My dog is too protective ?

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by tigerlily46514, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Our new dog, that we got six weeks ago, Buddy, age 3 to 5, is now showing a new problem we've never had in any previous dog..
    When we visit friends who have dogs, Buddy won't let our friends' dogs get near me. Buddy will put himself in between, and even growl or snarl if any other dog comes close to me.

    So, now, mostly, i ignore the other dogs. Then it dawned on me, well, Buddy may interpret this as i do not want the other dogs near then I've tried this: When the other dog comes to see me, i treat Buddy for letting the other dog near me--IF i can reward in time before Buddy snarls about it, which is not easy, as Buddy is pretty watchful. Soon as Buddy finishes his treat, he growls at the other dog being so close to me.:dognowink:

    I am open to all tips, advice, insight. I want Buddy to be happy calm dog.

  2. CollieMan Experienced Member

    Speaking as someone who regularly home-boards a variety of other dogs while their owners go away on vacations, as well as owning my own Border Collie, there are several potential reasons for this I suspect.

    You are the provider of your dog's food, play, affection, security, and a whole raft of other things. It's in your dog's interest to protect them. Coupled with the fact that the dog has only been with you for six weeks, and things are, I suspect, a little uncertain in his mind.

    It might also be that he is a little fear aggressive and has learned that if he snarls, growls, and makes all the right gestures, he can scare other dogs away without having to sacrifice himself. Usually, despite all the posturing, it's not in a dog's interest to fight. The only time I see conflict in dogs is when it comes to them protecting what is most valuable to them - food usually being the highest value, but also toys and affection too to a lesser degree.

    I can't help thinking that, given the above, your introduction of food may serve to exacerbate the situation as it is such a powerful resource for many dogs, but without seeing the issue first-hand it's hard to tell.

    Something tells me that this situation may well resolve itself in time as the dog becomes more confident in its new situation, and, more importantly, in the relationship between you and he. But, if you don't act, then he may well see it as acceptable behaviour when clearly it isn't.

    If it were me, I would do exactly the following:

    Dog growls. Say 'ah-ah', or whatever other word/sound you want to indicate to Buddy that he has made the wrong choice. Clip a leash onto the dog, walk him into another room (or outside) and leave him in there alone for a minute. No words, no nothing. After the minute, return the dog to you and carry on. If he growls again, repeat, extending the time by ten seconds or so each time. The idea being that Buddy is in charge of what happens. He can make the choice to not growl and be rewarded by keeping your company and being involved in what is happening, or he can growl and be temporarily excluded.

    I see that Buddy is a BC so he'll quickly work it out. Id' be surprised if you had to conduct many repeat performances.

    Hope that helps.
  3. snooks Experienced Member

    CM's suggestions sound perfect. If this is resource guarding (you) and then he growls again after a treat you may be adding another resource unintentionally to guard (food). Once he learns that this growling gets him outed calmly to another place he'll stop. After all he wanted in the first place was your attention. When you take that away you take away his motivation to growl all together.

    It's very good that you notice and are acting on this behavior. Most people don't until it's become habit and is much harder to retrain.
  4. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    oH COLLIE MAN AND SNOOKS!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS INFO!! Now why didn't i see this!!?? This does make perfect sense!! Oh, thank you, this is just what i will try, i bet you are right, and i feel pretty sure this is gonna help my smart lil Buddy figure out,that growling is not needed/wanted/fun/or neccessary!! PERFECT!! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!
  5. snooks Experienced Member

    Just be patient and calm. Resource guarding takes a little time and I have other ways of helping like teaching leave-it, trade, wait, and some self control for the dog if you need them. I'm sure others do too. My older dog was a bit of a resource guarder but now she'll leave or give up anything b/c she knows there's a better trade up in it for her.

