Next, the dog can be trained to rest on a training mat or sit while focused on the owner when a visitor approaches the door. Territorial aggression, when confined to barking at the sound of approaching strangers can be a bane or a blessing, depending on the circumstances and the owner’s control of the situation. This can cause the unwanted behavior to increase in frequency and intensity. The main one has to be the question “Why would two dogs who have lived together, often for If the guest is frightened of dogs or has severe pet allergies, it may be best to crate the dog or keep them in a different room or outside while the visitor is present. Electronic fences pose a particular problem for dogs with territorial aggression. Bear in mind that the territorially aggressive dog is reacting because he wants the intruder to depart. Exercise. Forewarn guests about any possible poor manners from the dog, emphasizing that the animal is still being trained and isn't always used to visitors. 5 Put your dog on a … For these dogs, all off-lead exercise should be conducted in safe places, with constant supervision by an informed owner who has realistic expectations of the dog’s behavior. Dog aggression stems from the dog’s frustration and dominance. Perhaps they do possess a low level of dominance and would bark anyway, but some are also insecure, anxious, or even frankly fearful. Your ultimate goal will be to have your dog sit at the door while you answer it. If these exercises are performed frequently enough, and with an assortment of strangers, starting with the least threatening and working up to the most threatening, the dog will learn that their presence is associated with positive experiences. Fear aggressive dogs generally have enough confidence to be aggressive to strangers on or off their own territory. We are constantly adding new specials to our site. “The territory” generally includes the house and yard, plus abutting areas (e.g. Leash the dog. There’s the constant concern of an incident happening despite your best efforts at prevention. At this point, the stranger should be asked to toss one of the dog’s favorite food treats toward him. The key point to remember is not to suddenly expose the dog to the full intensity of the stimulus but to very gradually “up the ante.” At no point should the dog be allowed to become aggressive during training. Townsend, MA, Driven by It can be embarrassing and uncomfortable when a dog is rude or aggressive toward a visitor, but with consistent training, proper socialization and good techniques for coping with guests, every dog can have suitable company manners for greeting and interacting with visitors. The bite is usually of a hit-and-run nature – a cheap shot. For dogs that do not readily respond to food or play, it is helpful to train the dog to relax on command by responding to verbal and visual cues from the owner. A non-confrontational approach to leadership is the best way to accomplish this important task. Once the dog calmly accepts the stranger’s approach, the visitor can knock, and eventually enter the home as long as the dog remains quiet and relaxed. Be sure to check back often! Some dogs are only a problem when people come into their perceived territory and so be especially careful at doorways, gates and even the doors to the car. If the dog is sitting or lying down and appears relaxed in the visitor’s presence, the visitor could slide a small food treat toward the dog, if this will not startle him. ©Copyright 1999 - 2021. While not every technique will be effective with every dog, using several tactics to help them get used to guests will help the dog develop better manners for every stranger they interact with. Dominant dogs have a responsibility to warn other pack members of a stranger’s approach and they do this with confidence and authority. For difficult cases, it may be helpful to treat territorially aggressive dogs with anti-anxiety, anti-aggressive medication. We currently do not have any events scheduled. To be able to truly understand how to stop dog aggression, you’ll need to find out what makes your dog aggressive in the first place. sidewalks) that the dog patrols, and family vehicles in which he rides. Then the dog should be required to remain in position as the owner exits the room, but remains nearby. Does your dog like to bark at everyone who comes to your home? Once the dog remains relaxed when people are quietly sitting in the home, he can be taught to accept them moving about. Dogs can have many different reactions to visitors, from excited piddling and jumping to fearful growling and anxiety to barking and aggression. A dog that has bitten a stranger coming onto the property should not be allowed to roam unsupervised while there is the faintest chance of a stranger entering his zone. Borderline-low levels of the principal thyroid hormone may be associated with increased anxiety, and thus aggression. Out on the street, these