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Hello,

I have a 5 yo German Shepherd who is really territorial, and whenever someone come to the house, the first reaction is some barking (before even knowing who it is), then if is someone that she knows well it is all happiness, BUT when it is someone who she never see before, or it's been long since she last saw him/her, she gets agressive, barking a lot, and like "going over the one who is entering" (never bite anyone, it's more like a threat), but, if the person likes dogs or is not afraid and let her smell him/her, then she calms down and "let him/her come inside"... but when someone don't like dogs, or is frighten by the "welcome" she keeps barking at him/her for long time in a threatening way.

I train her in many aspects/things, and she is in the "overall" a good behaviored dog, but this behaviour is killing me, because I can't even bring people to my house...

Is there a way I can teach her to behave or teach her that when I kiss/handshake the other person, "is because is a friend"...? Any tips or advice?

Thanks a lot.

(sorry for my non native English)
 

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Whew, tough, but perfectly normal. She's acting exactly like a GSD. :)

I like my dog to alert bark, but I don't want it to go on forever, lol. I always get up to check what it is and look out the window and say "Thank You, Bailey, it's ok." He'll then usually calm down, but won't stop looking out the window and if is a new person, he is very, very interested. That's okay with me.

Now, how we got here. When he would alert bark, I would say as above and I would draw him away from the window and give him some awesome yummies. I mean good stuff, like doggy meatballs or cheese or whatever high priority. I'd work farther from the window until he almost forgot about what was outside. He might go back and check, but he knew I had those meatballs and those became more interesting.

So that's step 1. Diffuse it from a distance. People outside aren't bad or anything to worry about, because you told the dog it was ok and great things come when dog trusts you that it is ok. Can you get someone to just pull into your drive and do no more than stand there while you work this? It may take quite a few times.

So on to step 2 once step 1 is accomplished. Dog interested, not obsessed is the goal of step 1.

Person is going to come in the house now. Start with friends who are not afraid of your dog. They need to be neutral and be able to follow instructions. :) It shouldn't be someone your dog knows well, because you say that isn't the problem. You need your dog to learn to accept a friendly stranger on your say so in what your dog sees as her territory.

I would put your dog on a leash for this. It is just safer for all involved. You also need the highest priority thing in existence to your dog, whatever that is. HIGHEST. Position yourself a distance from the door where they will enter. You'll also need another person to greet the "stranger" while you work your dog. The new person comes in, makes some small talk with the "greeter" and you are there, away, treating the dog. Every time the dog focuses on you (work on a Watch Me command) then doggy gets one of those super duper treats. Eventually you'll work closer to the person. The "stranger" should have some of those high value treats, also... so when you have managed to get close without reaction, the stranger drops their treats. Stranger should not speak to the dog, nor look at the dog. Just randomly drop treats.

If you get to the point your dog is calm with this, you and stranger could try to progress inside the house, with stranger dropping treats as they go.

At least that's what I'd try. It's a lot of work, I know.

Thing is, you have to work *with* what comes natural to the dog, and not try to quash it. This kind of thing is a very, very common GSD issue.

If you can't ensure the safety of a visitor, you may have to crate the dog while they visit. That wouldn't be my preference, but as you can see, working with this is time intensive. It is easier when they are young, but that doesn't help you out now. :)

Good luck!! (Baby steps, don't hurry anything!)
 

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Very well said Sabudo. She could also go over to germanshepherds.com, and post there. They can be brutally frank, but they know what it is to have a territorial Gsd.
 

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Welcome to the forum..
Great advice from Subado. :) I love the "Thank you"..I do that also.
How long have you had her?
Has she always been this way?
If not, has anything changed since she started doing this?
When I adopted a Shep (1 1/2 years old) she would not let anyone in the door if I was not standing right their. She would stand on guard/hackles up for a long time. Outside she would not let anyone in the gate (same body posture as inside). They would have to honk for me to come out. It took a couple of years of not pushing anything. Having people come in and letting her approach them. Once she saw they were okay she would go her own way. After those couple years she would look to see who it was but was fine/get happy to see people she knew..:)

How do you feel when you see someone coming you know she does not know?
 
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