By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Barrier Aggression is a type of canine aggressive behavior in which a dog feels trapped or threatened in an enclosed area.

This can occur in various closed in areas including behind a fence or gate, inside a crate, being tethered or even being on a leash. It can mimic territorial aggression and many times may accompany it, but barrier aggression is much more specific in that it forces the dog into a psychological corner. This is because the dog feels that his/her options have been removed because the trapped in feeling has now diminished the chance for either avoidance or flight behavior.

Dogs naturally and instinctively avoid conflict first and would choose flight over fight and this is where the challenge is presented. Without the options of avoidance or flight, the dog is consequently forced to either fight or submit. Frustration, fear and anxiety quickly turn to seemingly aggressive behavior.

It’s important to take a step back when redirecting this behavior and deal with the fear and stress and not the aggression. Structure and safe boundaries are necessary and daily tasks should be presented so that the dog can feel safe with clear and direct guidance.