive attempts by owner to control situation, eg raised voice/physical punishment, helps to confirm threat → increased aggression by dog.

Predisposing factors

General
  • Certain lines and breeds may have greater propensity for developing aggression.

Specific

  • Lack of adequate exposure and early correction.
  • Easily defended or defined territory, eg crate, fence, car, etc or if the dog is kept on a tether.
  • Reared with innately aggressive adult dog.

Timecourse

  • Usually begins at social maturity, dog gradually learns to improve use of aggression to keep people off territory. Owners usually present at time of onset or following particularly difficult incident or complaint.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Landsberg G, Hunthausen W & Ackerman L (1997)Handbook of behavior problems of the dog and cat.pp 139-140.
  • Overall K L (1997)Clinical behavioral medicine for small animals.pp 104, 109-111.

Organisation(s)

  • Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, PO Box 46, Worcester WR8 9YS, UK. Tel/Fax: +44 (0)1386 751151; Email: apbc@petbcent.demon.co.uk; Website: http://www.apbc.co.uk.


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