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The member who posted her concern regarding construction in her home prompted me to ask your advise regarding a similar situation. I have a gsd mix - 98 lbs. and 5 years old. There have been several issues along the way but I have been determined to keep working with him. For instance, we can now go on walks and he does not get into a frenzy every time he sees another dog. He still barks in the car but will stop when I say "None" and he is polite with people outside of his territory.

My concern is when people come to my house. When people come over he either has to be crated or is placed outside. Not many friends even want to come now even if he is in the crate.

My son lives in another state so does not get to come see me that often. In the past, I had been taking Riley outside and letting my son walk around with him and then we would come into the house. This seemed to work and Riley would eventually relax (I also have 3 other dogs). About six months ago, he came to help me do some things and said, "lets get the stuff done and then we will play with the dogs." When we finished, he started to go out back and I said let me go first. I took a leash and was walking back to the back door with Riley when Imy son appeared. at the door. Riley went nuts - lunging, growling, etc., and caught my son on the leg with a nip. By that time Riley had escalated so there was no way to calm him so I told my son to go back in the house and go out in the front yard. I then brought Riley out front and there was no more issue with my son being there. My son did decide he would not stay for the night!

Another incident arose when my son came again. This time, he brought his golden retriever who is the most social dog in the world. The absolute minute he laid eyes on my son and his dog, he charged - bearing teeth, etc. Thank goodness, I had a prong collar on him. I took Riley back in the house. And I am sure both times, Riley thinks he had run off the "bad thing" from his territory.

I can live with crating when people come over, etc., but my main concern is what if something were to happen to me that I needed medical attention and EMS needed to get in my house. I live alone.

I have contacted three trainers and discussed this situation. Two of the trainers said they didn't want to deal with a situation like that. The last one said he would have to have a $1200 downpayment with an additional $600 at the end of training. That is not in my budget!

While I truly appreciate the protection Riley offers (he has foiled a breakin at my house), I am at a loss as to how to handle this situation.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

T. Ellison
Mom to Riley, Anna, Christopher and Dickens
 

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What is happening here is Riley is telling your son that this is his house...what's suppose to happen is Riley knows that it is your house and you are in charge of the situation.

When someone comes to your door, who gets there first, you or the dog? Please answer honestly because it will help point me in the right direction to help you.

Also, what are your other dogs doing when someone comes to the door?
 

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My other dogs bark as well. However, they are wagging their tails like they are excited that someone has come. When Riley is crated when people come over, the other dogs have no problem with people being in the house and seek attention from them.
 

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As far as who gets to the door first, it depends on where I am when someone is at the door. I have taught Riley to go to his crate when there is a knock.
 

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Also, if something happened to me and EMS had to come in, I am not sure if I told him to crate when EMS was at the door whether he would follow my instructions at that point. This is more on my mind since I was told last April that I have a 40 to 50 percent blockage in my heart in two places.

I love this dog with all my heart - would hate for something bad to happen.

I was recently walking him at the park close to my house. I met a man and his child. The man recognized how much gsd was in Riley and came over to talk. He had grown up with gsds and we talked about the territorial issue. He told me the story of his father who came down with a muscle wasting disease and finally became bedridden. His gsd stayed always by his side only to pee, poop and eat when necessary then back to his dad. When his dad died the gsd was 15 years old. It took them 4 days before the family members could get in to their father.

I don't plan on checking out any time soon but you never know.
 
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