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Sorry for the length of this post! I'm trying to include as much pertinent information as I can.

Let me begin this post by giving some information about my dog, Kit: She is two years old (almost), she's a rescue dog, and she is believed to be a mix of terrier and possibly chow, she weighs about 55 pounds. She's very hyper, very active, and very affectionate to everyone in the family, friends, and neighbors. She gets VERY excited when she sees new people. She will run in circles and bounce in front of them with her paws extended (but won't put her paws on anyone anymore, since we broke her of that habit). Sitting still is pretty difficult for her when someone is around and (when she is able to do it) she will sit there and twitch until she's given the command to go. She is very playful with other dogs and likes to play "tug of war" with toys and also likes to rough house and wrestle around a lot. She is not food or toy aggressive at all, however. She will let other dogs eat her food, drink her water, and play with her toys and doesn't care one bit. I've seen the neighbors dog take treats out of Kit's mouth before without Kit reacting.

She is well trained and will sit and lie on command in most situations (she's still a puppy though and does get distracted fairly easily), she won't leave the yard, even if all the gates are open, and when she does leave the yard, she will stay directly at my side and won't wander more than 10 to 15 feet. On an obedience scale of 1 to 10, I'd give her about a 6.

She does have one bad habit though, she is very "territorial" about the yard. Our yard is fenced in and she does have a dog door that allows her access outside whenever she wants, because she likes being outside. Before the dog door we ended up letting her inside and outside about four or five times an hour.

She will chase cars and people using the adjacent roads up and down the fence until they're out of sight, all the while barking madly. It sounds very ferocious. However, if anyone comes in the yard, she will run inside the house and hide, or else stick her head out the dog door and bark (unless they come on the porch, in which case she'll go back inside). Some people she will just follow around the yard and bark, for some reason. People who are timid around dogs usually won't even come in the yard, but people who don't seem bothered by her can waltz right in to the yard. If we "introduce" someone to Kit, she'll just sniff them and then has an "indifferent" attitude towards them.

Today she was pepper sprayed by a postal carrier from the outside of the fence, so the carrier could get inside the yard. The carrier continued to spray my dog while she was in the yard, until I went out and got Kit. The kicker is that our mailbox is on the outside of the fence and the lady didn't even need to come into the yard in the first place.

I'm concerned with her territorial attitude towards the yard, but I'm not really sure how to curtail it. To top that off, with the mail carrier spraying her from OUTSIDE the fence and then continuing to spray her while inside the yard, I'm worried that might make Kit more aggressive towards people on the outside of the yard.

Any ideas how to deal with this?

(I've already contacted the postal service about the carrier and am waiting for a call back.)

[Edit: I forgot to mention that she NEVER barks. She whines when she wants attention, but I can never get her to bark unless she's running along the fence line outside.]

This is Kitty Cat going bananas on her Wubba:
 

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1. Pepper spray the mailman.
2. Give the dog a treat.

He sounds like a great dog. Obviously the mailman was totally out of line. I'm not sure what you are trying to accomplish. Is the barking bothering you or the neighbors? Do you not want him to bark at people coming into the yard? Personally I like a dog that barks but doesn't attack - a low risk 'watchdog'.
 

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She thinks it's her job to run off intruders. This often starts out with just barking (alert barking...warning you of a possible intruder). When no one shows up to help her out she takes it to the next level....chasing/threatening.... but, then she also gets frustrated by the barrier/fence which makes it worse.

The key to reducing the anxiety is stepping in at the first alert bark...take over the 'problem'....show her that you're taking over and her job is done. This is not easy to fix as you have to be consistent and go out there everytime. Over time, she will learn that her job is done after a few barks.
 

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1. Pepper spray the mailman.
2. Give the dog a treat.

He sounds like a great dog. Obviously the mailman was totally out of line. I'm not sure what you are trying to accomplish. Is the barking bothering you or the neighbors? Do you not want him to bark at people coming into the yard? Personally I like a dog that barks but doesn't attack - a low risk 'watchdog'.
Thanks Peppy, I very much wanted to spray the mail carrier, but I was too busy trying to get my dog upstairs to wash her face off. Had I not been so concerned about Kit, I definitely would have had words with her, but this is the first time I've ever had a dog get sprayed, so I was freaking out a little bit.

She thinks it's her job to run off intruders. This often starts out with just barking (alert barking...warning you of a possible intruder). When no one shows up to help her out she takes it to the next level....chasing/threatening.... but, then she also gets frustrated by the barrier/fence which makes it worse.

The key to reducing the anxiety is stepping in at the first alert bark...take over the 'problem'....show her that you're taking over and her job is done. This is not easy to fix as you have to be consistent and go out there everytime. Over time, she will learn that her job is done after a few barks.
Thanks Tooney. I will keep an eye out for guests and try to intercept her before she can bark too much. It's just kind of hard since we live on the 2nd floor and Kit spends most of her time outside chasing squirrels and birds.Do you have any specific suggestions on how to let her know that I'm going to handle the "problem"?

She is a great "guard" dog though! Someone opened our front door at around 4am a few months ago (we live near a bunch of bars) and she chased them out of the yard. So while I don't really want her barking and growling and making noises at every person who approaches the yard, I can't really say the behavior irks me. I just don't want to take any chances on her getting to the point where she decides she needs to bite people.
 

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Do you have any specific suggestions on how to let her know that I'm going to handle the "problem"?
You step between her and the 'intruder'...clearly showing her that you're taking over. Thank her for the alert, use your Quiet or Enough command and now she can relax.
 
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