Sasha has a visitor, my brother! He is staying for a week after a move to help us unpack. Whenever Sasha sees him she barks despite friendly treats being given by him! He seems to feel that he needs to show he is the alpha dog so he tries to chase her to catch her to assert authority by putting his hand around her neck as a warning. To be fair Sasha barks at him incessantly and barked last night until 4 am without him around. Since he tried his last attempt to get her to obey she doesn’t act like herself. She’s not playing at all. She’s a feisty dog but also an extremely sensitive dog prone to shaking when upset. I’m not sure what to do to get her to stop barking at him. It’s been two days! He is our first overnight visitor but she’s terrible with all strangers in terms of incessant barking. Thanks for any help!
Hello Hilary, First, know that what your brother is doing isn't the way to gain a dog's respect. It is the way to create fear aggression though, so chasing and grabbing her roughly needs to stop. That reaction from him will have set him back a lot with her. Honestly, he will probably not recover her trust from that in a week at this point. In general gaining a dog's trust is more about challenging their minds to get pup working with you, listening and paying attention. This is most commonly done through practicing certain types of obedience calmly with the dog, having pup work for what they get in life, such as food, touches, and play by doing a command, like Sit or Down first. Giving pup a lot of structure and boundaries is also an important part - having consistent rules and calmly enforcing them. Gaining trust is about being calm, consistent, rewarding pup for tolerant, calm responses (but not aggressive responses or you are just encouraging aggression), working with pup through things like a structured heel and working pup through new things like agility obstacles and certain types of tricks to boost overall confidence. While your brother is there, if he is willing to work with her correctly, he can go on a walk with you and her, starting from across the street and gradually getting close as she relaxes around him - require her to heel and reward focus on you and ignoring him. He can toss her treats whenever she is calm around him (Not when acting aggressive), and generally he should ignore her. When she starts barking, you be the one to calmly but firmly make pup leave the room. I suggest crating pup with a food stuffed chew toy to give her some calm down time more often while your brother is there. He shouldn't bother her while she is in the crate. Ideally, the crate should be in a quiet, calm room. After your brother leaves, I suggest working with a trainer who specializes in aggression and fear, who has a training staff, and comes well recommended by previous clients who have struggled with similar behaviors with their dogs. The trainer and their staff should work on gaining pup's respect and earning trust and desensitizing to strangers. Don't choose someone who rewards pup when she is acting aggressive, but someone who only rewards when pup is making good choices and in a better mindset. Check out the video linked below for an example of timely corrections, desensitization, safety measures, and only rewarding pup when pup is doing well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIJoEJfTS-E Also, check out Thomas from the Canine Educator on YouTube for more information on aggression. Look up his fear aggression examples especially. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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