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lyssa62 05-13-2014 11:00 AM

barking at people coming into the yard/house
How do I address the barking at people who make non frequent visits to the house? E.G plumber?

Roxy doesn't do well with new people entering the yard or house. She does her GSD big bark ...hackles are up ...but the backing up and tail wagging also come into play.
A friend of mine who has never been here before (and has an aggressive Doberman so not afraid of dogs) came to work on my water filter system...the WHOLE time he was here she barked. Of course he ignored it except for telling her that Gunner would have ate him at the door ....but do I get a muzzle? The stern NO ...doesn't work. Me walking into her space doesn't work. He went in and sat on the couch and gave her treats after he got done but she was still a bit leery of him. It takes her a good 3 times of somebody being here to completely trust them.

My best friends husband walked over to help me with something in the yard the other day and she was in her play area...she saw him coming up the hill...same thing LOUD bark..hackles up ...and everytime he would try to go up to her she backed up..barked and wagged her tail. I KNOW she isn't going to attack anybody and if he were to go inside her pen the first thing she would do is go get him a ball to pitch for her...but people who don't know dogs wouldn't get it. (they also have big protective dogs so he wasn't letting her bully him either).

What is expected of the two of us on these encounters? Like most everyone else I am ok with her barking like that until I give an OK...but how do I get to that point of a release you don't need to be on guard right now?

wyoung2153 05-13-2014 11:50 AM

254 Attachment(s)
Hello female Titan :p Seriously sounds similar to Titan. People had some great advice.. here's my thread.. Starts with more talk about the vinegar but then people start throwing in other ideas.

Here's my success story with a friend visiting..

But what I have found.. with this behavior.. if you truly have tried many different things.. you may have to crate or leash until she calms. I have started the meet and greet outside with Titan every time a visitor comes over and it has worked out awesome so far. For the infrequent maintenance workers, I do my best just to not have him in the room, or he is leashed to me the whole time if I need him there. We had some maintenance going on where they needed access to all parts of the house and both yards.. so I did the meet and greet with those workers. We went outside on lead and watched them work, when I was confident Titan was goign to behave.. he was taken off lead and we played fetch for a while. After that I still kept the lead on him but only just in case. I made him stick with me the whole time they were there though. Never alone with them.

I have pretty much gathered this... for the workers.. bark all you want. I don't care.. they aren't going to be staying.. they don't need to be social with Titan nor does he need to like them. For extended visitors, I ask them to call me before the get to my house and I wait outside with Titan and we greet and walk inside together. Impromtu visits, take a little more patience but for me, I answer the door and tell them to wait. I leash Titan and ask them to greet him outside then we can walk in together. I also always have a ball or toy to grab his attention because he is NUTS about a ball.

Hope some of that helps. I feel your pain.. completely. It gets better as you work on it and find something that works. Keep in mind too that what works for someone, may not work for you. I tried almost everything, and it seemed nothing worked until we found our meet and greet solution.

Good luck!!! :)

lyssa62 05-13-2014 07:10 PM

oh that's a GREAT idea about waiting outside and walking in. I'm going to give that a shot.
I know she's doing her job and I'm all about that..but just don't want to be enforcing a behavior I should be nipping in the bud. I think the most she would do once settled down is lick somebody to death -- either that or get them to play ball until they fell over

wyoung2153 05-13-2014 09:31 PM

254 Attachment(s)
I'm with you.. but you just never know. Titan has always been this way when he greets people and had started getting more "aggressive" in his approaches. If that makes sense? fully my fault for getting complacent with him (he won't hurt anyone, I THINK. Because you really just never know) He wouldn't do anything when he did finally get to them, he would jump up near them and bark and go nuts and try to find a ball to bring them... but the approaching was the first thing to warn me and I needed to reign that back in. Even though he never did anything I was still giving him the control in meeting the person and he was taking charge, sometimes being more in their face vocal than I care to admit. I needed to reign him in and let him know that I do the introducing around here. The introductions work SO much better on every level for us. And well... always having a ball, ha.. He's all mine with that ball :)

You can just never be too safe and while you may be 100% confident that she won't do anything, there could always be that ONE person that she just doesn't like. Have another thread about that ONE person incident. Really caught my attention.. here it is.. long read but this is just from a "I've been in your shoes" mentality and I don't want you to go through even the one incident before you decide to reel her in..

