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faileh 02-24-2014 10:14 PM

I just bought my first GSD three weeks ago. I am beginning to have problems with her barking at anyone (besides me or my boyfriend) who comes in the door or down the stairs, especially in the bedroom. I am unsure of how to correct this behavior or what is causing it. I have an evaluation for obedience lessons this week but any tips would be super helpful! Thanks!

sechattin 02-24-2014 10:39 PM

When I was dealing with this, I worked on redirecting my puppy's attention on other things. Interrupt, redirect, reward good behavior. An interruption can be any sort of noise that distracts from what the dog is doing. I tend to clap because my dogs listen to it, a friend of mine would stomp her foot once, very hard. I tend not to say anything because I don't want to make any vocal reaction that the dog might take as me joining in. So, interrupter and once the dog looks at you have something they like ready - a piece of food to lure them away, a ball to chase, and rope to tug on. Something that will occupy them on to something positive. Then we just have a super fun game for five minutes or so. The big thing is you want to be absolutely consistent with it. Interrupt, get them to look at you (don't put a toy or piece of food in front of them while they are barking or they may think they're being rewarded for barking) and once you have the attention be quick in redirecting it. When you get a chance to start the obedience, you'll be able to distract them and do some training instead, or use a good strong "leave it" command. As long as you're consistent you can get some good results. My dogs have learned that we bark once, maybe twice then run back to mom to see what's next.

faileh 02-24-2014 11:02 PM

Thanks for the advice! She has been scaring my roommates. I also do not want the trainer to try and label her as "aggressive" because she is normally great in public places.

Shade 02-25-2014 08:37 AM

Have you been working on shaping using marker training using either a clicker or voice? Dogs will naturally bark and I don't believe in removing the behaviour entirely but you can certainly shape the behaviour to make it useful. You can use the same shaping for guests at the door as well.

Allow one bark and immediately mark and reward (you will need to be fast!). The puppy soon learns that barking is acceptable but you want one bark or two barks max before hushing and coming to me looking for the next command. Keep a small bag of treats in the bedroom and practice a few times a day, the pup should catch on quickly and realize doing it the way you're asking gets the most praise :)

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