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At the end of my tether with Bertie and visitors

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Janey D, Sep 29, 2013.


  1. Janey D

    Janey D PetForums Member

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    Hi

    I know I have posted about this before and got good advice but Bertie's behaviour with visitors is going downhill and I am seriously at the end of my tether with it.

    Bertie is a bit unpredictable with visitors and has become aggressive in the past. We used to be able to crate him in a room out of the way and he would whine a bit at first but then go quiet, now he just wont settle.

    So to give you an example, today we had someone knock at the door. Bertie goes mad barking, I put him on the lead and OH went to let the visitor in. As soon as Bertie sees the visitor he starts barking and pulling like a maniac to get to him. The visitor says he is nervous of dogs so I remove Bertie to another room and crate him with a treat.

    Bertie barks and barks. Hubby and I both needed to speak to the visitor so we just had to leave Bertie to it. It was so embarrassing trying to talk over the noise of the dog barking in the other room, goodness knows what the neighbours thought.

    I went in to Bertie a couple of times and tried to settle him but it was useless. As soon as the visitor went and Bertie was let out he charges round the house sniffing and trying to find the visitor and then only settles when he has made sure no-one is in the house.

    I know Bertie is stressed by people coming into the house but this is ridiculous. Its getting to the point where I avoid people coming around or I stand outside the front door talking to people rather than letting them in.

    Can anyone help? I love Bertie but I have to find a way of dealing with this.
     
  2. MollySmith

    MollySmith PetForums VIP

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    I don't think she is here anymore sadly but I know Dimwit had help with her dog on visitors. I have another friend who has problems too with her dog, both her and Dimwit went to the same behaviourist and have found ways to cope. It maybe that your best option is to bring in a behaviourist?

    I've seen good things from the Manners Minder remote treat training aid but they are very expensive and probably a dedicated one to one session with Bertie and a professional is better value.

    Going to see if he is okay is rewarding him for barking as he has your attention as I understand it. Maybe leaving him with a nice toy or a yummy stuffed kong so he associates visitors with nice things might work?
     
  3. Gertrude

    Gertrude PetForums VIP

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    I dont know if this works, because fortunately I never had to try it out, but when we had our previous dog over 18 years ago, we were invited to 'an evening with a behaviourist' and he said never go into a barking dog until its not barking!

    He said when a dog barks its 'calling' you back [its pack]
    If you go when the dog is calling, then the calling has worked
    If you go when the dog is quiet, then the dog will soon realise the calling doesn't bring you back.

    Like I said.... I never had to use this as we didn't have the problem anyway, and it may well be an 'out of date' method now?
    but worth a shot maybe???
     
  4. hazel pritchard

    hazel pritchard PetForums VIP

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    Hi , i think by crating Bertie and giving him a treat you are rewarding him and he will see this as a reward for barking, i know you said you have tried having him on lead when visitors come and this does not seem to have worked , but i would suggest to go back to this , when a visitor comes to your house and he barks tell him to be quite , with whatever words you want to use , i tell my dogs shoosh, as soon as he stops barking even for a second treat him, then if the visitors are staying for a cuppa etc, if he starts again tell him the word again and repeat the treat, i would then keep him on lead all the time visitors are there , when you sit in a chair or on sofa if he stands/sits lays next to you and behaves i would treat him and tell him hes good dog, so this way he will learn that good behaviour gets him praise and rewards. xxxx
     
  5. evuze

    evuze PetForums Junior

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    What does he actually do when he gets to the visitors? Does he just want to say hello?

    Does he do similar when you arrive back from being out but he can't get to you?

    Otherwise have you tried teaching him to bark/shush on command?

    Do you think perhaps he's thinking 'oh someone's here so I have to bark until they go or I get locked in the crate/other room'?
     
  6. MollySmith

    MollySmith PetForums VIP

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  7. Phoolf

    Phoolf PetForums VIP

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    Kes is not good with visitors - she behaves aggressively initially until she is calmer

    I have to introduce her to people outside for a few minutes before she will let the visitor in - although of course this only works with expected visitors so I'm unsure if you do this already - if it's a gas man or someone unexpected I put her in the bedroom as far away as possible
     
  8. Janey D

    Janey D PetForums Member

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    Thanks all

    Most of the time Bertie is friendly and will jump up at the visitor very excitedly then once the inital greeting is over he will relax and not bother any more. However, we have had a couple of incidents where this initial excitement has boiled over into aggression and I have had to remove him.

    What I am finding hard is how unpredictable Bertie can be. Tonight a neighbour called. This bloke has only been to our house maybe 2 or 3 times since we got Bertie. Bertie didnt react at all, didnt bark, jump up or anything. He went to the visitor wagging his tail, got a pat and a fuss and then went off to do his own thing. So why does he sometimes go absolutely mental and sometimes not?

    He always greets visitors on the lead which I know is frustrating for him but thats the way it has to be. I sometimes think his reaction to visitors is the same as when we see other dogs when we are out. If he can get to them and have a sniff he is fine but if we hold him back he get frustrated and barks.

    Oh and he is a typical Jack Russell, hates to be shut out of anything thats going on. He will sometimes bark if he is shut in behind the babygate when we come in the back door but again sometimes he doesnt bother.

    I have ordered a couple of books off the internet, one about BAT. I think that if I could learn to calm some of his overexcitement that would be a big help. I may speak to our trainer too for her advice.

