20/07/2023 - Dog Behaviour
Fence guarding is a behaviour commonly exhibited by dogs, where they become overly protective of their territory and display aggression or anxiety when other animals or people approach the fence line. While this behaviour is rooted in their instinctual desire to defend their territory, it can be problematic and potentially dangerous. However, with the right approach and training techniques, you can help your dog overcome fence guarding. In this blog, we will explore some effective strategies to address and stop fence guarding behaviour
Understand the underlying causes: Before addressing fence guarding, it's essential to understand the root causes. Dogs may exhibit this behaviour due to fear, territorial instincts, lack of socialisation, boredom, or even frustration. Identifying the underlying cause will help you tailor the training techniques accordingly.
Increase socialisation: One effective way to combat fence guarding is to increase your dog's exposure to different environments, people, and animals. Regular socialisation helps dogs become more confident and less prone to anxiety or aggression. Arrange controlled interactions with other dogs and people, gradually exposing your dog to different situations while maintaining a positive and calm environment.
Positive reinforcement training: Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool to modify your dog's behaviour. Reward your dog with treats, praise, and affection when they display non-guarding behaviour, such as staying calm when another dog or person passes by the fence. This reinforces positive associations and encourages your dog to adopt more desirable behaviour.
Create a positive environment: Make the area around the fence a pleasant and engaging space for your dog. Provide toys, puzzle feeders, or interactive games to keep them mentally stimulated and focused on positive activities. By redirecting their attention away from the fence, you can reduce their inclination to guard it.
Utilise desensitisation techniques: Gradually expose your dog to stimuli that trigger fence guarding behaviour, such as other dogs walking by the fence. Start at a distance where your dog remains calm and reward them for maintaining composure. Over time, gradually decrease the distance while continuing to reward positive behaviour. This desensitisation process helps your dog learn that approaching dogs or people are not threats.
Implement management techniques: While training is crucial, it's equally important to manage the environment to prevent fence guarding situations. Limit your dog's access to the fence line by creating barriers or using visual deterrents like frosted glass or wooden panels. This prevents visual triggers and reduces the opportunity for fence guarding behaviour to occur.
Seek professional help if necessary: If your dog's fence guarding behaviour persists or escalates despite your best efforts, it may be beneficial to seek guidance from a professional dog trainer or behaviourist. They can provide a customised training plan tailored to your dog's specific needs and help you address any underlying issues effectively. Click here if you would like a face to face 121 with a trainer in Ipswich or Colchester. Click here if you would like a zoom consultation with a trainer to work live with you anywhere in the country.
Fence guarding can be a challenging behaviour to tackle, but with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can help your dog overcome it. By understanding the underlying causes, providing socialisation, using positive reinforcement training, creating a positive environment, implementing desensitisation techniques, and utilising management strategies, you can work towards eliminating fence guarding behaviour in your furry friend. Remember to be patient and understanding, as each dog is unique and may require varying levels of time and effort to overcome this behaviour.