Dog VERY protective of our home
Hello! My boyfriend and I rescued Shepherd mix from reservation in CO about 9 months ago. He is a loving, smart boy. He is just about a year now, knows several commands, and generally listens very well. He has been a wonderful addition to our lives, and really I feel we only have one problem with him. He is EXTREMELY protective of our home, even when we are there. If a person he does not know very well comes by, he will growl very low and must be in their path. He has never bit anyone, but because of his size, I understand how it can be quite off putting to most people.
He is totally fine with good friends who he has known since he was a pup...he gets excited and will sometimes cry he is so thrilled they have come by the house. But if he is not totally familiar, he is definitely on edge. I have tried giving unfamiliar people treats, even people food, toys, ANYTHING to reinforce that new friends are good! Many times, he will except the treat from the person and go right back to growling. He was very protective of his food when we first got him, so I moved his food container to our spare room to eliminate the possibility that he was protecting it. I have told him no, scolded and will even put him the yard. He isnt all that vocal, but if he knows someone is in the house and he isn't he will stand at the back door and bark and cry like crazy.
We live in a very dog friendly town, and i bring him most places with me. It seems like he knows when we are in public that strangers are ok, and I have had many many instances where children or adults will come to say hello to him and he is more than happy to be touched or petted. He will spend time hanging out at my boyfriend's store and is totally fine with everyone that comes and goes. I bring him to coffee shops and restaurants around town, and again always fine. I can bring him to any park or riverway and he will play with any dog or run right up to any old person just to say hello. However, I work at a hotel and he does seem to display this behavior there as well. He will snap and is not very freindly inside the hotel...which is so odd.
Is he protecting me? How do I get him to stop? He really is such a loving and good dog, I hate to see people's reactions to him when he is like that. Although, I do understand.
He was in basic puppy classes when we first got him, and his trainer said he was very well socialized and friendly. On weeks that my boyfriend and I work a lot, we bring him to puppy day care some days and they said they have never seen an ounce of aggression from him. The trainer at his day care showed me some dominance tactics to use on him, and i will admit i tried, but was very uncomfortable with it and stopped.
Wow, dont know how this got so long..sorry! I have family coming for the holidays and would really like everyone to be comfortable and see what an amazing dog he is. THANKS for any suggestions!