    Any more suggestions welcome!
     
  9. MollySmith

    MollySmith PetForums VIP

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    I found this link and it mentioned the great book on Calming Signals for Dogs, just another book to add to a growing library, if you're anything like me. I thought the advice on how visitors need to approach the dog interesting.

    Helping Dogs Cope with Visitors to Your Home
     
  10. Donut76

    Donut76 PetForums VIP

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    Angel is EXTREMELY reactive to the door (or the gate or the bin or basically anything outside lol)

    So what i do is this

    Door goes - Angel goes MENTAL .. Angel goes into her crate (in the living room) while i answer the door (she is still going mental) i either get rid of the visitor OR i let them in (until a few weeks ago locking the door on the crate was a BIG no no so we are making progress)

    I then ignore my visitor for a moment while i go to angels crate & tell her to "lie down" & "Enough" (comand we are working on for barking)

    Visitor sits down out of Angel's sight

    We have got it down to a few mins (less than 5) before she is totally quiet

    Once quiet IF it is a female visitor she has seen before i just open the crate & she runs over if its a female she hasnt seen OR its a male visitor of any sort (met or not) i hold her collar & let her over to the man as she is more wary of men than women - (she isnt choked at all - i prefer the harness but it isnt fair to keep it on her all day)

    When we have had visitors where it is impossible to let her out then she is in her crate still & again once calmed down the gate is unlocked BUT i sit in the chair next to the crate & she is "made" to stay in her crate lay down

    She does seem to be calming down with visitors now tho this has taken 4mths from barking at every sound & not stopping & refusing to have her gate locked to going into crate when told letting us lock the door & calming down within 5 mins

    Good Luck

    (hope ive been doing right but it seems to work - tho i dont get many un announced unknown visitors)
     
  11. Malmum

    Malmum PetForums VIP

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    I feel for you on this. Bruce is nine and barks like crazy if anyone knocks on the door and even more so on first letting them in. He's not aggressive by any means but you can't hear yourself speak, let alone hold a conversation. If I know someone's about go call I shut him upstairs in the bedroom, he doesn't bark nearly as much if he's on his own, the barks are toned down being upstairs and I let him down once he settles. I've tried all sorts to stop him but have to admit I've given up because nothing works. I dread bei by on the phone if there's a knock at the door, as you say its highly embarrassing! I'm just lucky he doesn't start all the others off too.

    With your guy I'd do the same as I do and because he can be aggressive I wouldn't let him meet people, not really very fair on the visitor tbh. I personally feel its rewarding bad behaviour if they get what they want when being naughty but I did try only as he's got older he seems to have got even more barky.

    Mine is the lazy option though but I also have other dogs to consider and don't want Bruce making them reactive when they are not.
     
  12. evuze

    evuze PetForums Junior

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    If it's just out of excitement to see visitors, perhaps you could teach her to greet nicely for attention?

    Have her on lead and have a friend outside the door and when they enter if he jumps, barks or gets too excited, have the visitor walk back out. Rinse repeat until she sits for attention. Then try another door, then another person, then front door, then with a knock first, etc.

    I don't have this problem so not from experience but it's what I'd try.

    Good luck.
     
  13. Janey D

    Janey D PetForums Member

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    Thanks all

    Well I spoke to my trainer on the phone last night. She really helped me to understand whats going on in Berties mind when there is a knock on the door. She also described crating him as a human hearing a crash downstairs in the middle of the night and then finding the bedroom door locked!

    She says that if I am prepared to put in a lot of work then it should be possible to train Bertie to go to his bed while a visitor comes in. The idea is that you break that initial panicky moment when Bertie hears a visitor coming in or knocking at the door and all reason goes out of the window.

    The other alternative is to try keeping him on a lead and not allowing any interaction with visitors until he is calm. She suggested even doing this when hubby comes home from work or family members come round.

    At the moment the idea of someone coming in and Bertie sitting calming in his bed seems absolutely impossible! The lead idea is a good one, and this is what I have done before, but its not always easy to manage if I am in the house on my own.

    She recommended a couple of books to read and will of course do some sessions with me if I need it. I just need to decide how I am going to approach this!
     
    #13 Janey D, Oct 3, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013
  14. sazzle

    sazzle PetForums Senior

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    We have major problems with Chio and visitors, he barks for ages (only 2 or 3 people he will tolerate) Tried a mobile hairdresser once...never again.:eek:

    We are slowly getting there with him now. He is put on the lead before we open the door and not allowed near the visitor. (He isnt aggressive but can be very intimidating) He gets terribly distressed if we shut him in another room. Our visitors are always told to ignore him completely, myself or Hubby then sit away from visitor with him on the lead still, but in the same room. This helps but he still barks a little, mainly when the visitor talks:confused: Our next discovery to calm him down was to pick him up and nurse him:eek: Its a bit pathetic but it works for us, usually then he will calm down after about 10 mins. We can only assume that he then realises that we will keep him safe after all. :rolleyes5:

    Like Phoolf said too, he is a lot better if we meet and greet outside in the garden, even better if we take him to the car of a visitor and walk them in. Better still if we take him with us to pick someone up. Usually just one woof as they get in car and then he is fine. Usually after 15 mins or so we can let him off the lead and he is fine although he wont go for a fuss to the dreaded visitor that may steal him away from us.:nonod:

    Hope you find something to help you.
     
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