Hi, I have a 8 month old mixed breed puppy. We've had her for 5 months and she has always behaved very well. However, recently she has been growling viciously at every visitor that comes over to the house. She even bit one person on the stomach. I don't know what to do. We take her to training class and she behaves well there and we take her to the park daily and she behaves well with the people and dogs there too. It is only in the home with visitors that she acts this way. Help!! So far I have had to put her on a least when someone comes in and I tug hard when she growles. But it still continues. Can you please help me? I would appreciate any advice you could give me. Thank you for your time and help. Have a wonderful holiday season.
Also could work on some things with visitors that make her feel less like they are invading her space like make people get on her level and greet her with a treat or play. No direct eye contact, smiles or reaching out for her. They need to approach her just so until she feels less threatened.
Best to look into a trainer as well to nip behavior like this in the bud. If she is still just a pup and playing, on the other hand... you need to clamp down on the training and start over from square one, keeping her on that leash.
Good luck, let us know what path you decide...
If you want, I can email you an addy to a site with a woman who can help you.
I would recruit the help of a positive trainer or behaviorist. Until then definitely keep her restrained while you have visitors. Personally I would never jerk her or use an ecollar to try to fix this. You need to make the visitors a positive thing and I don't think a jerk or shock will make her associate good things with people coming in the house. Reward when she does behave properly.
E-collars can be a positive thing if used correctly. And beware of the purely positive trainers, positive only doesn't work for every dog, and just because a trainer has you pop a dog on a leash doesn't mean that they are being mean. Be sure that your trainer knows what is causing the problem and fix it the way best for YOUR dog. Make sure the trainer has a even balence of positive and negitive reinforcement in training. Negitative reinforcement does NOT mean that the trainer is being mean, they are being clear to the dog wait is correct behavior and what is not.
***Edited By: GSDgirl on 12/20/2006 9:53:08 PM*** Reason: *
Have a friend come over one day to help you with this...
Give friend treats.
Put the dog on a leash but don't hold onto it.
Have friend knock or ring the doorbell, grab the leash, look to see who it is, tell the dog "friend" and let your friend in. Have your friend give the dog a treat. Repeat.
You're associating a "friend" coming through the door with good things. By saying "friend" you're setting the stage for introducing other words such as "stranger" into the dogs vocabulary where you can teach him to stand a little more protectively...
In my house, if we don't say "friend" when someone comes in the door... my dogs will NOT let the person past the door. They will growl and snap until the person leaves. But if we say "friend" that person could walk in, take the tv and all the silver and they would all but help them carry it out of the house! LOL
Theres a good possibility that the dog was always a little uneasy about strangers, Its probly been growing and theres a bad association to the stranger comeing over and the leash techniques you are useing. Do not let the dog get into any more situations with strangers where he/she will feel the need to act this way. So put the dog away in a room before you have someone come over. In the mean time, we can start acting out strangers comeing over. Have the dog far away from the door, but should still be able to see the person come in, let them come in and have the person throw a special treat to the dog. Do that for a week everyday a few times. The next week bring the dog a little closer (2 steps) and so on till the dog is at the door. Your hope is the dog will gradually change the bad association (Threatening/Stranger)to "Oh, stranger!!!Treat is comeing. We call this desensitizeing, it takes time so be patient. And use a Gentle leader, don't jerk the dog around, the dog will assocaite what you do, to the new person, which in turn may actually be makeing the dog anticipate this and try to make the stranger go away to avoid your treatment.