I am having a party in a week and I'm expecting about 20 people. This will be a new experience for my 8 month old male GSD. He already knows many of the guests, but some will be strangers. He is great out in public (away from our home) - has never barked or growled at a stranger. He is a typical GSD however and is reserved with strangers, it will take him some time to warm up to a new person and I do not push him to do so.
The tricky part is that he is a different dog when it comes to our home. He will bark and growl at strangers coming to our house. Sometimes even at friends if he hasn't been exposed to them very often - especially small children.
My current way of handling this is that I always have him on a short leash and in my control when I answer the door. He is too young for me to trust off leash during these times. I've also tried going outside with the dog to greet the person and walking them in our house but that did not make any difference to Moose, he barked like crazy as usual. I will give him a few minutes to see if he gets used to the person and if not, I will crate him. Then I just have to listen to him howl
Sometimes he warms right up to the person (random guy to do a termite inspection) and other times he has to be crated and will snarl at the person (my little 5 year old niece) every time he gets a glimpse of them. Maybe he is just not comfortable around kids? I had her feed him some high value treats through the door of his crate, which he accepted but then started barking and growling again.
This party is for my daughters 21st birthday and we don't want anyone drinking and driving, so there will be a few of her friends that are planning to spend the night. Obviously I will have him crated safely in my bedroom for the night, but does anyone have suggestions on how to handle the party and guests in general?
I'm hoping he doesn't have to spend the whole day & night in the crate
That won't be any fun for him or me!