Territory Aggression/Protein Update
WOW. That’s really all I can say. Never in a million years would I have thought food could play such a huge role in doggy behavior, especially territory aggression.
Before I began to really educate myself, I believed all types of aggression were lumped under just one category “aggression” and associated with either a bad dog or a bad owner. The more I learn, the more I understand how wrong I was.
When Gustav was beginning to show signs of aggression, I purchased whatever dog book I get my hands on and researched as much as I could. As I stated in my previous post, I came across Dr. Dodman’s book “The Well-Adjusted Dog“. I gotta say from first hand knowledge, his suggestion of cutting back the protein worked!
Being part German Shepard, part rescue and part goof, I wasn’t surprised when Goosey started to patrol our backyard. With our fence backing up to a No Outlet street it is home to walking teenagers, playing kids and some responsible and some irresponsible drivers. His patrolling never seemed out of the ordinary and I was never concerned until it started to escalate.
Whenever someone would drive or walk by, he began tearing out to the back like a dog on the job with his “get the hell away from my yard” bark, his front feet on top of the fence and hackles up. When he was in this “trance” no matter how much I called him I could not get him to come and trying to catch him was a laugh out loud joke. (Some neighbors would find it entertaining, I could only imagine how ridiculous we looked running after him). At the same time, he also started to show signs of resource guarding with food and toys. That was enough for me and I instantly went on a mission to teach/train/whatever I could do to stop or at least calm the behavior.
We began the No Free Lunch training (which also works and I will go in detail about in a different post) and lowered the protein. Unbelievably, two weeks later, the change was amazing, most noticeable at the back fence. He no longer craze chases every single car that drives by, unless they’re going too fast. (It’s his idea of a warning, although, a lot more intimidating than a cop car.) His back-off bark has lessened and the hackling has stopped. And now, instead of tearing out to the back, he prances, and even sometimes, he’ll give a glance when someone is back there and just walk the other way. Holy Crap, that never ever happened.
It is such a relief for me and the kids that walk to school in the morning because they are no longer greeted by an out of control dog. Even if he does get too excited, the awesomest thing is, when I call he actually comes. It is so nice not to be on pins and needles when he’s in back anymore. So if someone asks me if lowering protein really works with territorial aggression my answer would be Hell to the Yes!
- Food for Thought on Territorial Aggression in Dogs (tailsfromthefur.wordpress.com)
- Goosey Lesson No. 2…. (tailsfromthefur.wordpress.com)