TERRITORIAL OR PROTECTIVE AGGRESSION

Territorial aggression is defined when the dog protects an inappropriate location as its territory, or an inappropriate location in an inappropriate context.

It presents as aggression to strangers when what the dog considers as the dog’s turf (owners, home, surrounding streets, car, etc.). is perceived by the dog as being threatened in some way. People in uniforms are a particular target. Can be friendly on neutral territory such as a veterinary clinic.

Protective aggression relates to the dog’s perception that his owner is being threatened in some way. Its important to understand this is what the dog perceives, not what we perceive. Again, true protective aggression is when the dog reacts inappropriately and out of context when there is no real threat.

Both dominance aggression and fear-related aggression can be components or can be independently of the behavior. Generally speaking it is thought that the intensity of the territorial or protective drive that is inherited, and is augmented through learning.


**Aggression categories compiled from:

Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals, Karen L. Overall, M.A., V.M.D., Ph.D. Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behavior, Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Pennsylvania, Mosby, Inc. 1997

The Dog Who Loved Too Much: Tales, Treatments, and the Psychology of Dogs, Dr. Nicolas Dodman, BVMS, MRCVS, Bantom Books, 1997