Dog Training World Forums Aggression Problems Territorial Aggression Didjeri, the Blue Healer with Territorial Aggression. Need help with Solutions! Reply To: Didjeri, the Blue Healer with Territorial Aggression. Need help with Solutions!

  • Michael D'Abruzzo

    August 12, 2023 at 2:42 pm

    Definitely not an easy case. From an ethology point of view, we have a herding breed that is known to be territorial. So this is similar as if they had a jack russel terrier and are expecting family members to bring their guinea pigs over to run around with the dog. As a German Shepherd owner, I cannot think of any that I have owned that would be OK as adults with other dogs entering the home. It was always a process of acclimating new dogs that were going to live there.

    For a consult with a case like this I usually educate about what is normal for the breed and especially the individual so that it leads to the correct attitude for them. For instance, if they believe this is “abnormal” aggression they are more likely to expect something not reasonable from the dog and think either the dog or whatever training plan is a failure or that quick fixes are possible.

    So a big part of it is management plans even before the training. It can be expected for many dogs to NOT be ok with other dogs visiting their home.

    If the dog is expected to get along SPECIFICALLY with certain dogs, then we need to look at each individual dog, their breed/temperaments, and then treat it as a dog on dog aggression case and look carefully at all of the triggers. For instance, simply being on the property could be a trigger, but then it can also be about resources on the property (other dogs near where the food/water bowls are, toys, resting places, etc…)

    Dog on dog aggression cases within the home are one of the most complex cases you can deal with if the goal is to have new dogs loose together in a home without aggression. It is possible, but difficult without knowing the base of the coursework up to the leadership in the behavior course, then the dominance aggression and territorial aggression blueprints and phase 3 training if you wanted to offer anything that made this situation reasonably possible.

    Of course sometimes we can lucky by allowing the dogs to spend time together muzzled completely off property and then bringing them back to the home together, but that very much relies on the dogs and not a larger plan that addresses all triggers and gives us tools to coach the dog to the correct behaviors.

    It is usually easier to work on issues like these when the dogs live together permanently compared to “visiting”. It does make a difference to a dog when they think the other dogs are part of the household.

    My cliff notes for a blueprint if the owners insisted on having dog visitors vs management would be:

    1. Ethology – teach the behavior is normal for a herding breed

    2. Attitude – make sure they have the correct attitude toward the dog. The behavior was valued when used as a working dog, so the dog is not trying to be “bad”.

    3. management – train to muzzle, do not have dogs come over during the training process.

    4. Major leadership consulting – the dog will need to feel it is natural for the owners to override their decisions to protect territory and also we need the dog to secondarily have less withing the home to be conflicted over as far as resources (no toys, food bowls, etc,, laying around… no competing for owners attention)

    5. Phase 3 obedience so owners can verbally command “leave it” if dog is posturing toward the visiting dogs.

    6. counterconditioning plan – coaching owners how to make the visit a good experience for the territorial dog.

    7. Be prepared for fine-tuning the planning according to analyzing body language, triggers, etc.. during the process.

    I hope this helps.