    Before another dog comes to visit pick up all resources like toys and beds if you feel the need to keep the stress to a minimum. They like you are all resources. :dogtongue2: Good luck and good work!
  6. marsala Active Member

    Hi, I found this thread and since Tigerlilly's problem is so close to mine I thought I reopen this thread for more questions. I can definitely understand the resource guarding part, my boy does exactly the same - puts himself between me and other dogs but does not do this when he is walking with my husband which leads to a question if he is protecting his "mother" for some reason?
    He is not good with other dogs - long story short, he has always been with our rescue staffy mix girl who is not that keen on other dogs (I think she thinks she is a human) anyway so they only play with each other. My Staffy goes to see other dogs but doesn't really interact with them and I guess My Boxer has learned that from her. He is not comfortable with big dogs, nosy dogs, too friendly dogs, too playful dogs, too dominant dogs etc. He can deal with smaller dogs but even then does not really know how to play with a dog - it is like my dogs just do not understand other dogs at all?
    The problem is that he has never had much confidence for some reason - he is better than he was when he was a puppy, but still he gets really nervous around other dogs. IF a dog comes to sniff him and it is a bigger dog, he slinks down, hair on his back raises up, leg goes between back legs and he tries to get away but unfortunately other dogs just keep going after him (just being friendly) and he starts growling. If the other dog doesn't get the "hint" he snarls or barks and immediately, if his "sister" is around, she will come to rescue and they gang up on this third dog and chase it away quite aggressively.
    She is fine on her own, he is sometimes fine on his own but together they are just a bunch of trouble. Unless they have their balls and playing keeps on going to distract them. I always carry leashes with me and usually if it looks like situation gets out of hands, I leash at least him (difficult to get them both when alone with them) and immediately she usually calms down. I am just wondering if I am causing or aiding this somehow even if I try to stay calm and use happy voice to call them when other dogs bother them and keep encouraging them to follow me ? When I leash him I feel I am enforcing the idea in his head that he really needs to protect me? Am I completely wrong? They are not aggressive towards humans, he really loves other people but they just do not like other dogs. She is better but if she is leashed, she has really leash aggressive behavior and she seems to go all "bring it on..!!"mode.
    They are both otherwise submissive, she seems to have been beaten up when she was small (before we found her) for she still expects to be beaten or sth if she is been told off (she hunches down scaredly) even if we have never used physical force on them. He mimics her and if he has done anything wrong, he hides and just shivers there...
    My husband is really dominant, I am not so and get nervous and even scared with these situations for I do not like any aggression around me. We love and cherish them for they are our "children" but feel bad when they act like that towards other dogs. I wish I could teach them to ignore other dogs completely - I have seen that kind of dogs and truly admire them.... Can you please give some insight on this for I can't really give them time out outside when we go for a walk... Thank you!
  7. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I would like to re-re-open this as marsala has received no replies. I know this is pretty old, and tigerlily has since found Buddy to be truly dog aggressive. She is not currently active on the forum, but I am interested to know if the advice CollieMan gave helped her in the long run.

    I am finding Brody to be both protective and fear aggressive at home. He has managed to bite two young women who are friends of my oldest daughter. Neither of the bites are serious, and the girls are sympathetic to our situation, dealing with a young rescue dog with issues. However, we want to move beyond simply managing this problem as it is very difficult to do and we have made some costly mistakes.

