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My 18 month neutered male GSD is driving me crazy with his incessant barking at the housekeepers when they come to clean! It is this high-pitched ear-piecing bark that sets all my nerves on edge, as I’m sure it does the housekeepers’!
I have to put him in his crate, because otherwise he follows them around and tries to grab their rags and broom and such (yes, I’m trying to train him not to do that, but in the meantime, he’s in his crate when they are here). I can’t put him out in the yard, because he barks there, too, and then the neighbors complain. He is wagging his tail the whole time, so I think he wants to play, but he can’t play with the housekeepers! He barks at me if I mop, sweep or vacuum, too, but I ignore him and try to be quick. He is fine while they are upstairs (sometimes I let him out of the crate on a tie-down when they are upstairs), but, as soon as he sees them, the ear-piercing barking and whining starts. I have tried distracting him with a bully stick to no avail (plus I feel like that’s rewarding him), as well as giving him commands like “sit!” which he ignores in his excited state. I think one of my housekeepers is afraid of him, so I need to fix this. Advice?
Oh, on a possibly related note, he also barks at anyone with a cane or walking stick when we are out walking. He once barked at a blind man with a cane, and the poor guy nearly jumped out of his skin. (I thought he heard us approaching, but I guess not). His seeing eye dog barely glanced at us.
 

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Sorry, I'm not trying to be mean or critical or whatever...but I couldn't stop laughing when I read your post. It's one of the funniest posts I've read in these forums. I laugh because of your description of it but also because it sounds just like my 2 boys did in the beginning. Eventually they stopped on their own. I'm constantly vacuuming and wiping the floors so maybe they just got used to it. My previous one would just get up and walk away. The current one will just casually saunter to his "place" or crate and just hide out until it's over. But they'd be watching me the whole time as if they're part of the quality control department, ready to tell me, "hey, you missed a spot." I don't know what kind of advice I could give ya, but that behavior just went away on its own with my dogs. I think the more you fight with them or keep them away from the activity, the more they think of it as a game. If you don't respond to that behavior, eventually they'll just get bored and wait it out.
 

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My 18 month neutered male GSD is driving me crazy with his incessant barking at the housekeepers when they come to clean! It is this high-pitched ear-piecing bark that sets all my nerves on edge, as I’m sure it does the housekeepers’!
I have to put him in his crate, because otherwise he follows them around and tries to grab their rags and broom and such (yes, I’m trying to train him not to do that, but in the meantime, he’s in his crate when they are here). I can’t put him out in the yard, because he barks there, too, and then the neighbors complain. He is wagging his tail the whole time, so I think he wants to play, but he can’t play with the housekeepers! He barks at me if I mop, sweep or vacuum, too, but I ignore him and try to be quick. He is fine while they are upstairs (sometimes I let him out of the crate on a tie-down when they are upstairs), but, as soon as he sees them, the ear-piercing barking and whining starts. I have tried distracting him with a bully stick to no avail (plus I feel like that’s rewarding him), as well as giving him commands like “sit!” which he ignores in his excited state. I think one of my housekeepers is afraid of him, so I need to fix this. Advice?
Oh, on a possibly related note, he also barks at anyone with a cane or walking stick when we are out walking. He once barked at a blind man with a cane, and the poor guy nearly jumped out of his skin. (I thought he heard us approaching, but I guess not). His seeing eye dog barely glanced at us.
Kias does this. The biting the brooms and mops is related with the walking stick. Try scooting your foot around in the snow or in water really fast. I bet you'll get the same response. (Just once. If you do it more it will become a crazy behavior.)
I think it's just a mentality some dogs get. I guess it's the brooms, vacuums, brushes, and any weird looking, fast object combined with the noise it makes. I haven't looked into the mentality behind it. He even does it when I brush my hand quickly on a piece of paper! I just have been desensitizing him to the objects of his excitement and he calms down slowly. But it definitely takes time.
Your dog has probably learned to associate that crazy noise with the housekeepers, causing his barking behavior when they are in sight.

