How to handle a territorial dog

Dog barking at a fence

Video: Territorial Aggression

Dear Cesar,

I would like to know how to properly handle a situation in which a territorial dog came after me when I was walking in my neighborhood. This situation arose yesterday when my cousin and I were walking. A dog who is usually confined behind a fence suddenly charged across the yard at us.

Video: Cesar We Have a Problem | Dog Whisperer

The territorial dog nipped my cousin on the back of her leg and then proceeded to circle around us. The owner was nowhere in sight. I knew from watching your show that I should remain calm and assertive, but my cousin was terrified. As the dog circled around us trying to get at my cousin, I kept turning to face the territorial dog and would periodically make the "shh" noise I`ve heard you make. I wanted to keep him in sight, but I thought I shouldn`t be making eye contact either. I just imagined a bubble around me and in my mind said, "This is my space." Eventually, the dog left us alone and wandered off. Even though the dog backed off, I`m not sure I handled the situation the best way. My question is, what are the proper steps to take when faced with a territorial dog off its leash?

Thanks for your help,

Related: (R)overprotective: When dogs watch out too much

Trena Cox

Cesar Millan`s advice on how to handle a territorial dog

Hi Trena,

First of all I want to tell you what you did was exactly what I would have done in a situation like that with a territorial dog. I couldn`t be more proud of a person who I don`t know, I`ve never seen, and to whom I`ve never given a personal consultation! And you didn`t do anything wrong. Here`s what you did right: you controlled the environment- you controlled the momentum- you controlled yourself- you controlled the dog, and you took over for your frightened cousin. You actually controlled your cousin with your stronger energy. If you had been by yourself, you would have accomplished the exercise in a much shorter period of time. Because of your cousin`s weak energy, it took a little longer for you to make the territorial dog understand that you were not going to back away.

The great thing is that the dog did back away—and that means you won- that means you are the pack leader- that means that you should hold on to that moment for the rest of your life and feel like you just won a purple heart or some kind of medal. I am very proud and if you keep it up - keep the pack leader mentality and stay calm and assertive no matter what, which I always teach on the show—you will always succeed. I`ll say it again: I am very, very, very proud of you.

Stay calm and assertive,

Cesar Millan

Have you trained your dog to respect territorial boundaries? How did you do it? Please share your experience with us in the comments.

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