    Brody is a smart dog, and he seems to catch on well to the ideas of impulse control and making better choices. When someone comes to the door and he goes into protective mode, we have been crating him. His crate is about twenty feet from the door, so he can see who is coming in, but can't get there, so he goes pretty crazy, even released his anal sacs once (this is a nasty habit of his, any time he gets good and scared). I met with a trainer on Saturday who suggested not crating him, but putting him on a leash and taking him further from the door, to where he was calm (not sure our house is big enough for him to get that far away!LOL) She thought crating him was too frustrating as he was able to see the visitor, but not get any further or closer. She recommended the use of a product called Rescue Remedy to help him deal with his fear and hopefully prevent the anal sac problem. She also told me that I was using the wrong tone of voice with him when correcting, too appeasing, not taking charge of the situation. (I had been talking to the trainer on the phone when Brody began barking in response to the neighbor's dog. Because I was on the phone, I quietly told him "okay, that's enough", which he ignored.) She told me to use a more forceful tone without shouting, not to coddle him. Now I wonder if I have put the poor boy in the situation of feeling like he has to be the pack leader, needing to protect his family from visitors even though he is personally scared out of his mind. Does this ring true for anyone? I know there is a lot of conflicting information about what a pack leader does and how to establish yourself as the pack leader to your dog. I was focusing so much on the idea that Brody was shy/fearful/reactive that I may have gone too far and reinforced his fear without letting him know that I would protect him. When he was rushed by off-leash dogs, I did nothing to protect him, I just tried to get him under control. So maybe now he is unsure of his security. I welcome all suggestions and comments.
  8. jackienmutts Honored Member

    I think there’s so much going on with Brody, I don’t think it’s just a matter of one thing, or your tone of voice, or just once incident of him not feeling protected by you during an off-leash attack. Brody seems to be an over-all very insecure dog who may very well need life-long management and reassurance. What exactly happened when Brody bit your daughter’s friends? What were they doing? What did Brody do? Did he give a warning that was ignored? Most dogs do.

    I agree with the trainer that crating Brody isn’t the best idea. Any situation causing him to defecate is obviously way too stressful for him. Being crated when someone new (or someone he feels threatened by) comes into his home/territory must be very scary for him – he’s confined, feeling scared, has no control whatsoever, and his only physical reaction then is to release his anal sacs. Sad. I’m wondering if there might be a room with a baby gate or secure xpen you could always take him to – so he could see who’s coming in, and so have room to move around, but be “safe” from the ‘new’ person (house rules: #1-don’t touch or look at the dog, #2-toss a treat in dog’s direction and keep on walking). You might also want to keep treats on hand and ask him for “quiet” – and when/if he does, reward him. (People come, he gets good things). The more secure he feels, the quieter he’ll get. I think right now, I’d quit worrying about the “pack leader” thing. As your relationship develops with Brody, a trust and respect will come naturally – and with that trust, will come more relaxation on his part. It can’t come until he trusts you’ll keep him safe. Talking firmer, yelling at him (not saying you do, just using examples), barking commands, using “sssshhht” as a tv personality would have you do – none of these will work if the dog doesn’t trust you. If Brody is worrying for his safety, he’s going to continue to yell .. in dog … BARKBARKBARKBARK (someone is coming, omg, do something, help, they might be dangerous!!!!)BARKBARKBARK!!!!!!! The more comfortable Brody feels with his surroundings, his life, his family, and “intruders”, the less he’ll carry on, and the less he’ll physically have the need to defecate. I feel sad that he’s that nervous/anxious – he can’t help what he’s doing, his body is simply responding to an amount of stress it can’t handle.

    Rescue Remedy in Brody’s water is a good suggestion. In addition, you may also want to try a DAP diffuser or collar. They are available at pet supply stores, probably at Petco, Petsmart, etc. Are there times when Brody is truly relaxed at home with the family? I know there have been strains with your husband and son (was it your son? or daughter?) – sorry if I’ve gotten confused. I think Brody needs to go really really slowly – baby steps. I’d first start trying to establish strong bonds with each family member before even attempting to ask Brody to meet friends. If there is a baby gate or xpen across a room doorway you could put up, I’d try that. If someone comes to the door, ask them to wait, put Brody behind the baby gate/xpen, and only then let them in. And new house rules would be NO ONE who doesn’t live there pets Brody. The more secure he feels (meaning, he’ll come to know/understand that once he's behind that barrier/baby gate/xpen no one is going to approach him, try to pet him, make friends with him, etc), the faster he’ll relax. Once he relaxes, you can ask a baby step from him. Maybe then .. and only then .. some ONE can come a bit closer to him and see if he’d like to approach them. Do have people toss him treats occasionally, but that’s where it ends. People who come over mean good things for him – but they don’t bug him, they don’t pet him, they don’t scare him, they don’t tease him (heck they don’t even need to look at him). EVER. (Again, not saying this ever happens, just stressing the importance of making sure it doesn’t).
    Brody may never be a social dog. Some dogs just aren’t, like some people. Some are out there, the life of the party. Some are recluses, preferring to be alone. Hopefully given loads of time and patience, Brody will come to realize that people are good and can be trusted. I wouldn't ever ask Brody to go faster than he can go - and from what you've said, it sounds like Brody needs to go really slowly. Let him be your guide. Let him take that big deep breath and relax in his home. Let him show you that he knows he's safe there. You can give him that - give him a safe place, where he knows nothing will be expected of him, nothing will happen to him, where he can just "be" and observe.
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  9. 648117 Honored Member

