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shawnshayan9 03-27-2014 10:51 PM

Protective of house getting scary
My german shepherd Hunter has become very protective of the house anytime someone he doesn't know rings the doorbell and comes in he goes nuts barks and growls like crazy. I have a prong collar and I yank it and make him sit and he still won't stop. Or if he does stop after a while and the stranger comes up to him he barks and almost tries to bit. One time someone came over and he was barking like crazy and jumped on her. I really don't know what to do I need help!! He is 6 months old. I got him at four weeks and he has always been a little scared of people but he is getting better with that. But getting more protective of the house.
I would love your help!

Thank you so much

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SunCzarina 03-27-2014 11:09 PM

A 6 month old isn't protective. He's trying out the big scary dog act because he's going through his second fear period.

You need to make everything happy and fun now. Enlist people to come over, hand them a bag of treats or toys to give to your puppy. Keep him on his leash and when he accepts a person (because you said to), he's the best dog in the whole wide world! If he barks and acts like a lunatic, shame and crate for the duration of the visit.

TigervTeMar 03-27-2014 11:13 PM

you'll definitely need to put in work to get your dog over it but it'll happen one day if you stick with it. I would start by getting a piece of wood and just knocking on it sometimes and then praising her if she doesn't react and also using food. when ppl are over use a delicious treat to distract from the barking. Czarina is right, into the crate for bad behavior! should start choosing good behavior and food really quickly

DutchKarin 03-27-2014 11:17 PM

I would enlist the help of a trainer. The reason is that you may be creating superstitious fear/aggression with your use of the prong collar in that circumstance. "Hey look, new person, I'm worried, I'm looking at them, barking at them and then OW!!!!! screaming pain in my neck... NOW I hate them and am really scared of them because they made my neck hurt. I must get them to leave... etc"

TigervTeMar 03-27-2014 11:30 PM

DutchKarin is right too. one time I had my puppy in a pen and he wanted to get out and was whining and whining. so I squirted him repeatedly whenever he whined with water from a spritzer bottle and after a few minutes he was freaking out like I've never seen before. his focus became on escaping the situation and nothing else. I never tried that again, negative reinforcement can definitely make things worse sometimes. i feel like a prong collar would be even worse than a spray of water

selzer 03-27-2014 11:36 PM

I agree with the superstitious fear -- this is not like supernatural or anything like that. You have a dog who is afraid and all the sudden he gets zapped or bitten by the prong, it makes him more afraid which makes him act out even more and sooner.

You got your puppy very young, and it is possible that he lost some valuable development within his litter. It effects a lot of stuff, like dog-body language, and bite inhibition. But there are some dynamics we should consider. A pup in the litter is not afraid because he has his dam and littermates there. For the first 8 weeks, new situations can be experienced in a very safe manner, because your dog learns from how calm his mother is, and realizes there is nothing to fear

Now, you got a dog that could barely see, and hear. His eyes had been open for about two weeks and his ears about the same. Usually about 3 weeks they start paying attention with the littermates and start playing. But most of the time they are eating and sleeping and pooping. The dog was socially undeveloped.

That huge section of time when he should have experienced things under the safety of his dam, and littermates he did not have, and then at eight weeks, when they have a pretty good feeling about lots of stuff, they get their first major check and are separated from the litter and have to transfer their allegiance to you as the great protector. Now, I am treading on some thin water here, the transference happened earlier than it should have and the dog may not have gained that intitial boost of sink or swim with changing the environment of dam and littermates to new human owner and family. Because he was too young to really be afraid of everything and anything, he found that you provided edible food, and that was enough. But that was definitely some stepping stones that really didn't go as they should have.

You cannot change that now, but your approach in dealing with this issue needs to take it into consideration that this dog may need remedial socialization, and you may need to gain a whole lot of confidence so that your dog will accept you as the great protector, like the dam in the litter.

Lots of young'ns at this stage go through some pretty fear-scary stuff. But I would definitely work with someone on this. Teach your boy that you are a fair and consistent leader, by setting him up to succeed and praising him for it, and by making rules clear and enforcing them properly. As he builds a bond with your through training and leadership, he will learn to trust you, and he won't have to act like such a nut.


I am sorry your breeder let the dog go so young. That should only happen if the bitch and the rest of the litter dies. And even then, the breeder should try and find a substitute female to try to bond with the dog and teach the dog during that period.

shawnshayan9 03-30-2014 07:13 PM

Thank you for the advice. Please keep it coming.

He always wants to sleep by the door and and when he is bored during the day he goes by the door. I feel like he does this because he wants to protect the house.

What should I do so he doesn't bark when people ring the bell or come inside do you guys no any training methods for this.

I'm a little confused about how to do the knocking on the wood technique.

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SunCzarina 03-30-2014 07:30 PM

I always thought my dogs napped against the door because there was a draft with different smells coming under it.

Find some dog friendly friends who are willing to help you with him. Have treats ready at the door for everyone who comes over to give him. Have him sit before you open the door. Try not to be tense (Oh this dog better not react!) If he's not a good friend, he goes in his crate (or another room).

Alert barking isn't a problem, what if the door bell breaks? How would you know someone's there? It's the acting like a bouncing jumping loonie dog when someone comes in.

Chip18 03-30-2014 07:31 PM

I dealt with "people aggression" myself. I would lose the prong or find someone to instruct you in it's proper use. Never needed it myself and you're actually ammping up you dog with it.

You can't "force" a dog through this. You need to gain his trust he's deciding friend or foe that's your job.

I think this thread will be helpful. :)

EmilyB 03-30-2014 07:38 PM

I would highly recommend you find yourself a good trainer.

Your dog is young enough to correct this behaviour, mine unfortunately was not by the time I found someone to help using more positive methods.

Find a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist « ACVB

They can do a full workup and hook you up with a good trainer. You will be so glad you did.

Some good reading is Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt and check out Grisha Stewart's BAT methods.

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