I'm desperate. Please help me.
Hey, everyone. I've been a member of the forum for a while now, and our female GSD, Vesper, is almost 20 months old. She is my absolute best friend and I adore her. 90% of the time she is the perfect dog, and the other 10% of the time she is a complete terror. Let me explain.
She is incredibly reactive when people arrive at our house. From the moment the doorbell rings or someone knocks, she goes into a barking frenzy. Nothing I do can snap her out of it. We have tried the place command and the quiet command. We have tried crating her or taking her out of the room until she is quiet. None of it works. She just barks constantly. She knows she isn't supposed to, but it's like she genuinely can't help it. Even when she is trying not to bark, she lets out little yips because she can't contain herself. For example, when we are at my parents' house visiting, their two dogs will bark when a guest comes over. However, within a few minutes, they will both settle down and relax. Vesper continually barks the whole time the guest is around, even with people she has met many times. She doesn't like to be petted, which is fine, but I just would like her to be quiet. I have already contacted a trainer who I am hoping will be able to help us, but I wanted to check here as well.
Another problem... When she isn't barking, she's growling. She has pretty much stopped barking at people on our walks, but she will growl and snarl at them. She knows that she isn't supposed to bark, but again, it's like she can't stop herself from making a sound. I KNOW she's afraid and is insecure, and it's not necessarily "protective" behavior. I just don't know what to do to help her. We have tried working under threshold. I just don't know what I'm doing wrong (yes, I know that I'm the problem), and I need some advice.
~Vesper~March 28, 2015