Why is My Border Terrier Aggressive

Why is My Border Terrier Aggressive? Causes and How to Stop

Many dog owners question what triggers their Border Terrier’s aggressive behaviour, as well as how to deal with the problem. Whether the aggression takes place at home or in an off leash dog park, here, we’ll go over several possible causes of your dog’s hostility and how you may help him change his ways, no matter where it occurs.

So, why is my Border Terrier aggressive? Border Terriers are known to be friendly dogs, but they can become aggressive if they’ve been mistreated, trained to be aggressive, or if their owners are overly emotional. These factors, as well as the pet’s health and a lack of training, can also make them aggressive.

Multiple reasons could be at play, and it might be a mix of factors that makes them aggressive. Previous bad experiences with previous dog owners, such as dog attacks by bigger dogs or merely a lack of socialisation, can all lead to aggressive behaviour in a dog.

However, there are a few factors to keep in mind when trying to figure out why you’re having this issue. It should be much easier to put an end to the problem after you’ve identified the root cause. Any dog with this problem is unpredictable and therefore cannot be trusted.

A Brief History of the Border Terrier Breed

The Border Terrier’s origins date back to the 1800s in Britain when farmers and shepherds used the breed to keep fox levels under control. Their name is actually in reference to the Border Hunt in the Northumberland area of England (source).

They evolved to be tough and tenacious. During their working days, they walked alongside foxhounds and horses through rough terrain and bolted the foxes out of their hiding places. Their job was to threaten the fox, stand their ground, and chase the animals.

Border Terrier Temperament

An exceptionally loving breed to people and family members (some say the only type of terrier suitable with kids in the house), Borders make excellent pets. They are smart, courageous with loads of energy, and usually get on with strangers, other breeds, and even cats. But one temperament trait that may surface occasionally in these dogs is aggression. Due to their hunting heritage, they are likely to chase and bark at small animals.

Signs of Aggression in Dogs

It’s crucial to know when a dog is acting aggressively and to avoid challenging it in the event that it leads to an attack. Some behaviour, such as growling and snarling, is more terrifying than threatening. What’s more alarming is that when your dog’s body language changes, he makes himself appear as big as possible and makes direct eye contact or even stares.

Why are Border Terriers Aggressive?

There are several possible causes for your Border Terrier’s aggressive tendencies, and you should be able to determine them relatively easily.

Here are a few potential reasons and the factors that make them more likely.

1. Previous owners

It’s possible that he was trained to be aggressive by previous owners, or that he was mistreated and this caused him to be hostile. Adopting new dogs from a shelter would make this a more possible cause.

To help him modify his habits, you may give him a lot of one-on-one dog training. However, consulting with a qualified professional in your area can show you how to influence his behaviour in a secure environment.

2. You’re too emotional with him

It’s possible that your terrier is acting off because you’ve been overly emotional around him. This breed is very sensitive to its owners’ feelings and if you’re too reactive in your Border Terrier’s presence, he’s more inclined to respond emotionally. It would be better to communicate with him calmly and use positive dog training methods to encourage him to behave the way you prefer.

3. You’re being too aggressive with him

It’s possible that he’s feeling threatened because you’ve been acting aggressively toward him. Even many owners who are well-meaning don’t realise they are doing this. The best solution for Border Terriers once more is to apply positive reinforcement dog training techniques to improve their actions and prevent being hostile to them.

4. Lack of physical activity

Border Terriers are generally active and a busy dog breed and should receive plenty of daily exercise. When they aren’t getting enough exercise, they may start acting out in strange ways. All that pent-up energy needs an outlet for the dog and if owners don’t provide them with activities, they will find their own way to fulfill this need.

A minimum of one hour of physical activity every day is often recommended for these pets. To ensure that your dog receives the amount of attention he needs, you should make a point to increase his walking, playing, and exercise time.