That's my guess. I could be wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
He always barked at brooms and the vacuum, but just started with the people with canes and the housekeepers. He also suddenly started barking and lunging at other dogs when we are walking. I don’t know if that’s related to the canes/housekeepers, but I talked to the trainer we’ve worked with before about the barking and lunging, and he put him in his socialization class, which I’m hoping will help with that. He has a female GSD “girlfriend” now ❤. The trainer thinks he just became old enough that his protective instinct kicked in, and that’s why the barking at dogs behavior started. I forgot to mention the barking at the housekeepers the last time we were there.
I sure hope he grows out of it soon! My ears can’t take it!
 

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Can he not stay in a crate for a couple hours while they’re there?
 

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Can he not stay in a crate for a couple hours while they’re there?
I would’ve already stuck him in a crate, with a sheet thrown over it. Maybe give him a frozen kong to keep him occupied.
 

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Wish that I had housekeepers for my dogs to bark at! ? I second putting your dog in the crate before they arrive, or couldn't you take the dog for a walk while they are there? Not a good idea to let him scare housekeepers. How many hours are they there?

Might be a good idea to work with a trainer about the reactivity in general though, are there many options for that in your area?
 

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The barking is a self rewarding behavior. You can crate him and close the door while the folks are there but if it is bleeding into your walks, you are going to want to stop it now.
Keep you dog on leash and correct when he even just looks like he is thinking about barking. But with each no, teach a yes, No, you cannot bark. Yes, you can sit on this pillow next to my chair and get treats while you are quiet as they clean. Over the next few visits you can have him wait longer and longer on his down between treats. Eventually, your dog might learn "cleaning people are here, get on my mat. Get jackpot treat when they are done if I stay quiet". You'll need a combination of NO and YES. Just giving treats won't stop a behavior like barking. Fair corrections will. Giving treats will enforce the new behavior, being quiet in a down.
If you have trouble with this find a mentor or trainer who can come and watch your timing. If you wait for the dog to start acting up to correct, it will be tough to get him to stop. If you correct too soon you'll confuse your dog. Giving treats for being quiet and calm, that is the easy part.
 

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It isn't fair to the housecleaners to have your dog interfering with their job.
I would crate him, out in the garage or in the vehicle and put a bark collar on him for those times when he is over the top if you don't want to put time into working with him to correct it.
My dogs have taken to barking at the vacuum and I don't want that behavior at all. Gambit had never shown any reactivity to it until he was the only dog in the house, then he decided it was exciting. Now he does it and has taught Guinness it is barkworthy. I correct them and move them to another room or outside.
 

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^ Agree. I crate in my car when we have people working in our house. Or in a room that the contractor has no need to enter, door shut, but most of the time I crate them in my car.

Just throwing this point of view out for consideration - when you work in and around other people's homes for a living, loose dogs are a nightmare.

As someone who does residential design/build, I spend a ton of time in people's houses, garages, and yards. And a lot of those people have dogs. It wastes time to keep pushing dogs aside, it stresses the staff out to be barked at or wrestled with (a lot of my employees will grin and bear it, but they are raging on the inside), the dogs scratch up equipment, we've had dogs get into employee's lunch boxes and steal their meals, and sooner or later someone gets nipped or knocked over.

I've been bitten multiple times when the homeowner is literally in the room and has no verbal control over the dog, and I'm actually considering writing a new clause into our contract requiring that dogs be physically contained outside of our work area.
 

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Well, I am on week six with pup and a cleaning service.

