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:
My dog is terrified of people coming into the house, he doesn't warm up to them either. He just barks, barks, and barks, while he's shaking. I want him to be OK with people coming to my house if I tell him "it's OK".I had my niece spend the week, and it took him 2 days to even let him touch him while he walked by. We've tried having the guest ignore him, he will get close and smell they're shoes, or pants, but as soon as they move, even a finger, he gets scared and runs. How do I get him to be OK with people, once we've invited them into my home?
Hello Kelly, I suggest having guests toss him treats whenever he stops barking for a couple of seconds (not while barking). Have guests otherwise ignore him unless he initiates the interaction and work on teaching him obedience and self-control in other areas to build his trust and respect for you so that he will watch you for instruction. Teach him the "Touch" command and once he is more relaxed around a person (after they have done treats tosses with him) have them calmly practice "Touch" with him with treats. Once he is calm enough to be within a couple of feet of a person, while on a secure harness or martingale collar (something he cannot slip out of) have the person go on walks with you and him or play a favorite game like fetch with him with your help taking the ball from him and handing it to him. He needs to practice these things regularly with one or two guests at a time time instead of only every once in a while - if you do not have frequent guests willing to help, then I suggest hiring a trainer who has staff and works with other trainers who can work with him as "guests" and rotate our the new people to expose him to different people. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Boomer is a well trained and behaved dog, except when people come to the door/come in the house or yard. Then he barks constantly at them. He'll usually stop once the visitor comes in and stays a bit. If we are out on walk or in public he never barks at strangers - it's only at our house. He's also very shy with strangers and won't let them pet him. With people he knows he's a total love bug. I've been trying to use the "quiet" command when he barks and I make him sit and treat him, but as soon as I stop the treats he'll start barking again.
Hello Renee, It sounds like his barking might be due to anxiety around people because of his shyness. Building his confidence around people and desensitizing him to guests coming over and the noises and things that happen when guests come over may also help, in addition to working on Quiet. The Quiet command addressed the external behavior but desensitization can help address the underlying anxiety that makes it hard for him to stay quiet. Check out the video linked below to learn how to desensitize him to people and things related to people coming over. When guests do come inside, instruct them to ignore him for about ten minutes while you reward him if he behaves calmly and quietly - associating guests with boredom and calmness can also help remove some of the anxiety/excitement combination associated with new people. Finally, as he improves at the Quiet command require him to stay quiet for longer before you give the reward so that you are not only rewarding him for becoming quiet but also for staying quiet. As he improves you can gradually add more time between when you give the command and you finally reward him with the treat. Door barking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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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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Guy always barks at people when they come inside the house, then runs up to them, jumps on them and proceeds to bark and cry at the same time. If anyone comes up to me and hugs me (including my daughter who he's been around since we brought him home at 6weeks) he runs up to me, puts his paws on me and barks/cries. How do I get him to relax when someone comes in the house and/or when someone is near me?
Hello Paulina, First, I suggest working on building his calmness and respect for you and your family. Check out the articles and videos linked below. I suggest having a bit of a boot camp with him for a few weeks to teach him calmness and respect in general. Work up to him being able to stay on Place for 1-2 hours to build calmness especially. Don't skip teaching him to walk at heel, focusing on you - that is very important for calmly teaching respect and self-control also. When you want to let him pee, tell him "Okay, go pee" so that he is being given permission and not just breaking a heel command to pull over to something. Don't let him stop and pee on every tree though. Once at the beginning and once at the end, and he should be expected to stay focused on you the rest of the time now. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 Once you have created a solid basis of respect and taught him how to calm himself by having him practice things like Place and crate manners for long periods of time, then tell him to go to Place and practice having him stay on Place when people come to the door. Practice this a lot with people you can get to help you. Use your body language and a drag leash on him to enforce the place command. Correct outburst, calmly reward him when he is calm and relaxed. When he is calm, you can tell him "Okay" to let him off the Place to greet guests. If he still tries to jump, then step in front of your guest and step toward him until he is several feet away from them - this is to teach him to respect their boundaries. If he may bite when you do this, get him used to wearing a basket muzzle and practice this with him muzzled until he can be calmer. If you feel there is aggression and not just rudeness and over-arousal, hire a professional trainer to help you implement this as well. Always take precautions to keep people form being bitten. Step Toward method for jumping - you be the one to get between him and your guest and walk toward him so that they don't have to. Again, use a muzzle and have a professional trainer help you if there is aggression present - which there could be when he is aroused. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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When someone comes to our house, our dog constantly barks and jumps on our guests. He doesn't usually chill out until they sit down. But when the guest gets up and walks anywhere in the house, Jerome will run up to them and bark and jump on them again. Why does he do this? And how can I get him to be more relaxed when people come over? The ONLY people he does not react this way to is my mom, my sister, and my niece and nephew. I think that is because he has known them most of his life so he recognizes them. Please help! What training method would be best for him? I know he's not a puppy, so training will be a little more challenging, but with the right input from a trainer I know we can do it. Thank you so much,
