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melanie November 30th, 2003 04:24 PM

we need help with answering the door- dog Q
Hi all,
we are in need of some training tips for greeting visitors at our house. my 8yo sheperd X is a good girl, very friendly, and well trained. but when someone comes to the front door and knocks she goes a little bark crazy, yes it is of course normal to bark when someone comes to the door but this is a little over the top (she is not a barker at anyother time of day except for at the postlady). but she is not being angry aggressive when she barks, she wags her tail and welcomes them warmly when they enter with a big lick and cuddle. the biggest problem is that she scares people (especially those who are not dog people) and annoys the hell out of me as she wont shut up for a good 3-5 minutes. before we open the door i make her go outside most of the time (unless it is her friends) but she barks just as loudly and for just as long when she is out the back. i dont want to stop her barking, i would just like her to stop it when i ask. she even barks at her friends and family that come to visit but she knows and loves these people and animals. how can i control the barking??It drives me crazy and it is made worse by the fact that she is such a good girl in general and i hate the thought of anyone being scared of her as she is just not like that. i wonder if it is a dominance problem, a territory problem or other?? just to note, we have just moved from a farm where she got to greet everyone before they made it to the door and we didnt have such a big problem, she has lived in town before going to the farm so she is not new to this form of living..:D

Lucky Rescue November 30th, 2003 07:09 PM

"Alarm barking" is genetic, and present in most dogs to varying degrees, and usually cannot be stifled completely. German Shepherds are quite prone to this behavior. Dogs do this to alert their "pack" to the presence of an intruder.

Most people want their dogs to bark a warning or alarm when someone is at the door, but want it to stop quickly. To do this, you need to teach your dog "Enough".

To teach "Enough," set up a situation in which your dog will bark, but not excessively; knock on the door, for instance. After one or two barks, stop knocking and make a sound or distraction that will get her to switch her attention to you. If she stops barking, immediately say "Enough" and reward her with a treat and praise. If she does not stop barking, put that delicious treat right in front of her nose. When she stops barking for a second or two say "Enough," wait a few more seconds and if she is quiet, give her the treat and praise.

Timing is critical she must be quiet when you give her the treat or she will think she is being rewarded for continuing to bark. Be sure to say "Enough" when she is quiet, not when she is barking. Later, as she associates "Enough" with being quiet, you can use it as a command to stop barking.

You need to start this training with just one or two people - a crowd is too much stimulation.

Also, make sure you never soothe or comfort your dog when she's barking ("Oh, it's o.k. - it's allright") Dogs see this as PRAISE for barking.

melanie November 30th, 2003 11:29 PM

that is FANTASTIC advice, you should be making millions... i will start the training immeadiatly and i will have a jar of goodies on hand near the door. i think you may just have solved this problem. again thank you so much for the advice it is brilliant.:D

wAggie December 4th, 2003 11:42 PM

hehehe... thanx for providing this advice

i hope it works for us as well!


Luba December 5th, 2003 12:05 AM

LR you're brilliant as usual ;)

daisy18216 December 8th, 2003 12:16 AM

Hello LR,

I tried using that Enough command with my German Shepard and sometimes it works and other times it doesn't. When it doesn't work I have to open the front door and look outside with Ruger right next to me looking out the door also (Petie is on the couch looking out, and Thor tries to get in between Ruger and me).

My big barker is Ruger. Is there another solution I can try for him. He is very protective of us (especially when my hubby is working) Ruger is so alert that he even barks at the wind (whenhe hears it).

I'm glad thathe is alert like this, but sometimes it gets really annoying (and he wakes up my kids, cuz he's like the engergizer bunny he keeps barking and barking and barking.

You help me in so many ways, I have faith in you that you will have a solution for me also.

Thanks a bunch, sorry I just jumped in here on your post melanie.

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