    I think dealing with dogs that go crazy when people visit is one of the hardest things.

    Lewis does this too and it is so frustrating.
    Lewis has snapped at a couple of people but not made contact. All the snaps have been the humans fault for "trying to make friends with him".
    Once Lewis calms down he will sometimes go over to the visitor so they think he "wants to be friends" and they start/try patting him, he doesn't want to be friends he just wants to investigate them a bit so he tells them not to pat him. The problem is Lewis does not growl before he snaps. He does give warnings but it seems most people only understand a growl as a warning.
    It has taken a while to get our regular visitors to understand that no matter what Lewis does, no matter how friendly he seems to be acting, do not pat him.
    I think we will always tell people not to try to pat Lewis. I don't think he will ever be comfortable with strangers patting him (even visitors he see's every week).

    I think Lewis' main problem is being insecure. But he has improved a lot, I think the 'people visiting' stress must be the last to leave.

    We got Lewis at the start of December last year. He is so much more confident, but he still has issues with visitors. So we have had him for 8 months, you haven't had Brody that long. It will take time. It sounds like Brody is much much worse than Lewis so it will likely take even longer for him.

    Also, fear is an emotion so you can't really reinforce it. For example, if you were afraid of spiders so everytime you saw a spider you got given some candy and something calming said to you it is not going to make you fear spiders more (it will actually do nothing or make you fear spiders less).

    Here's an article I found doing a quick google search:
    It even mentions dogs that are afraid of visitors.
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  10. brody_smom Experienced Member

    The first instance, I was out in the yard with Brody. The girl was coming over to pick up my daughter, and asked to meet him. I thought outside was better than in the house, but didn't have him on a leash. I planned on just holding him by the collar, as we were playing ball and I had treats on me. When she approached our side gate, about 4 feet high, he ran toward the gate, barking. I called him back and he move toward me, but then turned around and ran back, I think because my daughter was there. He put his feet up on the gate, still barking. The visitor reached her hand over the gate to let him sniff her. That's when he bit her hand. No blood or puncture, but painful.

    The second time was just this Sunday, after our trainer had suggested we not crate him anymore when someone comes to the door. My daughter's friend had just knocked and I was going downstairs to where my daughter was to tell her that her friend had arrived, and secure Brody down there. Meanwhile, my other went to open the door. She thought I had Brody secured already, but when he heard the door open, he spun around and ran upstairs, again, barking. The girl had barely put a foot in the door when he rushed at her and bit her leg. She was wearing distressed jeans, so he was able to make contact with skin, but didn't break it. He backed off right away and I was able to grab him to prevent any further contact. Actually, I was unaware that he had bit her as I was not as quick as he was in getting up the stairs. My daughter told me two days later. This was totally a case of miscommunication since my other daughter should never have opened the door until I gave her the okay to do so. I didn't have him on a leash at the time. Maybe I need to keep him leashed at all times just to be safer. I always leash him when I take him outside to prevent him rushing the fence to bark at the neighbor dogs.

