New Member
My dog ,rusty, has started barking at strangers, again.
He will go up them and bark his head off. Which scares people Because they think he is aggressive.

I always tell him off for it, but he seems to be the same, any idea?

He also gets quite agrgessive to my mother in laws older dog. Trying to bite him and attack him. Help!

We have two dogs , him [rusty] and a four year old dog called louie.
They seem to be very jealous of each other and constantly fighting for attention with us. When we call one dog, the other one comes. They play quite hard. They are fine on there own though.

What should I do?


Honored Member
Hi iloveanimals - I see you're a fairly new poster, welcome to the forum. You don't say how old Rusty is, or what kind of dog (or maybe you did in a different thread and I missed it) so I'm not sure if he's a big dog or small, nor what age. I don't know what kind of social background Rusty has, nor how long you've had him, but my guess is that the reason he's barking at strangers is that he's afraid of them - dogs often bark at things they're afraid of to ward off the scary danger .. barkbarkbarkbark ... stay away so I don't have to bite you. You "telling him off", punishing him, correcting him, etc, will only do more harm than good - and as you've seen, won't solve the problem - it won't make him any less afraid. You're now making him not only afraid, but adding stress to his fear, oh no, I'm gonna get told off or punished in a minute, so I'd better hurry and get that scary stranger away quick!! Then the association can become - I get punished whenever a stranger comes by - keep them away, keep them away - barkbarkbarkbark - oh no, they're coming closer - barkbarkbarkbark - yep, I couldn't keep them away, and I got punished. See how it goes?

Consider taking a new approach. First, don't put Rusty in a position to have to deal with many strangers. If you're on a walk and a stranger is coming towards you, see if you can take a slight detour - cross the street, step into the street if it's safe (to give Rusty a wide berth and space to himself away from the scary stranger), if you're in a residential neighborhood, take a few steps up into someone's driveway til the other person has passed, etc. See if you can arrange some help with friends/neighbors that Rusty doesn't know, give them something really good and high value, like chicken, beef, hot dogs, cheese, something Rusty loves!! Use something really high value, not just packaged treats. Plan this in advance so the person already has a handful of these incredible treats. Stand someplace outside, maybe your driveway or the sidewalk, and have this person walk by making no eye contact with Rusty and not walking too closely, and just toss Rusty a treat as they walk by - and just keep going. No hand feeding, nothing of the sort - just toss him something wonderful as he walks by. No stress, nothing asked of Rusty. Strangers = great things. Scary strangers now make chicken rain from the sky. Huh? Repeat this over and over and over and over, day after day after day after day. Depending on how stressed Rusty is, he may or may not be able to eat the treat. Hightly stressed dogs can't eat, and that's ok - but Rusty will soon come to realize that these strangers make great things happen. This may have to be practiced over and over and over with as many people as you can come up with til Rusty finally begins to calm down. Then and only then can you begin to let him come closer and closer - and maybe finally begin to take treats out of a "strangers" hand. Keep practicing - you'll finally notice that Rusty will begin acting calmly around strangers. Please give him all the time he needs tho - they need to do things on their timetable - not ours.

In your post you say Rusty scares strangers off by his barking because they think he's aggressive. One thing you must realize is that a fearful dog can become a fear-aggressive dog - this fear can lead to biting. Rusty can easily become a liability for you, and a danger to others. Please start working with him in a positive fashion so he can overcome his fears and become calm in the presence of strangers.

Patricia McConnell's "The Cautious Canine" might be a good book for you to read - it's actually a booklet, very inexpensive, but might prove to be helpful for you. It's available thru amazon or dogwise. Good luck!


Heya Don't know if this will help but one of my 6month puppies see's themselves as a guard dog also.. She does like to bark once or twice if there is any ppl near the perimetre of the property if i acknowledge that i hear she has told me that person is there she does tend to stop if she continues after i say " ok or sure i see them..." tan move to a different tone with a submitting command "enough" if continues say at the fence while you are at the door or on the deck move out to the dog move infront of it and block its view give a light but able to be felt touch repeat command in previous Tone. >>

>> when you move up to block what they are looking at you may need to move up and down the fence oonce or twice to keep blockking the dog incase they look for a better vantage point to continue.. I have moved to an easier less stressfull technique breaking the attention with an oii or her name and asking her quickly to do something she associates as plesent eg. up on the lounge go.
GOod lucK! Happy training always more progress :) they are always learning


Honored Member
great advice on this thread!!
Maybe this video can also be helpful. I spent a long time desensitizing my rescue to ppl, and later, after Buddy HAD decided ppl were okay after all, i came to notice, that Buddy had a fear of ppl in furry hoods.
(our winters are brutal, and many ppl here wear hoods in the winter). So we spent time desensitizing Buddy to ppl in furry hoods. NOW Buddy is fine with ppl in furry hoods.).


