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Old August 9th, 2008, 10:21 PM
blaster1985 blaster1985 is offline
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german short haired pointer charging

Hello everyone, we have adopted a 2 year old GSP and she's fantastic except in one way; she charges the front gate of our yard whenever someone walks by. She has a very loud and intimidating bark that startles passerbys and we would like some suggestions on how to inhibit this behavior. She seems to want to alert us to some intrusion, that is not necessary to us, but we don't wish to become the annoying neighbors on the corner! We appreciate all ideas and thank you in advance!
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Old August 10th, 2008, 10:10 AM
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kigndano kigndano is offline
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here is what i would do.

get someone from the house to play the "passer by" of the gate. have them go outside 10 minutes or so before hand so that the dog doesnt know who will be walking by. (if your gate is easily seen through this may not work anyways, so you might need to rercruit someone to help)

have the person walk by - and go back and forth in front of the gate. it is YOUR job to walk in front of your dog, and claim the area next to the gate. you do this by simply standing in front of the gate facing your dog. and whenever the do charges the gate, YOU get between the dog and gate yourself.

you MUST stay with the exercise until the dog moves backwards away from the gate and stops barking. once that happens you yourself move from the gate.

if the dog goes back to the gate you must repeat the process until the dog surrenders to the exercise.

i did this with my dog a few times when he barked at squirrels in the backyard. i simply stood between him and the glass door, and pointed away into the house. when he turned and moved, i left. it only took a few reps and he doesnt do it anymore.


it worked for me, so give it a shot.

and good luck
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Old August 10th, 2008, 10:16 AM
blaster1985 blaster1985 is offline
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gsp charging

Thanks for the advice; we are doing something similar, without much success; let's face it, without any success. Very stubborn dog but we will try your suggestion of getting in between her and the gate to get her to back away. I want to be able to let her be free in the fenced yard without her barking at people passing in the front of the house. By the time I get there, the person is already gone and her barking usually is over. She is alerting the pack(us) of a perceived threat; she probably feels she is doing her job, but we don't need to be alerted just because someone is walking by!
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Old August 10th, 2008, 01:58 PM
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kigndano kigndano is offline
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exactly!

and to let HER know that you dont want that from her you must claim the area, that way, in HER mind someone is already controlling that situation, and she does not need to because you are!

good luck!
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Old August 11th, 2008, 10:39 AM
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Lissa Lissa is offline
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Is this the only time that she barks or does she also do this indoors or when riding in a car?

Is she getting enough physical and mental stimulation? How long ago did you adopt her? Does she have an enough command that she listens to 100%? Can you call her off when she is barking (ie: is she responsive to you)?

Is she simply barking or when you say "charging" do you mean that she is running back and forth, barking constantly? If so, I would consider that barrier aggression/frustration more than a "alert" barking.

I personally wouldn't continue attempting to "claim the area" in front of the fence... Dogs who are so focused on their trigger will likely find your presence rewarding ... While you are trying to let the dog know that the fence is yours - the dog is likely to ignore you completely or be REINFORCED unintentionally or it becomes a game of trying to evade you and get to the fence... Not to mention, that most dogs learn that when you aren't in proximity they can revert to barking/charging.
I do not see a problem with using your body as a barrier/interruption between your dog and her trigger but it won't work alone IMO.

Since barking is a self-rewarding behaviour, I wouldn't let her outside unsupervised - you don't want her to continue practicing the barking.
I personally would use positive reinforcement because instead of focusing on what you don't want, you are focusing on what you DO want from your dog and rewarding heavily for appropriate behaviour.
First, I would suggest you shape a "call off" cue - one that means "run to me as fast as you can because great things will happen". You need to have a reward ready that your dog LOVES. You will need to train this cue away from her triggers first and slowly add them. This will help you when you start adding triggers and it will also help you manage the situation when necessary.
While you are training a call off cue, I would take her to the fence and have a volunteer walk by. Reward her the instant your friend walks by and continue to do so until your friend is out of sight (even if she is getting a few barks in). Do this a couple of times and she will start looking to you instead of barking. At that point, ease up on the rewards - now you only reward if she is actively engaged (ie: run through OB commands)... If she reverts to barking, you can ignore or use your body to interrupt or use a no reward marker (which indicates that she made the wrong choice) - when she looks back at you reward. It won't take long for her to realize that barking isn't as rewarding.
You can also try big-time desensitization (borderline flooding) where you have a lot of her triggers walk back and forth constantly, regardless of what your dog does. While flooding is not something I generally like, it is what I had to with my friends Std. Poodle as nothing was as rewarding as barking and anything I did only reinforced him. I let him react and did nothing, I asked my volunteers to keep walking back and forth, acting like the maniac poodle did NOT exist. Eventually the Poodle realized that no matter how much he barked, nothing changed at that point he stopped for instant and I marked and rewarded. He gave up on the barking and engaged with me. While there was is always a tendancy for him to bark whenever he heard or saw something it was 1-2 ALERT barks and then a call off had him running back to me.
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Old August 11th, 2008, 12:51 PM
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kigndano kigndano is offline
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"While you are trying to let the dog know that the fence is yours - the dog is likely to ignore you completely or be REINFORCED unintentionally or it becomes a game of trying to evade you and get to the fence... Not to mention, that most dogs learn that when you aren't in proximity they can revert to barking/charging.
I do not see a problem with using your body as a barrier/interruption between your dog and her trigger but it won't work alone IMO."

A dog will learn that the fence and the area belongs to the human, same principle as teaching a dog what to chew/not chew on. over time they understand what things are acceptable. the dog will certainly not ignore her if she stands in front of her and moves towards her as she is reacting. it is impossible for the dog to ignore you if you are in her line of sight (esp. her target...aka the fence)

i totally agree with your logic for a command to usefor when people are there, but a standard recall command should work there, no need to train a new one right?
BUT that doesnt help if no one is around.

it also does nothing in the dogs mind to change her feeling that she has to control the gate. THAT is the issue here IMO, the dog feels that she is controlling the entrance to the house when she should KNOW that the humans control it.

just my but i dont feel like a command will do the trick.



"While you are training a call off cue, I would take her to the fence and have a volunteer walk by. Reward her the instant your friend walks by and continue to do so until your friend is out of sight (even if she is getting a few barks in). Do this a couple of times and she will start looking to you instead of barking"

im not sure rewarding her even while barking wont just confuse the dog, isnt that a mixed message?

im not a positive training guru or anything, just seems like mixed signals for the pup.

only.
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Old August 11th, 2008, 02:25 PM
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Ford Girl Ford Girl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lissa View Post
Is she getting enough physical and mental stimulation?
This is the first thing I thought too, exercise, how much exercise does your dog get? Backyard wandering doesn't count, real exercise outside of the yard. And socialization.

Dogs become possesive of their yard if they are bored. What else does your dog have to do in its day?

Do you have a leadership role with this dog already? As in, is this your only problem area? Proper exercise and stimulation and structure often solves issues such as this.
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