    He does relax in the house quite a bit. He is not the typical tense, frightened dog that jumps at every sound. He has become desensitized to many things that used to set him off. He was even able to just stand and watch the neighbor's chihuahua as she poked her nose through the fence and yapped her little face off at him yesterday.
    And he was great at the trainer's house, very calm with her, which I guess is pretty normal since she know how to ignore dogs and let them come to her on their own terms. He met two of her dogs and played off-leash with them for about half an hour. A very positive experience all around, which we both needed. On Monday my parents wanted to come and meet him, so I suggested we go to the park. They tried walking around, but, of course, they had to look at him, so he started barking. Then they just went and sat in their car with the doors open. We talked very quietly and calmly and just let Brody investigate at his pace. He's pretty curious, so he did eventually go up to my step-dad (who is 91 years old) and sniff his hand and later licked his hand and arm. My mom got out of the car and just stood there talking to me but not moving at all, not looking at Brody and he sniffed her all over and then let her touch him. I was very pleased with him, and my mom was relieved, as she had been telling me that morning that if I put him down, I wouldn't have to feel too bad because it was really painless, no worse than a shot. After meeting him, she could see that he has such potential to be a great dog, and that he is really great with my younger kids.

    I am really noticing the difference in his reaction to strangers, depending on whether they look directly at him or not. He can be almost completely calm and slightly curious toward someone who pays him no attention at all. But the moment they look at him, especially if they smile, which is hard not to do because he's so handsome, he starts to warn them off.
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  11. jackienmutts Honored Member

    I'd really back off letting anyone pet Brody for a while, let him sniff anyone he wants, but just let him "be" for a while. It's stressful for him, every time someone wants to pet him. Granted, he may not "do" anything, but he's under lots of stress. Let him just get to the point where he's not feeling so anxious around people - maybe set a time limit, decide for the next 4 weeks, or 8 weeks, or ??, no one but those living in your house will be allowed to pet Brody. Once he figures that out (that he's not going to be asked to interact with "strangers"), he'll be able to start relaxing around people, not worrying oh nooo, now they're gonna want to pet me. Give him a break for a while. Take all the pressure to be social off him. He doesn't like it, or he wouldn't be biting. Just give him some breathing room. In a month, or whenever you decide, then re-evaluate, see how he's doing. Maybe he'll need more time, or maybe he won't be so worried. If he's doing better, then let him meet ONE person over the next few weeks - not a bunch of people. In the meantime, make sure everyone in your house is playing by the same rules. Sit down and have a family meeting. Doorbell rings, and whoever is going to answer the door makes sure (with their own eyes) that Brody is where he needs to be. I think keeping him leashed at all times is no life for a dog. Having somewhere for him to go - a safe spot - behind a baby gate, behind an xpenned area, somewhere where he can see the visitors, but not have to interact with them - is a better and more realistic idea. Let him observe them - but from somewhere he'll consider safe. And make sure anyone entering your house knows the rules - NO PETTING THE DOG. None. Sorry, yes, he's cute - but NO PETTING THE DOG. NO RULE BREAKING. OFFENDERS WILL BE BITTEN. (and deserve to be). I think you need to slow way down with Brody .. WAY down. He's not a social guy. Maybe with a lot of slow SLOW and patient work, he can be. But he's far .. way far .. from it right now. Don't rush him - cuz I think if you do, it could have very dangerous consequences. And sadly, Brody will be the one to pay the highest price.
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  12. MaryK Honored Member

    I agree with all the above posts. Jackie is right!!!!!!!!! You need to BACK OFF....WAY OFF.....with Brody. He's not your social butterfly dog, possibly never will be, which doesn't mean he'll keep biting people either.

