Case Studies - Territorial Behaviour

Dogs are territorial by nature.  It is instinctual to them to establish and defend territory and to protect and guard the possessions they deem as theirs and  essential to their survival.  This can include food, toys, people and the environment they are in. Some dog breeds are more genetically predisposed to protective/territorial behaviour and have over the years been purposely bred for security and guarding purposes, eg German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Bull Mastiffs.

Signs of Territorial Behaviour
  • Urinating around the house/garden or during walks

  • Barking and charging the front door/garden fence when people or dogs approach

  • Stiff body language, ‘eye balling’ people you let into the house or garden

  • Low growl directed toward the person or dog approaching/entering the property

  • Aggression toward a person or dog entering the property

  • Barking and/or growling at people or dogs from inside the owner’s vehicle


It is common for dogs to display territorial aggression when they feel ‘cornered’ or ‘trapped’ in a small area or when people/other animals are entering the house/garden they reside in. The key to preventing any territorial behaviour is to ensure your dog is adequately socialised and familiar with ‘life’ and does not perceive itself as being in charge!  Your dog should display confident, balanced behaviour around new situations/people/objects and should not display any consistent behaviour listed above.

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