Honored Member
Re: your dog bites your inlaw's dog. We'd need a lot more info to tackle that one, and since this here website is mostly a TRICKs website, here is a thread i once posted in one of the dog-aggression groups i belong to, on 7 things that helped *my* dog---all dogs are different, and what helped my dog get better (not cured, but better) may not help your dog:
the comments below my post on that group may also be helpful to consider, too.

At any rate, dog-aggression is such a complex matter, probably beyond the scope of a trick-training board, and you might do better to post such questions over in that group which specializes in managing dog-aggression.

It is best if YOU learn all about how to manage your own dog, if you are not committed to learn up on managing these things, then you should consider hiring a dog trainer or dog behaviorist, who uses POSITIVE ONLY methods.
I have learned a lot from Kikopup on youtube, who is FREE and has MANY youtube videos on behavior problems,
as well as "On Talking Terms with Dogs/ Calming signals" book by Turid Rugaas.
I am still learning to this day, after almost 3 years now!! It is a process!

IF YOU DECIDE TO HIRE OUTSIDE HELP----Here is a thread which may offer help in learning HOW TO SELECT a good trainer:

(be aware absolutely ANYONE can hang out a sign "Dog Behaviorist" or "Dog Trainer", they are NOT all equal. Many trainers will be great for helping you teach your dog agility, but have NO experience with DOG AGGRESSION, and even less success stories with aggressive dog rehab,
which is almost a specialty area in my opinion.
SO DO ASK for their experience, and their success stories.

AND ABOVE ALL, go observe a trainer in action prior to letting them anywhere NEAR your dog. NOt all DO what they SAY they do. I've had "positive only" trainers yank and yell at my dog.

WAYYYYYYYYYYY too many trainers and behaviorists recommend shock collars, yanking, scaring the dog, punishing the dog, etc etc, for managing dog aggression, and that is a decision i hope you are able to say "NO" to.
Not *ALL* behaviorists are 'positive only', meaning no punishment or fear is used in training, this is a widespread misconception that *all* behaviorists avoid fear/pain in their training methods, because some WILL.

Dog aggression can be a difficult matter to learn to manage, some cases are more difficult than others.
I would not allow those 2 dogs to be together until you've learned how to manage an aggressive dog, or, determined which triggers set your dog off.-----doorways, gates, TOYS are huge triggers for many dogs, food, etc etc. Some dogs are already over their threshold just be being in a over-exciting locations, like Petsmart or dog parks or big parties.

It is very probable that those 2 dogs are going to need EXTENSIVE and on-going desensitization efforts if they *must* see each other, to be able to stay calm, but, this CAN BE DONE. My own gangsta dog HAS become pals with some dogs in our lives, that BUddy originally 'hated'.---------------- It CAN be done, one dog at a time, but it takes a while, isn't accomplished overnight.

and it is also possible, these 2 dogs will never ever be pals and you will have to keep them separated for life if you are unable to successfully desensitize your dog to the inlaw's dog.

Yelling at dogs who are fighting, or getting ready to fight, does absolutely nothing, btw.
The key is prevention. If a fight does break out, water is one thing you can use to disrupt the fight in progress. Reaching in for dogs may cause injury to you.

The more minutes of his life that your dog spends fighting, the more difficult it might be to rehab him, so you want to learn how to prevent all fights. Good luck! and do hang in there, and do not give up. YOu can help your dog become a better, happier, more-secure and calmer dog,
and *you* will:) learn a lot along the way.


Honored Member
It is also possible your dog is not truly a generally aggressive dog in general, just does not like your inlaw's dog. Some 'normal' dogs do not like 1 particular dog here or there. You don't say whether or not your dog gets on well with *most* dogs.
Even a dog-aggressive dog like mine, CAN have doggie pals. Many dog-aggressive dogs DO get on well with their own house-mate dogs, or dogs they do know well,
but, can't get on well with most other dogs though. Levels of dog-aggression can vary, and again, your dog *might* not be a truly dog-aggressive dog overall.
Still, learning how to handle that volatile situation to prevent escalation is important to get started on. BEST OF LUCK!!