    I had a GS a while back, she would take a minimum of 18 months yes EIGHTEEN MONTHS before she would allow a well known visitor to stroke her - and then only ONE small stroke along her back! I recognized, early in her life, she wasn't a social butterfly, so warned all my friends, NOT TO PAT THE DOG SHE DOESN'T LIKE IT!!!!!!!!!!! By so doing, I avoided having her bite anyone. And by the way, I was a teenager then with a load of friends who visited all the time. Fortunately they all got my message.

    A baby gate or an xpen is the answer for when people visit. And, as Jackie has said, NO EYE CONTACT...NO PATTING.....NO SPEAKING .....NOTHING except they can toss the odd treat for him without any contact, eye etc..

    Brody needs to be taken VERY VERY SLOWLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wouldn't be worried about him 'making friends' or 'being friendly' at all, just allow BRODY to take his time. He's obviously very, very afraid, dogs only release anal sacs when they're beyond being just a bit scared, that means deep seated fear. He's a great dog, and deserves to be allowed to develop in HIS time not your time.

    Forget the pack leader stuff, that's old school, and has proven not to work. Neither does using a harsh tone of voice etc. (not saying you do though) he's already scared and using harsh tones, or even very firm tones, will just make him worse. Confining him to a crate just exacerbates his fear, he cannot escape, he's trapped!!!!!!! That's what Brody is feeling and it's BRODY'S feelings you have to watch out for, visitors can be warned and as Jackie said if they don't heed the warnings BAD LUCK. Make a sign saying DO NOT PAT THE DOG - IF BITTEN IT'S YOUR FAULT! Or something like that, so they 'get the message'. It's harder at times to train humans than dogs!!!!!!!!!!

    When and ONLY when Brody is relaxed enough and showing it clearly (see the dog body language site I sent you) then just ONE person, who's calm, centered and will observe BRODY approach, but not until Brody is ready.

    Rather than talking about having him euthanized, I would be looking for someone who understands dogs with issues like Brody and consider having him rehomed! As you said, in the trainers house he was relaxed and did very well. It may be that your household isn't suitable for Brody, too many visitors, sounds like he would prefer a quiet, no visitors household, or one which will allow him to just chill when visitors come. He's a gorgeous dog, and people would want to pat him, BUT Brody doesn't want them around him, and he's showing them the ONLY way a dog can! A dog cannot say 'please leave me alone". I know there are times when I don't feel like interacting with people, not from fear of course, but just because I need my 'space' and the worst thing anyone can do is ask 'are you in a bad mood, what's wrong etc.?" LOL believe me I can snap if they keep it up - I just need my personal space for a while - Brody needs his personal space ALL THE TIME at present with people as he IS afraid.

    What has caused this could be anything. It may just be in 'his genes' - like the GS I had, her Mom was very reserved too. He may have had a bad experience before he came to you - who knows - but what you have to deal with is how Brody feels NOW!!!!!!!!!!!
  13. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I don't think I have been pushing him at all. Since we got Brody in February, we have had a grand total of 6, count 'em, 6, visitors to the house. (Three of those have been the same person on different occasions). That means people who have come all the way inside and stayed more than a couple of minutes. The two who got bitten were just coming to the door, one was outside the gate, the other had just put her foot inside. Neither of them was trying to pet Brody, the one girl was letting him sniff her hand. When strangers come to the door, ie, salesmen, Jehovah's Witnesses, neighbors telling us our headlights are on, the homeless guy collecting bottles, etc. I usually put Brody in his crate for the safety of the stranger as I am usually the one to answer the door and can't hold him back at the same time. The layout of our house wouldn't suit the use of a baby gate or ex-pen. Yesterday a friend of my daughter's (who has met Brody 3 times) needed to come inside to change her clothes, so I took Brody to an upstairs room and closed the door. He still barked at the sound of her voice, but he would take food and lie down.

