Introducing Strangers into the Home - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-24-2014, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Introducing Strangers into the Home

Hi there, I have a 6 month old German Shepherd from West German show lines (father and grandparents all titled in Schutzhund.) We have taken him twice to be evaluated for the sport but aren't sure if he will be a good prospect for it (this is our first time venturing into this.)

Recently when we've had family over visiting he will bark then avoid or turn away from them. Is there a method that anyone can recommend as far as how to introduce welcomed guests into the home? We use the command "say hello" when greeting other dogs and have tried this with guests but he's not having it. On one occasion he stood inbetween our children and my mother in law and barked at her and shook her up a little. We try to limit correcting him in case the schutzhund training does pan out so I'm not sure how to handle "strangers" in the home. Any tips would be appreciated.

Thanks a bunch
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-24-2014, 08:35 PM
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Hi Bosco,

A six month old does not get to decide who is allowed in the house and who isn't, Schutzhund training or not. Your dog should be deferring to your in these matters, and you need to up your control of the situation.

This behaviour is a mix of resource guarding (standing in front of the kids), and fear (barking at strangers that you have welcomed into your home).

For now, this is a situation that you need to manage - I would crate the dog if people come over, and give him time to get used to the person being in the house, and seeing that their presence there is normal, and then see how he acts once you let him out. Being out loose with company is a privilege he needs to earn. I wouldn't worry about correcting the barking - dogs quickly figure out in what situation barking is okay (SchH training), and when it is not (having company over).

Lucia


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-25-2014, 01:03 PM
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I used to have people coming over give me a call a few minutes before their arrival, so I could leash the pup up and meet them outside. The fashion in which my pup would greet people coming into the house versus out on a walk was markedly different, so I went with the more "civil" version. I then took the leashed approach into the house while having the dog on a down/stay and the pup was released from the down/stay once she had acquired a bit more of a calm to the company who had entered the house. Kept the leash on for correction if she chose to lose her cool. The process seemed to work fairly quick. Last night, we had 13 people over for a Christmas eve gathering plus a 4 month female rough coated Collie. This is not a typical event in our house but it went without a hitch. My GSD was on a down/stay with me in the kitchen ( 20 minutes plus ) while guests filtered in and out and conducted herself wonderfully. Once I released her, she had a calm which prevailed over her and I wandered around with her as she greeted others...basically I was ensuring she minded her manners...which she did.

Something a member posted recently made great sense during the event last night...essentially..having solid behavior/performance per your command in light of all the distractions and lures for the dog to lose it's marbles is a gigantic plus. In my case, her down/stay is pretty solid......... ( always room for improvement ) and it has benefited so many other situations which I never thought of when teaching extended down/stays.

I completely agree with Castlemaid's comment " A six month old does not get to decide who is allowed in the house and who isn't, Schutzhund training or not. Your dog should be deferring to your in these matters, and you need to up your control of the situation."...my quick version of that is " you're the sheriff ".

Company versus "strangers" appearing at my doorstep are two completely different events....my dog knows the difference...most likely because the dog is keying on me and my behavior. Once again, Castlemaid makes a valid point ..." Being out loose with company is a privilege he needs to earn. I wouldn't worry about correcting the barking - dogs quickly figure out in what situation barking is okay (SchH training), and when it is not (having company over)."

SuperG
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-26-2014, 01:18 PM
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I have a question, which I hope is not too far off the thread topic. I think the down-stay is a great thing, but how do you achieve that? My pup is 8 months old, does a nice sit, down, etc., but how do you teach the stay?
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-26-2014, 03:01 PM
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I'm betting some people much smarter than me can give you good advice.

I just proceeded from the down...once the dog was down..I introduced a verbal stay command coupled with my hand sideways in front of the pup's face...verbal command and hand signals can be of your choosing. If the dog stayed for the shortest of time, I would release the pup before she broke on her own and then reward...I didn't necessarily reward for the down portion just the "stay" portion. I would increase the duration slowly but surely and be aware of the slightest signal the pup might give which suggests they might break the stay.

As the pup learns..start to introduce taking a step or two away from the pup while they hold the stay....

I don't know if this is correct...but even at basic obedience they didn't distinguish between a "stay" and a "wait". A stay to me means...I will come back to the dog and release it...a wait means I can walk/run away and then recall the dog. Different hand signals for both commands.

If you are using treats to entice the pup in a down/stay..I might keep the treat lower so as not to induce the dog to stand up..make it as easy as possible for the pup to succeed.

Once my pup knew the basics of a down/stay I practiced it for longer and longer durations until the dog would stay put for 20 minutes or more...I might be out on the deck drinking a cold beer or two, enjoying the afternoon...and then on occasion flipping the pup a treat or two for it's proper performance.

Now that my dog is 2 and change...I believe she fully understands a down/stay is always rewarded at the end of the hold..whether it is a food bit or more likely some praise and physical contact.

SuperG
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-26-2014, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the advice! We will definitely have him in the crate next time and let him settle down before allowing him to come out, I also like the idea of having him on leash so we have better control over the situation. One minute he will be fine then something may set him off so we definitely need to work on the down stay as well. He does down stay at his classes/home/outdoors but we haven't tried it with guests in the home and need to work on the length of time he does it. Thanks again I really appreciate it!
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