There is a popular video on Facebook that shows two dogs snarling and snapping at each other through a fence that is wide open and yet neither of them know it! The picture shown is from that video and we chuckle every time we see it. A good friend even asked to explain what this is all about and after years of experience at our Doggy Daycare in Denver, we’ve seen it all! Fence aggression is one of the most common behaviors you see in dogs and most owners have experienced this behavior with the dogs at one time or another. Ask a mail carrier how often they see this on their daily mail delivery route and you’ll understand why this is a really popular video making the rounds.
You can take two of the sweetest dogs and place them in the same supervised playgroup and they will have the best time romping and chasing each other all over the playground. Then separate them and put them in different playgroups across the fence from each other and watch how their personalities change. Even our sweet Mollie becomes a vicious sounding dog ready to defend her territory when she goes for a walk or is in group play. In fact, during the years that we owned our business, she was rarely out in Doggy Daycare because she absolutely did not not like it one bit.
Dogs are very territorial by nature and guard and defend their turf, home or owners, depending on the situation. Sometimes just putting a blanket or something else to block their view will take care of the problem….out of sight, out of mind, so to speak. Dogs have a hard time determining where their territory is, so the popular video shows that even though the fence is wide open, they only know to defend the space right in front of their faces! If these two were to realize the fence was open, the ensuing dog fight could result with both of them getting hurt unless their owners were quick to take action. The owners were pretty careless in allowing this situation to escalate just for the sake of the “funny” video, but there may be more to it than shows up in this situation.
Protecting property and owners is a wonderful trait in a dog, but not to the point of where aggression starts taking over the dog’s personality. The frustration that builds from trying to defend their space and get to the other side can increase the barking and frantic behavior. Don’t let it escalate and remove them from the situation and never reward them or encourage this type of behavior.
We have worked with Mollie for years and she has missed out on all the fun our other Doggy Daycare customers had over the years, because we just couldn’t change her attitude about other dogs coming towards her. While she would never hurt another dog, the oncoming dog doesn’t know that and could view her behavior as aggressive, possibly resulting in a nasty confrontation.
Work with a qualified trainer or just go online to find lots of great advice about how to deal with a fence aggressive dog. Once you find a good solution for you and your pooch, let us know so we can try the same thing with our Mollie.
Happy Tails to You!