Hello Lauren, There are two routes you can take for this, the first route is best for dogs that are reacting due to anxiety and feeling suspicious of guests, the second is better for dogs that are being pushy, rude, and overly excited, or controlling. Route 1: Desensitize to people before they enter your home to teach him to like them better and start things off calmly, then use the Quiet command for any further barking, and the Step toward method for any jumping. When teaching Quiet, you will reward him for just getting quiet at first. As he improves wait until he stays quiet for longer and longer before giving a treat so that he is learning to STAY quiet, not bark, then stop, bark, then stop...: Desensitize: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Quiet: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Step toward method - for jumping: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Route 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcwvUOf5oOg Also, you can teach Quiet and use the Step Toward method from the articles linked above when it is just you with pup, then when guests are over and he already knows what "Quiet" means and not to jump on you, tell him Quiet and "Ah Ah" when he jumps or barks. If he doesn't immediately stop and stay quiet and on the ground (not jumping), then use a pet convincer - which is a small can of unscented pressurized air (NOT citronella), sprayed at his back or side (not face) when he tries to jump or starts barking, then have him go to Place or Down and you or guests can give a treat calmly when he is totally calm - wait until calmness, you are rewarding the calmness not just lying down. This process interrupts his aroused state of mind, teaches calmness, then shows his with interaction or a small treat that the calm behavior is what he should always be doing - plus keeps him loving guests instead of just associating them with being corrected. You are essentially telling him "No not that; do this instead". Place command: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-place-command-the-good-dog-training-tips/ He is being rude and demanding to your guests, so when you correct be calm but firm to let him know that that's not acceptable, then when he is being polite guests can reward or interact with him calmly - keep energy calm though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I just adopted my three year old shepherd mix a few days ago and she is already very attached to me. It is not a problem and I am very happy that she is comfortable with me. The only problem with her is when strangers (friends) come to the house. Outside of the house, like on walks or at the store, she loves going up to everyone she sees. When strangers (friends) come over, she does not act aggressively as I know she must be anxious and scared because someone is in her yard and house that she doesn't know and she wants to protect me from them. Her hair stood up and she lowered her body to the ground while putting the person in between us. I tried to get her to understand that it was okay. I have never experienced something like this. She does not stop barking until I take her away from the situation, which I do.
Hello Maci, First, it sounds like she is actually being possessive of you - which is more related to insecurity and a lack of respect - making her feel like it is her job to be in control of situations, which is really hard on an anxious dog. A truly protective dog usually understands the difference between an actual threat and a normal situation where you are inviting someone in. In her own home she is more likely to act possessive because she views it as her territory. Both her respect for you and the fear of new people need to be addressed. I highly recommend hiring a professional trainer to help with this. Check out Thomas from the Canine Educator on YouTube, look for someone who trains like that and is very experienced with aggression. Check out the video linked below - People Aggression protocol video- notice the back tie for safety (your guest and those working with a dog should never be put at risk -just in case. Notice that the rewards are given during calmness - not all the time because you don't want to reward aggression and encourage it, and corrections are used with good timing and calmness. With reactivity and aggression you want to stop the unwanted behavior, but then once the dog is calmer you want to do a lot of socializing around people to help overcome fear or dislike if that's an issue for the dog also. https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Stopping the unwanted behavior also makes it easier to continue to expose your dog to people for ongoing socialization. Another important part is structure. Building a dog's trust and respect for you helps a dog trust you to handle situations, and also deals with possessiveness that many aggressive dogs are displaying - where they basically view you as theirs and are trying to keep others away from you, like a dog would do with a toy they are guarding. This is a respect issue and not true protectiveness - which is more related to genetics and an actual perceived danger they are protecting you from - there can be some cross-over with possessiveness and protectiveness though, especially for naturally stronger driven breeds. A structured heel and a solid - long Place command are probably the two most important commands for you to practice as far as obedience goes right now. Your walk needs to start out super structured. No scanning the horizon for others or checking out from your dog. She needs to be slightly behind you, focused and following you, and working during the walk. Place command is a great impulse control building command, and has the bonus of helping to build respect and calmness, plus helps manage behavior when people come over. Work up to her being able to stay on Place for 1-2 hours. How you teach these commands matters - with reactivity or aggression issues, calmness, business-like attitude, and slightly firm is important - but not anger, yelling, or unnecessarily roughness. Just being consistent about enforcing rules calmly and teaching her mind. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo If she is generally a bit nervous, then some confidence building exercises may also help her overall attitude. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elvtxiDW6g0 The trainer in many of the videos above also has other videos on fear aggression and reactivity. An example of a structured walk with a reactive and aggressive dog: Reactive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8s_MlqDNE Aggressive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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