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Old 02-21-2013, 02:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Territorial? Reactive?

Sorry for the long post!

Within the last 6 months Kaiser has become (what I assume is) very territorial of the house. When a stranger enters the home or anywhere on the property he will charge and bark at them. If they stand still he will stop and back off while whining and pacing. If they move even 1 step he will charge & bark again. He makes no move to bite. This does not stop until I remove him to his crate, which of course is immediately. Obviously this behavior is unacceptable.

I feel that it is my fault that he does this. I never have guests over at my place. Ever. I don't have anything against people coming over, it just doesn't seem to happen. We meet outside instead like the coffee shop, so he has never really had the chance to learn how to acceptably greet strangers in the home. Outside of the property he is a perfect gentleman on or off leash, and he's getting older (will be 2 in April) which is why I think it's territorial, but maybe it's reactivity; I don't know since I'm not too experienced in these types of things.

Well now I live with my friend as my roommate and, while he doesn't have guests over very often, he does bring people to the house a few times a month. While Kaiser can always be crated or put in my room when people are over, that really isn't a fix to the issue. I'm annoyed with crating him every time someone wants to come over, but I don't really know the proper way (if there is a way) to train him out of this behavior by myself.

I know I should get a trainer or behaviorist, but money is way too tight right now for me to do that. The earliest I can possibly even think about spending money on a trainer would be April... more realistically probably not until June. So I guess my question is what can I do to stop this behavior on my own? The only thing I can think of is to practice with people coming over to the house, but I don't really have anyone to ask who'd have the time to do that. Plus I'm not sure that idea would work anyway...
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds more like reactive. Does he do this to your roommates or is he used to them now? As annoying as it may be to you, you need to crate him when others come in while you are working on it in controlled interations. The longer he is allowed to practice this behavior, the harder it will be to stop it.

Best thing to do is have his attention BEFORE someone comes in the house or on the property. Have him focus on you while they enter and once he is calm and they is settled, take him over to say hello (on leash).

Having a trainer to help you through the steps will be helpful because they will not react when he charges which is important.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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i am actually bleesed with max on this issue. He loves everyone, and the reson for that is SOCIOLIZATION. what i did when he was little is go into wal-mart parking lot and just stay at the entrance door with a leash on him. you won't believe how many people would come to pet him. this is a really easy way to sociolize dog. since his already reacting to other people i would start with food, everytime he acts normal give him a treat and see how it goes. It doesnt have to be Wal-mart, try gas station, park, etc. hope this help
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pshah0002 View Post
i am actually bleesed with max on this issue. He loves everyone, and the reson for that is SOCIOLIZATION. what i did when he was little is go into wal-mart parking lot and just stay at the entrance door with a leash on him. you won't believe how many people would come to pet him. this is a really easy way to sociolize dog. since his already reacting to other people i would start with food, everytime he acts normal give him a treat and see how it goes. It doesnt have to be Wal-mart, try gas station, park, etc. hope this help
You and the OP should realize that while socialization and exposure are important, some of a dog's reaction to his experience is also genetic in nature!

Can be worked with and trained of course, but an owner should notblame themselves for all of a dog's reaction.


And once a GSD gets a little older (altho still a puppy) many people will not want to pet him or weven get too close to a "Police Dog".
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm in the same situation, with people very rarely coming over. I don't mind the rushing the door with all the barking, because that's partly why I have a GSD, lol - but when I say, "Quiet" the barking has to stop. I also have a crate close to the door, and I tell my puppy to go into it before I let people in. He can come out and greet people when he's calm, and I ask my guests to ignore him. When he was younger, I *always* gave him a bone to chew on when I had guests over, to keep him occupied and settled in one spot.

My friends all like big dogs, so having him loose while they're here isn't a problem, but I still want him lying down beside me. Mostly to stay out of trouble in case I'm distracted, lol! But also, this way he's relaxed. If he breaks the "stay" then I tether him to me - he knows he can't win, lol, and is very reliable now.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Kaiser has known my roommate since he was ~5 months old, so he's always loved my roommate. The only times I've witnessed his reactivity at our new place is towards my roommate's brother and my landlord. For my roommate's brother it's been like that since the 1st time he visited. When he first met my landlord he was perfectly fine, but a month after we moved in he did the charge and non-stop barking so he's always been removed into my room when he comes over.

Interestingly, just now my roommate came back home with his friend who has yet to meet Kaiser and there was NO reaction whatsoever from Kaiser. No barking, no charging, just a greeting and he was fine. I think it could've been the fact that they didn't ring the doorbell (it always gets him ramped up and investigating the house for an intruder, even if I'm the one pushing the button right in front of him). Or maybe it was because the dogs and I were in my room instead of the living room when they came in. Those are the only things I can think of that was different this time as opposed to all the other times.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ok so it's definitely reactive behavior, but I don't think it's triggered by strangers. My hypothesis is that the doorbell is the problem. My roommate's nephew (high school kid) came over to help him with his car and Kaiser was perfectly fine with him, even begging him for food. Guess I will be desensitizing him to the doorbell and go from there.
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