5. Inadequate socialisation as a puppy

A dog’s trust and ability to discern right from wrong are greatly influenced by its early experiences. There is a possibility that your dog’s lack of socialisation and training as a puppy led him to perceive other people and dogs as threats. Even if the dog doesn’t attack you, he’s more likely to attack other dogs and people. This could be a problem when adopting adult Border Terriers and not knowing what their previous life was like with different owners.

6. Pain

If your Border Terrier suddenly becomes hostile, it’s possible that he’s in discomfort or even pain. This is particularly likely if he has also been limping, not wanting to move around, and whimpering, which are all indicators of pain. Taking him to a veterinarian is the best option in this scenario.

7. You’re incentivising it

You may have been inadvertently encouraging his aggressive behaviour by providing him with things he likes when he’s behaving erratically. When you reward him for being aggressive with things like increased attention, toys, or food, he may become more aggressive in order to receive the rewards.

As an alternative, try giving rewards when he is well mannered, and focusing on teaching him to behave in the way you desire using positive dog training.

8. Poor or insufficient training

Unless your Border Terrier is given a lot of attention and training from early on, he will act in accordance with how he likes rather than how you want him to. Most of the time this is not likely to be how you prefer your dog to behave, which is why you should make the effort to invest in good dog training.

9. Being territorial

In the event that your Border Terrier is being territorial and becomes aggressive when someone enters your home or comes to the door, it is likely that he is acting out of a sense of protectiveness.

Other considerations

His aggression started recently

Think about whether or not your Border Terrier has recently shown signs of being more aggressive than normal. If he has, there could have been an event that prompted him to begin doing so.

Things like getting injured, being hostile in self-defense, realising he gets rewards for his actions, or being mistreated are more likely to have caused him to unexpectedly become more aggressive. It can be useful to explore what else happened before he became aggressive.

When does he become aggressive?

There is a possibility that the timing of when he begins to become aggressive could play a role in his behaviour.

A dog’s overzealous protective instincts are more likely to be at play if he becomes hostile when you approach another person, another pet, or other aggressive dogs. Using positive association training in this scenario would be beneficial.

How to Make Your Border Terrier Less Aggressive

The best technique to encourage your Border Terrier to stop being aggressive depends on what is causing him to be aggressive in the first place. You have several choices, some of which are listed below. You’ll probably get the best results from a combination of these approaches.

1. Dog training with positive reinforcement

It is important to use positive reinforcement when training your Border Terrier, which means praising good behaviour while discouraging bad behaviour.

By rewarding him for not being hostile when he typically would be and for showing signs of non-aggression, you can get him to quit being aggressive.

2. Avoid positively reinforcing bad behaviour

As previously stated, there’s a chance that you’ve been encouraging his aggressiveness since you’ve been rewarding him when he engages in such behaviour. Rather, rewarding him for being good and using positive reinforcement training to improve his manner would be more beneficial.

3. Teach him to listen to you

To get him up to speed, start with the foundations if you haven’t been training him much yet. The more you train him, the more he’ll respond to your commands and regard you as someone to follow in the process.

4. Keep your energy low

It would also be beneficial to communicate with him calmly so that he is less inclined to get reactive to your own actions.

5. Don’t punish

If you reprimand your Border Terrier for misbehaving, he may grow resentful since he won’t understand why you’re punishing him. This can be avoided by focusing on teaching the dog correct behaviour through lots of positive reinforcement.

6. Maintain consistency

Consistent training is essential for Border Terriers. A single training session is unlikely to have a significant impact on your dog, but a few weeks of regular practice will bring considerably more noticeable outcomes.

7. Consult a dog trainer

A dog trainer or behaviourist is the best solution if you don’t know why your Border Terrier is behaving this way or if you fear that he may become more violent. As a result, you’ll be able to see how to properly train your Border Terrier.

Why is My Border Terrier Aggressive – Final Words

Aggression in dogs is a difficult problem to solve since it can be sparked by a variety of situations. You should not put up with your Border Terrier’s aggression, whether it is directed at you, other humans, or another dog. If you cannot manage the problem at home, you should consult a professional dog trainer for advice.

Thanks for reading this article. Keep up to date with Border Terrier Guide for more great posts about our canine companions.

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