Week 1 - Crate in the bedroom. Barked head off.
Week 2, 3 - Planned walk for when service was scheduled to arrive.
Week 4 - Took pup into the downstairs bathroom and turned on the ventilation fan for background noise. Every time pup remained quiet for more than a few seconds he was praised and rewarded. That was a long 90 minutes.
Week 5 - Took pup into the downstairs bathroom. I got an old sleeping bag and laid down and took a nap on the bathroom floor. Eventually, pup laid down to take a nap. He was praised and rewarded.
Week 6 - Took pup into the downstairs bathroom. Pup laid down to take a nap. While on a leash we went upstairs to the landing. If pup elevated we went back to the backroom to settle. After about 10 reps of this, pup was napping on the landing while people walked around him.
Week 7 - GOAL - Start with pup in the downstairs bathroom. When he settles, put on a leash and take him upstairs to his 'place.' If he barks return to the bathroom to settle. Repeat as necessary.

As always, everyone wants to pet the adorable pup even though he is acting poorly. I have to be firm that meeting guests and getting loving from them is something he needs to earn through good behavior.
 

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He is crated when housekeepers are here. As I stated, when he isn’t in the crate, he interferes with their work. I have taken him on his walk while they’re there, but sometimes I have things to do, and can’t spend several hours walking him.

I could crate him in another room while they’re here. They clean every room, of course, but I can move him upstairs when they are down, and vice versa. My crate doesn’t fit in my car, plus it will soon be too hot to have him there without the air on.
As it is, he isn’t quiet at all when they are around, so there’s no chance to reward when he’s quiet. He is better if he isn’t in the crate (on a leash), except when any moving stick-like objects are involved, so I might try training him on a leash, too. We are going to be moving in a few months, which may make a difference, too. While I don’t expect moving to affect his propensity to bark, a different floor plan may make a difference in how I contain him and how well he can see them. We have an open floor plan downstairs now, so he can see them almost anywhere they go downstairs.

At least I’m glad to see I’m not alone in this issue!

And, I have to say, the dog stealing food from lunch boxes cracked me up. I do understand it wouldn’t be so funny if it was my lunch that was stolen, though. At least Siggy’s never done that!
 

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He is crated when housekeepers are here. As I stated, when he isn’t in the crate, he interferes with their work.
i guess this is the part i don’t understand. why wouldn’t he be in his crate?
 

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except when any moving stick-like objects are involved, so I might try training him on a leash, too.
I think a lot of people struggle with moving sticks. To pup, a mop is basically a stick with an awesome chew toy at the end. A cane is just a mop without ahead.

Kikopup has a helpful video I used for dealing with a swiffer at

As for not getting a quiet moment to reward good behavior. That is why we went to the downstairs bathroom, it was the only place I could get him to settle down for week 4. Other thoughts are a laundry room with the washing and dryer running or even in the garage with your phone play music loud enough that he can't hear the cleaners. The key for us was getting a few seconds of quiet so we could get a toe hold. Pup earns his entire breakfast one handful at a time for being quiet.

Another thing is that my pup is very curious. He wants to see what is going on around the house. For him having to go in the downstairs bathroom and watch me nap is a terrible punishment. He would much rather be somewhere supervising the operation. So he really tries to behave so he can see what is going on from the landing. Hopefully, that will extend to the place.

One last thought, I ask the cleaners to call from the driveway when they get here and just walk in the house. That way I have everything prepared for a calm arrival.

My eventual goal is for him to calmly meet the cleaners and then calmly nap at on his bed in my office. Sigh. Dave dreams of sipping coffee at his desk while is dog nap quietly at his feet. For reason Escape (the Pina colada song) is playing during this daydream.
 

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. We are going to be moving in a few months, which may make a difference, too. While I don’t expect moving to affect his propensity to bark, a different floor plan may make a difference in how I contain him and how well he can see them. We have an open floor plan downstairs now, so he can see them almost anywhere they go downstairs.
Moving can be a big help! We moved when my big-boy was a young dog/ older pup and we took the opportunity to teach our dog that we had different expectations in our new home. It worked pretty well. I think Dave posted a good way to set things up for success. Yes, it is time consuming but much less time than it takes to get the dog to settle once they are in full alert.
We don't have cleaners but when we do have work done at our house, the dogs are leashed and walked with us. If they are calm and bored with watching the work we let go of the leash and they settle nicely. If they don't settle, they get removed to a crate in the bedroom or outside in our fenced yard and screened patio.
And if your dog is young, maturity and learning self control will get better as they pup gets older and more practiced.
 

