05-16-2018, 12:41 PM
Join Date: Sep 2015
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We have a dog who is very uptight as well, barking when he hears people walking down halls or down stairs, knocking at the door, outside the window, and nipping at new people in the house (he is a herding dog).
First you need to know the reason. You can generally tell from their stance and behavior if it is fear, obsession, or actual territorial aggression. Fear aggression includes backing away, planting the feet, hiding behind someone or something, and reacting when startled.
Obsessive aggression tends to be seen in herding dogs and happens when a dog feels the need to control, so chasing moving objects, reacting when things are out of place or when new people arrive.
True territorial aggression manifests in loud barking, growling, lunging, bursting through doorways, standing guard at doorways or at the fence, but often is more explosive then uptight. Unlike fear aggression, when a territorial dog is not feeling threatened they are relaxed or at most on-guard.
Because of how you explained your dogs reactions it sounds like fear aggression, which can include territorial behavior. A dog trainer, if you can find a good one (which is hard), is a great option. There are some great books out there on dealing with dogs who are sensitive or timid/insecure (the introverts of the dog world).
Because they are so sensitive, introverted dogs often react poorly to loud, sudden, or physical punishment. Instead, gentle corrections, refocusing behavior, regular exercise, and positive reinforcement work better. This is not to say you can't correct a dog, but that it only builds their fear and insecure behaviors if it is done in a physical way.
Do you have any history on the dog? Do you know anything about its past? Even knowing its breed mix can help, as herding dog mixes tend to be super sensitive compared to retriever or bully breed mixes.