same dogs may not have the courage to intimidate their adversaries, although they might wish they had. Show the guest what verbal commands or hand signals should be used so the dog gets consistent clues about how to behave. Something unfamiliar appears -- be it an object, person, or other animal -- and your dog sees it as threatening. Assuming that your dog’s behavior is not a result of boredom or frustration due to a lack of appropriate exercise, let’s take a look at why dogs seemingly randomly become aggressive. This will also help the dog recognize the hierarchy of visitors so they behave accordingly when anyone comes to visit. We find these muzzles to be effective and more humane than standard muzzles. Where owners have some control, they can usually reassure the dog that the person is, in fact, welcome, at which point the dog will settle down. I get calls every week because people want help with dogs who react badly to anyone who comes to the house. As youngsters, they may back up and bark at the sound of people approaching but, as they grow older, they find themselves more intimidating and learn that they can drive the bogeyman away. Uniformed visitors, like the mail carriers, are prime targets for this learned type of aggression. Effective options include…. For example, it may be possible to cue the dog to lie down in a relaxed posture, or sit and watch his owner, while a stranger walks by the end of the drive, rewarding the dog with a food treat for remaining relaxed, calm, and in position. Employ a Gentle Leader® head halter to exert the optimal control of the dog in aggression-inducing situations. Ensure that the dog receives regular daily exercise (20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily is a minimum). The bites of territorial fear aggressive dogs are usually directed towards the “nether regions” of the offender (e.g. For indoor sessions, owners can also train the dog to perform a 20-minute “down-stay” on a specific bed or mat that is used only for training. The efficacy of such treatments will vary from case to case but price, side effects, and other logistical concerns will determine the order in which these treatments are tried. Aggression toward people is born from anxiety and fear. Owners can start by having the guest slowly stand up and then sit down. The objective is to have the dog follow the owner’s directives as and when issued. The owner can then ask the person to quietly retreat to a distance at which it was previously comfortable and resume training (as long as the dog is not too aroused). Counterconditioning. If owners are consistent with this approach, the dog will learn that he must look to them to obtain anything he needs or wants, such as food, freedom, play, and social interaction. These exercises should be repeated with a variety of different people. One to two 5-minute sessions per day are usually sufficient. Limiting interaction can smooth over very awkward situations with ease. It’s very rare for a dog to become violent out of nowhere. Dogs are more likely to show aggression towards visitors who make them feel in some way confronted, which is why totally ignoring them is very important. You have to manage or prevent any situations that cause your dog to behave aggressively. The approach to controlling fear-based territorial aggression is more problematic. All dogs that have shown aggression to visitors in the past should be trained to wear a basket-style muzzle. Dog aggression is a major dog problem for owners. Safety Precautions. Obedience Training. Dogs with the confidence to bite strangers present a danger to any visitors to the home and a liability for the dog’s owners. The barking is also intended to alert other pack members who can join in defense of the pack’s territory. If a dog is allowed to threaten, and the subject then retreats, the dog is rewarded for showing aggression. If the dog cannot maintain the required posture and affect, and remains tense, barking and lunging at the stranger, the owner needs to return to an earlier phase of training. This requires the dog to work for anything he needs or desires (food, toys, attention, access to the outdoors etc.). Bear in mind that dogs with fear-related aggressive behavior have a tendency to snap at people when they move away, for example, when they are preparing to leave. Neither punishment nor reassurance are appropriate actions. Dog barking when visitor enters the room: this article provides a detailed sample of work that can be done with dogs who are reactive when visitors enter the home. The amount of movement the dog will tolerate, while remaining relaxed, should be increased incrementally. Perform this relaxation exercise daily for 5 days. Avoid Confrontations. Many dogs react poorly to visitors because they aren't used to being around strangers. Every dog has a different threshold of what they take. Punishment has the potential to increase the dog’s anxiety and worsen the