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territorial behaviour?

kuroguro
December 16th, 2005, 07:06 AM
we've had Kuro for 2 months now and he really is the perfect dog for us. we bonded fast and furious! initially he was calm and friendly with people who we would meet on our walks. i even took him to my partner's grade 4 classroom where 26 kids ooohed and ahhhed at him and he took it all in stride, charming them with his tricks. lately, he has been barking at people on our walks who try to befriend him. i notice it only happens in our immediate neighbourhood and not so much when i walk him farther from our house. i have been telling him to sit when he does it. sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. usually he just barks his head off and pulls on the leash as if he is going to pounce. he also takes his guard dog role very seriously and barks when he hears noises outside our front door so i am thinking this is an extension of same behaviour? we live across a school so i really don't want him scaring children. we are taking him to training in january which i hope will also help (probably more us than him since we are first time dog owners). Kuro is 3 yrs old and knows his basic commands. anyway, any advice would be appreciated as to how to stop him from barking at folks in the neighbourhood.

Beetlecat
December 16th, 2005, 06:13 PM
My dog is also very alert and protective during our walks. I will let you know what I have noticed and it might help. What he hates most is people standing around and not doing anything. And especially if they are starring at him. Your dog might be the same.

I recently bought a head harness, and it helps with controlling him. With just the collar, he could tug and jump and there wasn't too much I could do. Now, he can still jump around, but, if I have to, I can physically hold him against my leg, and force him to calm down. I have only done this once (someone has a giant 'thinker' statue in their yard and he really freaked out)

Treats also work to divert attention. Give him treats when he's being good and also as a diversionary tactic id he is really fixated on a person or thing. The idea is to get him past it without barking or making a fuss. The worst if if he starts thinking that his barking is making it go away.

Go to places where he can meet strangers and have them pet him and stuff, so he learns that strangers are good. I do this with my dog, even though I have to muzzle him first. If he begins to get overwelmed, then take him out.

When a stranger wants to pass on the sidewalk, I take him off the sidewalk (out of lunging distance) into a yard or something and make him sit/stay until they are gone. If he did not bark or get up, then he gets praise (or a treat). If he he does bark or gets up, then he get shushed and made to sit back down. Practice sit/stay at home and away from distractions until it's almost perfect. Try to keep the leash loose, so he doesn't start thinking strangers make you nervous and they have to be kept away.

And if he sees something and starts making a fuss (person shoveling snow in a yard, strange object, etc.) then pass by it over and over until he's bored of it. People walking the street don't hold still for this :)

babyrocky1
December 16th, 2005, 09:16 PM
lately, he has been barking at people on our walks who try to befriend him. i notice it only happens in our immediate neighbourhood and not so much when i walk him farther from our house. . Is it possible that your dog is excited to meet the person and is not barking out of aggression but actually just hoping for some attention? My dog started to do this later in life, he is almost seven now, and last year, seemingly out of the blue he started to bark at people and sort of look like he was going to lunge at them , it turned out he was loudly telling them that he wanted to be petted, ofcourse they didn't respond to him that way. I finally figured it out when someone who had been petting him stopped and Rocky started barking at my friend as if to say "hey did I tell you to stop???,"
Anyways, I have been working on making sure my neighbours don't pay attention to him til he sits. Spoilt little guy!

kuroguro
December 19th, 2005, 07:08 AM
thanks beetlecat and babyrocky for your great suggestions. Kuro and I will try out the advice and keep you posted!

tenderfoot
December 19th, 2005, 03:23 PM
This is about this bigger picture. He is taking charge because he loves you but doesn't trust you can keep him or you safe in the big world. He is more comfortable with you now and is stepping up to the plate to take charge. he is worse around home because he feels like its his territory to protect but it but it get worse further will likely home as he is successful with this behavior.
Training is going to help but remember its not just about sits and downs. It's about who you are with him all of the time. Playing, feeding, grooming, working, loving, etc.
You have to take charge and correct the bad behavior choices and teach him good behavior and reward that. He needs to see that you don't approve of his assertive behavior, but you love his gentle behavior. You might have to be firm at first but consistency is the most important factor.

kuroguro
December 20th, 2005, 09:32 AM
tenderfoot, thanks for your response. this makes a lot of sense to me and i will consider the ways i can consistently apply my approval/disapproval to his behaviours. i am also trying to let him know i will take care of everything as his leader so he doesn't have to feel so protective of me/us. he is 3 years old and i have only had him for 2 months so we are still learning about each other. i don't know much of his prior history - he was a stray when he was found by animal services. judging by the shape he was in, he had been alone for awhile. i imagine he had to acquire a lot of skills to navigate in the "big world" and he still needs to learn to trust that i can protect both of us when out there. again, thanks for your advice. it gave me a lot to think about.