Nov
05
2014

How Do Territorial Pets Increase Dog Bite Liability Risks?

How Do Territorial Pets Increase Dog Bite Liability Risks?How Do Territorial Pets Increase Dog Bite Liability Risks?

Most pet owners understand that territorial behaviors are a natural and instinctive occurrence in many canines. In fact, many pet owners utilize their furry friends’ territorial instincts to their advantage by looking to their canine companions to protect their homes and properties from intruders and alert the homeowner of any unexpected guest which many be lurking about their property. It is often a dog’s territorial tendencies which attract commendation and adoration from their owners. However, territorial behaviors are not always something to praise your pooch about. When an animal’s territorial instincts are too strong, the situation can quickly escalate from productive to destructive, especially when other behavioral issues such as aggression emerge.

Most animals have an instinctual reaction that encourages them to defend that which they believe is theirs. From food and resources to shelter and toys, canines will often make territorial attachments to possessions, living spaces and their human companions. This behavior is completely normal. The issue however, arises when an animal feels that there is a threat to their space and possessions. When an animal perceives a territorial intrusion as an invasion, the animal may lash out through any means necessary to protect themselves, their loved ones and their space. In these cases, pets have been known to act out aggressively against that perceived threat, at which point bites, nips, scratches and other damages can occur to humans, property and other animals which the pet perceives as a threat.

How can you tell if your pup is too territorial?

The truth is any pet has the potential to lash out aggressively in defense of their territory and all pets are territorial to some extent. Overly territorial pets will often exhibit a spectrum of behaviors which indicate their level of agitation over the territorial intrusion.  Barking is often the first noticeable symptom that your pooch is feeling a bit defensive, it is often accompanied by pacing, rapid tail wagging and other anxious behaviors. It is important that pet owners handle these situations appropriately to avoid exacerbating their pet’s anxiety over the intrusion. When territorialism is left uncurbed, dogs have been known to lash out physically against any threat to their territory. Once the animal feels that the behavior has been condoned or successful, it can become a reoccurring problem. The key is to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of territorial behavior and to train your pet on how to properly handle territorial intrusions. In many cases is might be beneficial to consult with professional animal socialization and behavior modification specialists who can help train  canine companions to be more receptive to territorial encroachments and pet owners to defuse potentially dangerous situations.

While you might not be able to fully cure your canine companions of their over protective natures, training can help decrease the likelihood of aggressive backlash to territorial threats. However, the truth is that even the sweetest and most well trained dogs can become physically aggressive and cause injures. That is why it is so important for dog owners to obtain Dog Bite Liability Insurance. F.I.D.O., the Federation of Insured Dog Owners, Inc. offers the Covered Canine Policy, an exclusive product and benefit for F.I.D.O. members only that specializes in Dog Bite Liability Insurance programs that will protect you should your dog bite an individual and cause harm. Coverage starts as low as $75 a year per dog, and can help provide the resources you need should you ever have to face a dog bite claim. To learn more about our policies and what to do if ever faced with a dog bite claim, please visit our Claim Info page and contact us at (855) 534-6495.

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