situation. Head Halter. The more accustomed a dog is to strangers, the more they will be accepting of house guests. All Rights Reserved. There are two primary motivations for territorial behavior, dominance or fear/anxiety. Clomipramine (Clomicalm®), fluoxetine (Prozac®), buspirone (BuSpar®) are all reasonable treatment options. Despite all of the publicity involved with dog bites This technique is most effective when owners can identify and predict the situations that trigger the dog’s territorial response. There are times when a guest's behavior can cause a dog even greater anxiety or may send mixed signals to the animal. anticipates the owner), the owner should issue an alternative command, before giving the dog the desired resource. toward the person’s buttocks, thighs, or calves) … or they may simply nip, ripping clothing. Territorial/fear aggressive dogs have a lower level of confidence that permits the expression of fear aggression only on the home territory or from within the safety of the owner’s vehicle. Trouble when visitors arrive is a common concern of many guardians. Nothing in Life is Free. A basket muzzle allows the dog to pant, drink and accept small treats, but prevents biting. Next, the “down-stay” should be utilized while the owner is in the room but otherwise occupied. Click & treat training may facilitate training endeavors. If your dog is likely to be aggressive if being pet by strangers, tell others that your dog does not like to be petted. If the dog chooses to approach a guest, have the person quietly offer their hand for the dog to sniff and they may offer a treat if the dog is not too “grabby.” If the dog indicates that he would like to be petted, the guest may do so briefly, but again they should avoid reaching up and over the dog’s head and they should avoid prolonged eye contact. If the dog prefers, visitors can present the dog with a tennis ball or other preferred toy. Once trained to the muzzle, the territorially aggressive dog can be required to wear the muzzle in any particularly challenging situation. More often than not, these dogs are afraid, but people rarely call to say that they have a fearful dog. If the dog is sensitive to certain stimuli, let the guest know and request that they not contribute to the animal's anxiety. When you invite your guests in, he should not jump on them and, ideally, should greet them calmly. Reschedule the introduction between the visitor and the new dog at a different time. If the dog learns to respect his owners in this way, he will be more likely to turn to them for direction when he’s feeling challenged or fearful and will be more likely to heed directions. Dogs can have many different reactions to visitors, from excited piddling and jumping to fearful growling and anxiety to barking and aggression. Keep in mind that it’s never your dog’s fault, some dogs just There are several ways to help dogs adjust to a visitor's presence without bad behavior. After doing this several times, eventually the stranger should be able to stand a few feet from the dog while it remains calm and under control. Key to the entire program is desensitization to approaching strangers along with counterconditioning to alter the dog’s associations and behavior during progressive, planned exposure to visitors. Let the guest reward the dog's good behavior with a few kibbles or treats to share with the dog. First say, “watch me,” and move a finger toward your face. That may include feeding time, the arrival of visitors, or seeing other dogs. Under non-stressful conditions, owners should teach the dog to sit and watch them in order to receive praise or a food treat. Finally, owners should consider posting a “Beware of Dog” sign as a responsible reminder that a dog is on the property. Once the territorial dog is reliably relaxed with visitors in the home, he can be permitted to interact with them. The dog knows where his territorial boundaries are – but visitors do not, and they may unwittingly cross the line. Serving If the dog responds by paying attention in a relaxed and focused manner, reward him with a small food treat or praise him lavishly. Most often, the main culprit is a lack of proper socialization and training , but there are other causes that can contribute to this issue. Every dog owner should take steps to train their canine companion to react appropriately when guests arrive, and there are several ways to help dogs have better "company manners" when greeting guests. No stranger should reach toward the dog at this stage. One thought on “ How to Introduce Your Dog to Visiting Dogs ” C Hays January 2, 2015 at 11:17 am I usually go out and meet the new dog first, only talking with the client while the new dog decides I'm okay. If the dog does not respond aggressively, visitors can be asked to try taking a few steps before returning to their seat. Treats should be supplied if the dog remains calm. 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