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LoveMyPuop 04-16-2014 05:09 PM

Held hostage in my own home. Help!!
Hi everyone. I have a 5 year old German Shepherd and a 3 year old Bernese Mountain Dog. I also have a 2 year old daughter and am currently pregnant again. The issue is that our German Shepherd is very protective of our home (especially now that I'm pregnant and my husband is gone all the time through work). I understand her need to be protective of her home and family but it's come to a point where I don't invite friends to our house or other mom's and kids for playdates because of her behavior. It scares other people and honestly makes me get nervous because I feel like I can't control her/that she doesn't listen to me when I want her to stop. She's great on leash and listens to all commands off leash very well too. But when it comes to having people enter our home she goes crazy!

It's all come to a head now that we have workers in our house doing some major repairs and I just can't deal with having to talk to the workers, keep an eye on my toddler, and stop my GSD from barking non-stop. If I put her in crate in another room, she barks the entire time and it's so loud that I can't hear what the workers are saying. She is so persistent and will just bark for hours then while they are walking around the house. So I have to sit with her in another room and bribe her with treats basically every time they walk by. Once the gate fell down and she ran towards a worker and her hair was raised and she jumped in the air near him and showed her teeth. Scared the crap out of the guy and made me really nervous since I couldn't get her to calm down.

When I used to have friends over, she would bark and circle them sometimes jumping (not on them, but in the air near them). She doesn't jump on me when I come home but my husband let's her jump all over him and wrestle. We used to do more training when she was younger but the last few years was a whirlwind with having a baby and a large move and my husband gone all the time. It became easier to just not have people over and have to deal with it. But I hate feeling hostage in my own house and want to make a change. Really need advice!! I love her to pieces and she is a great dog. I just don't know how to overcome my own fear with this as well. She definitely feeds off that since she's much calmer with my husband and his guests. Can you teach an "old dog new tricks?" I really just want to have people over when I want and not stress about our dog scaring everyone and barking non-stop. Is that too much to ask?

Pax8 04-16-2014 05:23 PM

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I would definitely get a good trainer who can do some one on one, in home training with you. It definitely sounds like something that can be fixed with training, but it is hard to coach you from the computer. Working with a trainer to teach her better behavior will help you build a stronger relationship with her so you are not just pushed off to the side in her mind as she seems to be doing to you now.

Good luck!

Oliver'smom 04-16-2014 05:31 PM

How about doggie daycare while the workers are around?
We had some work done in our yard last week and I knew Ollie would bark at the work crew (which included my brother that Ollie loves) all day from inside the house, so instead he went to doggie day care during the project to play with his buddies and get all his energy out.

This might help your dog and give you a little piece of mind when you need a break or want to be social.

In addition you need to keep working on her being ok with people you invite into the home. We have to work on this because Ollie has a habit of barking at the doorbell and jumping on anyone that comes through the door. I have enlisted my brother and sister to be our doorbell guinea pigs because they know Ollie and aren't scared if he jumps on them. We practice ringing the doorbell, answering the door and inviting them in over and over again. If he keeps his feet on the floor and no barking he gets a treat. He is improved but not perfect yet. Also, when we have people over, I give him a really yummy treat like a bone that he will be more interested in so he doesn't bug everyone.

Gretchen 04-16-2014 05:37 PM

Our vet does day boarding. We put our dog there while my kitchen was being worked on. The vet tech said many dogs come in just for 3-4 hours, like if the cable person comes over, or furniture delivered, during that window of time you often get.

Arlene/Archer 04-16-2014 05:52 PM

OP, last year, we had a team of workers outside the front of our house working to rebuild a porch on our home, and Archer was, naturally, 'suspicious' of them. To this end, whenever they arrived we brought him down the side of the house, made sure he saw them all, and thereafter took him for a walk, meaning he had to both leave and enter his home past them, by the second day he was oblivious to them, albeit he would bark when they arrived, but again, that was walk time and return time. He would never have let one of them down the side passage, but as far as he was concerned them working out front was clearly not a problem to me, so why should it be one to him.I think it really helps to 'introduce' a dog to regular workers, and try to relax around them and make it seem routine. In this way the dog looks to you how to respond, and it really solidifies the trust you have in each other's judgement. Either way, best of luck!

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