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FWIW, I am not a cleaning service type guy :( My 80 year old monther lives with me and she likes a tidy house... much tidyer than we were willing to do. So she took it upon herself to clean things to her standards. Sometime I felt like screaming,"Lady, you spent 25 years raising us kids and another ten years on a tight budget so we could go to college. Now it is your term to take a break."

I had to hire a cleaning service and ban her from cleaning so she has time to do things she enjoys doing. No dogs are allowed in her room so it is reasonably hair free. She still likes to swiffer if the dog hair gets to deep. :)

A lot depends on what goals you have for your dog. Ideally, I would like my dog to be able to go with me everywhere; walks, hikes, camping, cofffe shops, and hang out with me in the yard when I garden. Hopefully, investing this time up front will make that possiable.
 

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Our trainer advised us early to keep our dog away from anyone working in our home. If your dog is supposed to be a watch dog it’s unfair to the dog to expect him to know who or who not to bark at. They are employees, they are not family or friends. I don’t use housekeepers, (but I should), however, when we had work done we did not introduce our dogs to the workers or let the dogs interact with temporary strangers. If they barked, I kept them out of the way, in a bedroom or away from the people. I always let them bark a warning because that is their job, then I encouraged them to be quiet. Otherwise they would “warn me” all day long.

My WL thinks the duster is a flirt pole. I have a professional feather duster with real feathers and he always wanted to chase it. I had to train him not to. He also bites at one vacuum but not another. The one he dislikes has a high pitched whiney noise and it either hurts his ears or sounds like an animal in distress. I have also worked to train him to leave that alone.
 

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I like dogs, and I have frequently stated that I actively encourage idiocy. I also worked as a house cleaner. Loose dogs getting in the way is annoying.
I guess I am really unclear on why you are not correcting this? Put a leash on him and when he starts up give a correction and tell him to knock it off!

On a side note-just because it startled me, house cleaners for hours??? Like multiple? That would drive me crazy and you must have a massive house, lol.
 

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"I guess I am really unclear on why you are not correcting this? Put a leash on him and when he starts up give a correction and tell him to knock it off!"

^THIS. As I read all these stories I see a pattern of people going to great lengths to either accommodate or maybe desensitize their dog to these situations.

Folks, the dog won't "get it" until you show/communicate your wishes to him or her! Seriously, just a couple times of communicating clearly, via corrections and praise and your dogs will "get it". What they don't, and NEVER will get, is the human perspective. In their mind they ARE doing it correctly already LOL!

I think the dots are too far apart for the dog to connect...

Teach them! It won't hurt them as much as the confused message they're getting now does...

Explain to the housekeepers if you need to, but yeah, keep them on leash in the same general area, and clearly explain via corrections that beyond an initial alert, welcomed people are OK - SO NO MORE MESSING WITH THEM!

It won't in any way adversely effect their guard dog ability, it's an obedience thing. IMHO.
 

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I guess I never thought to NOT crate my dogs while cleaning. Why do I want to clean and have them mess it up before I’m done? When I clean, dogs are in their crates. Period. I’ve done this since they were puppies. That allowed them to get used to my Saturday cleaning schedule of washing the floors, dusting, and vacuuming. It also kept them away from the chemicals. If I’m cleaning the bathtub, I don’t need them leaning over and licking the cleaner.

As a result, in all my years of dog owning and rescue work, I’ve never had a dog chase or attack a vacuum.
When they’re older and I want to vacuum a quick spot, I don’t have to crate them. They usually give me a wide berth. One won’t even move if the vacuum is hitting him. lol

Bottom line - crate your dog while cleaning. It’s so easy and prevents so many problems. ?
 
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