Sorry for being thread share happy. I learn best form others experiences, so I tend to share that way. :)

lyssa62 05-14-2014 09:09 AM

thank you again for taking time to help me out. OH I am totally afraid of finding that "one" person that would prove me wrong. I have noticed guys with hats on trigger more than women or guys not wearing hats. I may have to just have guys take their hats off or show them to her or something.
I always think about that part in Uncle Buck ( the movie)..."do you think it's the hat?" "some people hate this hat"...
And when we walk the river front...people on bikes go by response.. MOST people walk by with no response..but she is reactive to strollers. No bikes, not skateboards, no roller blades..but strollers. ??? And she doesn't try to attack them or anything it's just a bark and watch them till they are out of sight.

wyoung2153 05-14-2014 11:26 AM

254 Attachment(s)
No problem :) I know exactly what you are going through and it is very frustrating. Hope I was able to help!

E.Hatch 05-14-2014 12:17 PM

20 Attachment(s)
I do the same thing as wyoung2153. We very rarely have house guest so Eugene just isn't use to strangers being in the house and he's not comfortable with it. I try to meet them outside and have the introduction on the sidewalk and let him get comfortable with the guest there. Then we go in the house and generally he still barks but not like he does when someone knocks and comes through the door. I keep him on leash the entire time the visitor is there. He'll bark a couple of times but then he'll settle down. I treat him when he's calm and have the guest give him treats too. Sometimes, depending on who the guest is, we'll go outside and play ball for a bit to make it a fun positive experience for him. Again when we go back in he's leashed and with me the whole time and treated/praised for being calm. Strangers knocking on the door is still a work in progress :) I hope that helps!

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Ellimaybel 05-14-2014 12:29 PM

We usually put him in a sit and let him bark while we walk the guest up to him. As long as I'm with the guest and the guest isn't walking towards me he doesn't see them as a threat. I also think it's important that anyone who is a regular visitor, even if rarely, that you want your dog to be nice to should interact with him and play, not just give treats. If they just absently pet them while the dog is trying to get them to play I don't think that is doing a bit of good for anyone.

As far as strangers.... I let him go. I don't like people knocking on my door and if anyone has any intention of harm or future harm I let Gunther make it perfectly clear that they aren't getting into the house without permission.

Longfisher 05-14-2014 12:29 PM

Where's the problem?
I guess I have a different take on this "problem". And, that is where's the problem?

For us, at least, we want our male, intact GSD to be territorial and to protect not only the people who live here, but also, the property if we're not here. So, over the past about 19 months of my GSDs stay here we've trained him to bark at any disturbance on the property (door bell, knock, sound of footfalls on the bull rock drainage, talking, laughing, etc.) And, we want him to be suspicious of strangers, particularly those who we might meet and who might accost us on the street.

Actually, it wasn't all that easy to train him to do these things as he came from a breeder who championed even, easy to get along personalities in her dogs. So, he defends with some reluctance still and is often looking to me for encouragement if he starts barking at someone.

We just don't let others come in the house until he's crated (he goes to crate immediately on command). And, we don't allow anyone to come into the back yard without first putting him in his outside pen.

On the street, we as aggressively as needed dissuade people from trying to pet him or interact with him in any way. But I'll admit that he's come to know a couple of neighbors, generally men, that he seems to like a good bit and I'm not perfect in enforcing that rule with them.

For us what you're describing is precisely what we'd have wanted our GSD to do without having to do any training. Just another point of view on the topic.

Oh, my GSD also has a few things about people that seem to put him off. Tatoos, piercings, cowboy hats (although he's cool with baseball hats and other types), a person carrying a yard tool or skateboard, two unfamiliar people at a time approaching him, anyone walking or riding a bike or jogging up behind him, especially in the dark and quick movements (once a young girl wanted to approach him but threw her backpack down to do so scaring the dog).


Longfisher 05-14-2014 12:39 PM

One thing you might try...
...there are a couple of very interested young people on our street who want to interact with my GSD. And, they were fearful of him initially as he reacts territorially to folks who knock on the door. Seems that once he gets his dander up on hearing the knock he's pretty wired for a while. So, it's hard to make young folks comfortable with him.

So, to introduce him to these children I first take him off his own properly and go to their homes. Then I walk my GSD in front of their home back and forth until he's settled in about the setting. Then I ask the child to come out and stand about 20 feet away and chat with me about meaningless things for a couple of minutes to assure the dog that I'm comfortable with them.

Then I tell them that I'm going to walk the dog back and forth a couple of times and that I want them to fall in abreast of me to my right (dog at heel on left) so that we can walk and talk together. But their position is important. They must be on my right opposite of the dog.

In that fashion, I can appear to the dog to be guarding them. And, I watch him carefully for any reactions other than just obedience to the close heel. After about two minutes my GSD seems completely at ease with them and slowly approach them when we stop to sniff. Then he rather loses interest in them and sniffs elsewhere.

I've never had a problem using this approach. And, for the two kids that have an interest in my GSD I then turn the leash over to them and we trade places which allows them to walk him. He's perfect on that so far.

Lastly, I let them walk him alone. Again, he's perfect on that, so far.


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