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barking/whining with unknown visitors

May 14th, 2008, 10:15 PM
i know it's natural for a dog to defend it's territory, but Ollie takes it to an extreme.. not to the point of attacking, but you can hear him barking, whining, and "crying" throughout the whole house if someone comes over that he doesnt know (and since we just moved and have a lot of repairmen coming and going, its driving us nuts!)

with people he does know, he's excited and all over them for 10-20 minutes (depending on if they actually pay attention to him or not).

with people he doesnt know that i'm friends with, he doesnt leave them alone for 30 - 45 min - not barking and whining, just prancing around and snuggling, bringing them toys, throwing himself at their feet for attention, etc. thats not so bad.

i keep thinking that if he sees us being "okay" with the people who visit, then he should be too... but he can apparently pick up on if we know the person or not and if we dont, he goes crazy. i've tried distracting him, i've tried going into a different room with him, tried putting him in a different room and ignoring him, i've tried getting him to sit and focus on me, petting him when hes calm and telling him "no!" in a stern voice (sometimes spraying him with water) when he barks/whines... nothing will get him to stop!

i've also tried asking the repairmen if they mind "meeting" him for a few minutes so he can see they mean no harm, sniff their noisy toolboxes, etc.. but some of them are nervous or afraid of dogs, and the others don't have a half hour to kill while my dog gets used to them (and if they cut that time short he goes back to whining/barking his head off).

at our old place he would be fine with barking a few times when the doorbell rang and then going into a different room where we'd close the door.. he might whine a bit if he was in there for a long time, but never to this extent.

hes a medium size mutt of unknown origins, definitely has some terrier in him, knows his basic commands, about 8 years old and we've had him for about 7 of those, and is generally quiet the rest of the time (i mean, dogs bark it happens lol)... but when the repairmen are here for hours at a time and he barks/whines himself hoarse and gives everyone a headache..... lets just say our patience wears thin. we'd never hit him but we're frustrated and don't know what to do to get him to stop.

if he meets repairmen at the petstore or elsewhere he doesnt do a thing.. so its definitely about protecting us, or the house.. and we try not to get nervous or flustered when they show up in case hes picking up on our moods and mistranslating them.

any ideas??? at all?? we have a good 6 months of repairs still left, probably more, and there arent always two people in the house to deal with the situation (one for the repairman and one for the dog!). thanks!