    When he met my parents the other day, he was totally in control of distance. He didn't pull on the leash, I kept it loose, but just let him move toward them as HE initiated. My dad just sat in the car, looking straight ahead, chatting quietly, and lowered his hand so Brody could approach, which he did. When he wanted to back off, I let him. When he wanted to move forward, I let him. He was mostly relaxed, but cautious. My little daughter and I were nervous, but the leash was slack, and we just carried on a quiet conversation the whole time, giving Brody treats and verbal praise for any movements toward Grandpa. ON HIS OWN, Brody moved close enough to sniff his hand, then his lower arm and eventually gave a couple of licks. We didn't over-react in our excitement, just treats and happy "good boy". The same with my mom, but she actually stepped out of the car. He sniffed her over but good, up and down her legs, back and front, then her hands. She was great, just stood there quietly even though she really wanted to crouch down and pet him. She was the one who had talked of euthanizing, not me. I had told her that if I returned him to the SPCA, that's what would happen, and she was trying to console me that it would be painless. She is a dog lover, but not to the extent that I am. She is concerned that my love for my dog is clouding my judgement, and I am putting other people's safety at risk because of it. I was so happy that the meeting with them went well, so that she wouldn't have any misconceived ideas about how "bad" Brody is. At one point, after he had been sniffing my dad's hand, Brody walked over to where my 11 year old daughter was sitting and just lay down with his head on her lap. She was about 7 feet away from Grandpa.

    What I am most concerned about right now is how to help Brody feel calm and unthreatened when anyone comes to the door. There are still times when he will bark and rush to the door when it opens, even when it is a family member who didn't need to knock before entering. I want him to look first, bark later, if at all, rather than always barking at the opening of the door. I don't want him to feel the need to protect us from anyone, but how do I let him know that HE is safe? He knows the names of all our family members, as well as the sounds of our cars pulling up to the house. If I hear or see someone coming home, I will say "Daddy's home," in what I believe is a calm, cheerful voice, but he will bark anyway. If I don't say anything, he will bark at the sound of the gate, the door, and the sight of the person coming in. It's not an aggressive, scary bark, or an alert bark, but it is a little low and growly, similar to his "talking". He never barks at me or my three youngest, only my husband and two oldest kids. I feel like if I react to someone arriving by pulling Brody aside and making him sit and feeding him that my timing is sometimes off and I don't know that I am reinforcing the right behavior.
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  14. southerngirl Honored Member

    These videos might help you. I know he is barking at the door because he is scared, but maybe this will help.

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  15. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Thanks, Danielle. I had seen the middle one before. I don't think I want to try that. It may just be coincidental, but is seems that Brody began barking more after I tried to teach him the "speak" then "quiet" commands. It was like I was giving him a license to bark, now I can't revoke it! I liked the first and last videos, though. The door training is something I had started with Brody earlier, but we kind of stalled because I needed some volunteers to go outside and open and close the gate, open and close the door, knock and so on. I am unsure of whether I should start with the door and work back to the gate, then have people just approach the house with him watching at the window, or the reverse, where we work on the approach first. And by people, I mean the three members of my household that still get the unfriendly greeting.

    I have used the technique in the last video several times and it works like a charm. Unfortunately, it seems I will have to use it over and over with each person who comes to our house until he generalizes and/or learns to trust that we wouldn't ever let a threatening person in our house. Just getting them in the door without being bitten would be a major victory at this point.

    I am working my way through an e-book called "The Dog Aggression System", by Jackie Ferrier, who is the founder of She has a lot of really good tips and suggestions and a 5 stage system to work gradually through different exercises. I am nearly finished reading it through, then I will start implementing the system. It is very similar to "Click to Calm", but more in-depth and user friendly as the author uses less trainer jargon.
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  16. southerngirl Honored Member

    Hmm... Maybe start with the gate because that triggers Brody's reaction, than do the window once he doesn't react to the gate, than the door.
    Just keep using the third videos techniques with every single person. I have to use the same techniques for every single dog for Missy and I have been consistently doing this for 9 months. She has improved a lot, but still reacts to dogs.
    MaryK and brodys_mom like this.

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