When entering a new dog’s territory, you need to stay calm and don’t run by showing your back. Food is a good distraction for dogs so it is good if you carry some food items in your pocket.
Don’t yell in front of aggressive dogs but don’t hesitate to call out for help in a friendly tone. If you have a car or similar hiding place nearby, use it to your advantage.
Ever been out for a walk or random jog only to be started by a barking dog edging towards you or repeatedly throwing himself against a fence ready to maul you as you walk by? The dog could be in an apartment or his kennel, but whenever he senses someone approaching, he starts barking aggressively ready to get offensive.
This is a common trait among dogs, and when it happens to you, you’re a victim of territorial aggressiveness in dogs.
The experience in itself can be frightening, annoying, sometimes distracting, and even dangerous. Come to think of it, dogs are naturally wired to be territorial, after all, it’s their call to protect you and your home or any other valuable resource in your home compound.
Signs for Dog Being Territorial
Aggressiveness in a dog doesn’t always necessitate barking. Some of the most reserved dogs in the history of dogs have been reported to have instilled the greatest harm to territorial victims.
According to some of the victims, getting bit or mauled down by such a dog was the last thing they expected. But it happened, and maybe they could have prevented it had they been keen on sniffing out any hint of the dog being aggressive.
Here are some signs to look for in a dog for aggressiveness before you get too comfortable:
An aggressive, territorial dog has no fear. He’ll approach you directly and stare at you at with a firm, fixed stance, weighing in on your next move. Read this bearing in mind that he doesn’t necessarily have to bark while at it.
1) Intensive Tail Waggling
He’ll be wagging his tail side to side while keeping it up. Goes to show the dog is ready to face the perceived danger ahead. That’s a dog’s way of saying that you should back off.
2) Erect Ears
Erect ears that help up high. This is a clear sign that the dog is scared and he’s ready to defend himself should you decide to take another step. Usually, this is accompanied by some aggressive barking.
3) Standing Fur
The dog will stand tall with its hackles up. Its fur will be standing on end, a clear sign that the dog is scared.
4) Backing and Growling in Tones
When the dog starts barking or growling in deep tones.
5) Rushing at You
If the dog made any attempt to rush at you. Whether it stopped on its tracks, the fact that the dog tried coming at you means that he’s prepared to get offensive should you continue invading his space.
6) A Cowering Dog
When the dog is cowering, baring its teeth or licking its lips.
7) Lowering His Head
Dogs that lower their heads or have their tail curled between their legs also tend to be more aggressive.
Any of these behaviors are meant to warn you. It’s the dead sign that should you continue with what you’re doing, then the dog will be forced to take further action on you, such as biting or mauling you to the ground.
Your safest bet would be to calmly retreat to a safe place while facing the dog head-on and without turning your back on him.
Reasons for a Dog to be Territorial
An aggressive territorial dog is simply telling you to back off, failure of which you should be prepared to be seriously mauled or bitten.
The barking is meant to alert or warn you, while the whole act of aggressiveness is meant to protect the dog’s territory.
1) Invasion of their personal Space
A territorial dog will always be aggressive whenever someone invades his space. This is to say, he may resort to running, growing, backing, lunging or displaying a series of other aggressive behaviors that may escalate into biting or intense aggressiveness.
2) To Protect their Yard, Bed, Toys or Food
A dog can be territorial over a series of issues including their home, yard, bed, food or toys. Should they suspect that you’re after any of their valued items or are threatening to steal from its owner, they may resort to aggressiveness to scare you away and defend what’s rightfully theirs.
In which case, the level of aggressiveness will always vary depending on the underlying breed of the dog. Some dogs act fast, and you may NOT even have a chance to see it coming, while a few selected breeds will resort to barking first to scare or warn you about the impending danger you just have gotten yourself into.
3) They’re Naturally Wired to be Territorial
Dogs become territorial because it’s in their instinctive nature to be so. They’re simply responding to what they’re naturally wired to do — and it’s upon you, the invader of personal space to back off or face the ramifications that follow.
Do’s and Dont’s to Avoid Being Mauled by a Territorial Dog
An aggressive dog will always resort to biting or mauling when provoked. So it’s upon you to prevent this from happening by observing your boundary.
That being said, here are some crucial tips on how to save yourself from being bit or mauled by a dog that’s displaying any signing of aggressiveness:
1. Enter other people’s property through the main gate
Where a property is guarded by an aggressive dog, it’s crucial that you restrict your entrance to the property to the main gate where you can be seen by the concerned party.
2. Remember to watch out for dogs
Before you enter any home you suspect owns a dog, it’s important that you keep your eyes wandering just in case you spot any sign for a dog.
