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Old 08-20-2012, 01:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 5 month old GSD puppy barking at people

My 5 moth old GSD puppy Kiba, barks at people with his hackles up. He barks at strangers on walks and people invited into the house. For example last week my aunt was visiting, and it took him about 2 days to stop barking every time he saw her. I really wish he wouldn't bark at people. I always make him sit, and stay when he sees people, as well as give him corrections every time he barked at her. I also wish he wouldn't bark at dogs when he sees them. How do I build his confidence and help him understand he needs to be ok with people we allow into the house.
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Socialize him as much as possible! Even if it's just at a distance to start, parks, ball games, farmers markets, benches outside of supermarket are all wonderful venues for exposing your dog to different people, this doesn't mean letting them all approach him and go in for a pet. Since I've brought Gaia home I've become a pro at people watching and it's helped her around strangers.
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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"My 5 moth old GSD puppy Kiba, barks at people with his hackles up. He barks at strangers on walks and people invited into the house. For example last week my aunt was visiting, and it took him about 2 days to stop barking every time he saw her. I really wish he wouldn't bark at people. I always make him sit, and stay when he sees people, as well as give him corrections every time he barked at her. I also wish he wouldn't bark at dogs when he sees them. How do I build his confidence and help him understand he needs to be ok with people we allow into the house"

Realistically what you wish to happen may not be possible. For a pup to continue barking at a house guest for two days tells something about his temperament, as do the hackles on walks. This dog is really unnerved, very insecure. Socialization can only do so much .

Instead of sit and stay , which are depressing to the animal and allow too much time to focus on what they fear, keep moving , change your pace . Movement and speed - forward and passing , not away from , create brain chemicals , endorphins , which are pleasant . There can be an association with "stranger" and pleasure . Too much static and going close forcing friendships works against you. Dog is clearly telling you he is not comfortable. Don't bring him to the threshold where flight becomes fight (fear bite). Don't correct him when barking compounding his stress - fear of what he is facing and fearful of your response.

So MANAGEMENT , which may be life long management is the answer . When company comes , put him in a safe , closed crate on the perifery of where you all hang out and let him watch , without attention from anyone . Just watch and analyse , at a distance , without pressure or expectations.

Now if he can't handle the stress in that situation and barks or tries to get out , then you know the magnitude of the problem and have some decisions to make .

gaia's ideas are good but for this animal that would be too much stimulation , too many stressors, and the handler may be taking action (embarrassment / anger / frustration because people are watching and have expectations for him to do s o m e t h i n g , anything . Plus this is a loaded environment where the handler has no control of the environment. In the privacy of his home , one person at a time , willing to co operate will be better .

sorry - better to grapple with reality and have a half chance

Last edited by carmspack; 08-20-2012 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hire an experienced trainer who uses the gentle techniques(checkout:APDT.com). You don't need to put extra pressure on this pup. It is worrisome behavior and needs to be addressed asap. What is his back ground, age of adoption, socializeing in the litter, parents etc?
Never correct him for fear as it will increase. Instead add distance and play, treat and do fun things with him while he can see the stressor but not react yet.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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What has worked with my puppy is to redirect her, and say "leave it". Well, I taught her what leave it means at home with treats and a clicker. It really helps to just redirect her. With your dog, turn him around and give him something to do so he can be rewarded.

With my puppy random things set her off. But she has gotten so much better with frequent outings, redirection, positive reinforcement. If you get tense your dog will pick up on that, so stay in control by getting him to focus on what you want. He should get better but stay on it!
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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A little more info about Kiba. He used to bark at people while on a leash, he now can walk by and look at people while on leash. He still barks at dogs while on leash, but once he sniffs them all he wants to do is play and is completely fine. The only people he's had in the house when he was littler was me, my mom, dad, and boyfriend. He is now ok with my close neighbors. He still will give one bark but not like he used to. The trainer that I first took him to said that even if he backs away form people, push him towards them. I guess in doing so we totally screwed him up
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Old 08-21-2012, 12:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookmans1 View Post
The trainer that I first took him to said that even if he backs away form people, push him towards them. I guess in doing so we totally screwed him up
I work based on success. You have to expose them at a distance where they are still comfortable and reward them with play, treats and toys. Then inch your way towards the 'issue".
Remember that you cannot reward or punish an emotion like fear or aggression. What you can do is change his emotional response to "the issue" by associating it with a good experience. Then stop when he has done well.
In the meantime you continue breathing, as dogs are experts in picking up cues from us. Also pay attention that if you see he is afraid, that you remain relaxed so no shortening the leash or give him commands like "Quiet" etc since he won't hear it if he is already zoned out.
When I work with dogs like this and "the issue" has just popped up unexpectedly (like around a corner) I gently, happily but firmly but without a collar correction (to show him that you know what you are doing) turn him around with a "let's go!" and increase the distance between the dog and "the issue" and work with him right there and then.
This method has been very successful for me ever since I started working with the positive techniques.
BTW: the only material I use is a six foot leash and a martingale collar. never have to use anything else, no matter which dog I work with. (except the tiny ones who just need their regular collar or a harness if short nosed)
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