People who exercise or work outdoors have a better chance of coming across an aggressive dog due to territorial aggression than those who do not.
People do not always easily recognize the dog’s territory. Territory for a dog is a smaller area inside its home range. The dog actively defends this area from strangers. An olfactory fence or border defines this area. It is where the dog’s core activities take place. The dog will spend around 60% or more of its time there. Territories differ for each dog. Dogs connect territories to activities in some instances. A territorial dog may have a defined territory for eating. The dog may also have a defined territory for sleeping and other activities.
Territorial aggression happens when the dog is guarding its territory or belongings. Such aggression happens when a dog believes you are invading its territory. It can also occur when a person is too close to the dog’s belongings. The dog is protecting its resources from a threat. You may have an aggressive dog to deal with once you have crossed into a guarding dog’s territory.
One warning sign of this aggressive behavior is barking. The dog’s barking pattern and tone typically change as a person moves closer and into the dog’s territory. It starts out as high-pitched, rapid barking like a warning. Barking changes to a lower pitched sound (threat) as the stranger crosses over the boundary. Growling and attacking may occur as a person moves too far into the dog’s territory.
Visual warning signs for this type of aggressive dog behavior may include:
• Direct Stare
• Rigid Body
• Lowered Head
• Ears Forward
• Eyes Wide Open
• Lunging Forward in Short Jumps
Most dogs in conflict situations offer these first signals in an attempt to avoid a potential physical exchange. The dog would rather avoid conflict. In the end, it is not beneficial to the dog to get in a fight. It is a pointless expense of energy. If the dog has to defend its territory physically injury is a possibility. Physical conflict is not biologically advantageous.
It is helpful if you look at it from the dog’s evolutionary position. Considering the dog’s survival instinct is also useful. The dog instinctively knows that resources like food and home territory are limited. Energy and health are also limited resources worth protecting. The dog must spend his resources wisely. The dog instinctively wants to pass on its genetic material. This is less likely to happen if the dog does not use its resources wisely than if it did.
Energy and health are a resource well worth protecting. The dog offers the aggressive behaviors in an attempt to remove the threat without physical conflict. It is more helpful to the dog from a survival standpoint to avoid an exchange while still guarding its resources. In this day and age we forget that there was a time when dogs or rather wolves had to fend for themselves.
You have a few choices for dog repellents in these situations. We believe that sending a loud signal, indicating power, is helpful in warning off the aggressive dog. A repulsive and annoying signal is also useful. It helps to convince the dog that you are not worth the effort or irritation especially since you are already leaving its territory. The Sound Defense K9 Warning Device is a hand-held dog deterrent device that offers a signal that has been designed to help keep aggressive dogs at a safe distance.