This could be anything, the dog’s poop, kennel or running track. And where it happens there’s a dog, inform the compound owner immediately or just keep a wide berth from that home compound until everything is confirmed.
3. Remember to call first before you Pay anyone a Visit
Whenever you’re visiting someone for the first time, call them first to confirm the dog’s status of that compound before you decide to pay them a visit.
Always make sure the owner of a property is well aware of your coming. So should they happen to possess a dog, they’ll make prior arrangements to ensure the dog is locked and that you’re completely saved from being humiliated by their dog when you arrive.
4. Ask the owner to introduce you to the dog
If you have the courage for it, ask the homeowner to introduce you to the dog. Getting on familiar terms with the dog may get you on his good side, something that may prevent any act of aggressiveness from the dog in the future.
Dogs are logical as well. So it’s important that your owner introduce you to them when you’re entering a new compound for the dog to greet you and get to know you better just in case your paths cross again in the future.
1. Don’t jump over the fence
In whatever you do, don’t make the terrible mistake of jumping over the fence or entering the compound through the back gate.
2. Never visit another home with your dog
Never visit another home that happens to own a dog with your dog in tow. Where their person space is concerned, dogs interpret the presence of other dogs as an inversion and will as such react to it by being overly aggressive.
3. Avoid sneaking behind a dog
Never try sneaking behind a dog when it’s sleeping. For all we know, a dog can sniff you several compounds away. Instead, just walk at the dog’s front while maintaining direct eye contact at the dog.
4. Don’t do anything unexpected while around a dog
For a dog that you’ve never interacted with before, don’t startle him or do anything unexpected around him. For instance, don’t bend down to appear like you’re picking rock or make the careless mistake of running away. The dog may suspect that you’re planning to do something sinister and aggressively react to it.
5. Don’t go on patting other people’s dogs without their permission
Don’t go patting any random dog you meet until you’ve received full permission from the dog’s owner. This is particularly the case with unattended dogs. Don’t be overly nice and go over the dog to start patting him. If it happens the dog is NOT used to that, they may react to your advances more aggressively, thus injuring you in the process.
And where the owner has invited you to pat their dog, pat him on the chest or chin, and NOT on the head as is the case with many people. For what’s worth, dogs find a pat on the chin or chest less threatening as opposed to a pat on the head or anywhere else on their body.
6. Warn your kids against chasing other people’s dogs
If you have kids, warn them against chasing, hugging or climbing on top of the random dogs they meet. They should never make any attempt to grab any dog by its tail or feet. Altogether, they should try to steer clear of any dog they’ve never interacted with before.
How to Enter a Dog’s Territory
How you respond to an aggressive dog is very important to your safety. The whole point is to avoid getting bit, and you can do this by observing a few points as highlighted below:
1. It’s crucial that you stay calm in a situation where you’re faced with an aggressive dog
Don’t make the terrible mistake of trying to scare away the dog. This will only worsen the situation. So stay still and hold your ground with your eyes glued on the dog.
Whatever you do, the point is to be as non-threatening as you possibly can towards the dog.
2. Don’t turn away to show the dog you’re back
If anything, it’s important that your eyes stay on the dog all through until you retreat to safety.
3. Running away is a huge mistake
Speaking of which that will only prompt the dog to charge at you and maul you down to the ground.
4. You should stand still while facing the dog
But while at it, it’s important to slightly step sideways to avoid making it appear like you’re challenging the dog to a face-off.
5. Withdraw slowly, in stages
Just move back slowly, and sideways while addressing the dog calmly. Do this until you’ve succeeded in retreating to safety before turning away.
6. Call for help without sounding scared
Do this while addressing the dog. It can be something simple like “calm down, big man. Sorry, I scared you. I didn’t mean to. I’m backing off now. Anyone around here to help.”
Do this in a high pitched voice, while maintaining a friendly tone. What else, be loud enough to get yourself heard by the dog’s owner or anyone else that’s near enough to hear you.
7. Retreat to your Car or a Nearby Building if you spot one
If you have a car, just retreat in stages until you’re able to open its door and get in. Also, if there’s an open building around, retreat slowly towards it until you’re able to get in and lock the door.
8. If you’re carrying any food, throw it in front of the dog to distract him
If you come across anything you can use to put in between you and the dog as some sort of physical barrier, grab it. Don’t brandish it. Instead, just hold it closer by should there arise a need to use it.
As a dog owner, you should also be aware of dog’s aggression in the dogs park which has been covered by in the linked article.
Learn More With the Help of Video
It’s worth noting that the dog is scared of your advances the same way you’re scared of him. So if you can afford to fit into their shoe, and reason out like them, then you should be able to figure out the best course of action when caught up in such a fix…