Does your pooch bark at every visitor who walks in your door? He does this for several reasons, based on the fact he is territorial. He barks to let you know there are intruders in his territory. In essence, your pup is quite sure in his mind that barking like this is his job and he is proud of being able to do it well. Okay, so although barking is a natural behavior in your pup, there are times when this type of behavior is completely unacceptable. One thing worth knowing is that if your dog thinks you are ignoring him, he may get frustrated and bark even more. The good news is that with a little time, effort, and patience, you can train him not to bark every time a visitor comes to the door.
The command you decide to use is up to you, but keep it simple. Use something along the lines of "Quiet" or "Hush". Whatever you choose, keep it simple and use the same command each time, otherwise, you might confuse your dog. In reality, what you want your dog to do when someone comes to the door is to behave and remain quiet. The hard part is that this behavior goes against his nature, so it will take a lot of patience and practice to get him to the point where he completely ignores the doorbell or when anyone knocks on the door.
This is an important behavior that can be taught to any dog who is old enough to have mastered the basic commands. It can take several weeks for your pup to master this behavior, but if you are willing to train him on a daily basis, you can speed up the process.
There aren't many things you will need to perform this type of training. These are a few:
How to stop him being scared of new people, especially men, and running away and/or barking at them
Hello Jodie, Practice walking by strangers, at first from a distance, and whenever he remains calm or looks at you for direction, reward him. You will occasionally see him deciding whether to act fearfully or not, when you see him thinking about it, call his name, and then reward him for looking at you. By doing this, you are telling him what to focus on instead of his fears. In this case focusing on you and remaining calm. As he improves, very gradually decrease the distance between you and the other people. When you are very close to other people, reward him when he acts calm or is attentive toward you, by pausing and passing him treats or inserting the peanut butter straw for him to lick. If you think that he might bite someone then spend time getting him used to a basket muzzle, by giving him treats or letting him lick a peanut butter covered straw whenever you put it on, and have him wear the muzzle when he passes by someone close enough that he could bite them. Also, recruit friends or family members that your dog does not know, to help you. Put Buster on a six to ten foot leash, attached to a collar or a harness, that you know he cannot slip out of. Have your friend enter your home, yard, or public location where you are, and stand or sit about fifteen feet away from Buster, and ignore him. He will likely bark for quite a while. Simply wait for him to take a break for a couple of seconds. Be patient and expect this to take a long time at first. Give your friend lots of your dog's favorite treats, and any time that he is quiet or doing something calm, for even two seconds, have your friend toss him a treat. The treat needs to come from your friend so that Bailey will learn to trust him. As Buster warms up to the person and is doing well overtime, allow your dog to get closer by attaching the leash to something secure that is a couple of feet closer to your friend. Keep repeating this, until your dog is only a couple of feet out of reach from your friend. If your dog is still doing well, and not reacting fearfully, and wanting to meet the person, then give your friend even better treats, and allow your dog to reach the person all the way if he chooses to, while the person calmly interacts with your dog and gives him treats. Every time that your dog goes up to the person without barking, have your friend reward him. When your dog is comfortable around your first friend, then utilize another friend's help, and practice the same thing with that person. Keep practicing with other friends, one person at a time. If your dog becomes used to people in your home but still reacts badly to people outside, then have your friend meet you in a public place, so that your dog thinks your friend, who he has never met, is a stranger. Good locations to meet could include your neighborhood side walk, in a pet store, or at the park. The more people that you can get to help you with this, the better your dog will react to people in general, rather than just being comfortable around a few people. Practice this the most around the types of people your dog is scared of. In this case men. Even practice this around children, once your dog is doing better with people in general, but be extremely careful around kids, and make sure that the child is very comfortable with all dogs and not frightened by Buster's barking. When you practice around children, use a leash and have your dog wear a collar or harness that he cannot slip out of. Have him wear a basket muzzle during the interaction if you think there is a chance of him biting out of fear, and let the child reward him with a peanut butter or cheese covered straw for him to lick, if the treats are too big to fit through the muzzle holes. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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