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Discussion Starter #1
Our 11 month old doodle Sadie, has been a "shop" dog ever since we brought her home. She goes to work with my husband at his art gallery. Although we have gone through several issues - peeing when she sees her favourite customers, jumping on family members when they come in, we have dealt with everything so far. The staff and (most) customers all love her and she loves them.

New problem - and I'm not sure how to solve this one. She has started growling menacingly at certain people when they walk in the door. Especially people with hats - and winter is coming so she will be seeing more of those. How can we prevent this? It's not good for business to have a large dog growling at customers when they walk in the door! Some people are genuinely frightened. I really want her to be able to keep going to work with my husband. The alternative is staying home alone. Any advice / help is appreciated!
 

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One thing that comes to mind is to have a few training sessions away from the art gallery exposing her to people with different hats and correcting her if she growls. I mean intentionally have friends come over with hats on to help with this. I guess you could do that at the gallery, too. Or, you could walk her on the sidewalk in areas where there are alot of people dressed in all different ways so she gets used to seeing all kinds of things.
 

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Hi Jannie, I agree that seeking specialized training is a great idea.

At 11 months, your dog is going through a second "fearful" stage...so now is a good time to nip this fear if you expect your dog to be a companion around strangers.

I found an article about growling and it had a specific part about hats:

"Notice too whether beards, hats, big purses, overcoats, etc., may be affecting her initial attitude toward some of your guests. If so, then parade around the house yourself with these attachments as much as you can so she gets used to them. The beard might be hard to imitate, but just anything on your face in those areas would help, maybe tying a bandana around it. "
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the advice everyone. I will try those techniques.

She seems to thinking of herself as more and more of a guard dog. At home, she will bark if she notices someone walking on the street outside the house. I don't know how she even knows they are there - she goes from a dead sleep to barking at the window at anyone walking by. The barking really gets intense when someone actually steps or drives onto our property and comes to the door. I know it is in a dog's nature to be protective, and I know she would never hurt anybody, but the barking is an annoying behaviour I would like to correct (somehow).
 

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I have a dog like that...but you will be glad to know that as she grew, she has gotten very good at stopping when I say her name.

I have heard that dogs who bark like that are learning that their bark "scares the offender away" ... because they bark at someone passing by, or the mail delivery person and the person leaves...which reinforces their "power" over the intruder...

But, now I am really just happy with the way Lexie (my barker) handles it...she barks, but I say "settle" or "Lexie" and she stops...sometimes, when she really can't control herself, she puts a stuffed toy in her mouth to muffle the sound...it is so funny!
 

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good input!
I have nothing to add in experience...except that the remote ultrasonic thing I got does help with inappropriate barking. But I thought the idea of staging with friends wearing hats is a GREAT idea!

Also, I would think that crating in the gallery if you have a back room <?> while training, might help you and/or your hubby concentrate on clients without too much distraction or embarassment.
 

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Maureen, have you actually tried the ultrasonic device? I have considered that, but I don't want to waste money on something that I don't know much about.

I'd love to have something that might control barking when I am away...that is my biggest fear, that my dogs will bark too much when I am gone. I have to keep them inside so that they won't bark outside and disturb the neighbors, but I'd love to let them outside...

Do you have any advice?
 

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There is a device that you can plug in, and leave at the front door. It might be PERFECT for you to have, so you could turn it on when you leave the house. I can't hear it when it's on, by the way - someone gave us one. We have tried both and it's clear that the dogs do hear something and respond with surprise, and it sort of seems to distract their attention.

I have mixed feelings about the one that is plugged in and left on. But the handheld remote has a drawback in that you have to have it with you, in your hand for it to work, of course.

Either way, I definitely like this better than the citronella collars, which distract by spraying something from the collar onto the dog's face, or the shock-collar, which senses the vibrations from the throat and gives a slight (adjustable) jolt when it picks up the vibration.

We had dogshow dogs next door :roll: and once when she was complaining about our dogs barking she told us she had used the shock collar. so no wonder her dogs were quiet!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We had a crate at the gallery but she has outgrown it. We have a back room but it doesn't have a door so she can run to the front if and when she hears the front door open. Sometimes we tie her out in the backyard, which sometimes works, but other times she barks to get back in.

We had an employee with a dog that barked a few years ago (we are dog friendly employees). The dog was a little shitz-hu and it barked when anyone came in. The employee bought a citronella collar for her. Whenever she barked, she was sprayed with citronella, which she found unpleasant. That stopped the barking.

I hadn't considered a bark control collar but may have to if the barking continues.
 

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I put a citronella collar on Lexie and it was horrible! I am sure that this doesn't happen often, but I am so grateful that I was home...

Lexie had the collar on, she barked and then came RUNNING into the office (where I was at the computer, imagine that) and she frantically went under the desk and was pawing at her face and rubbing on the floor...she was really in a panic...I could smell the citronella but couldn't get to Lexie...so I put my hand over the collar and the sprayer was stuck! It continued to spray and wouldn't stop!

I blocked it from Lexie's face, and then got it off of her...and I felt so sad...poor Lexie...she didn't deserve that! I felt so guilty...so I have decided never to trust a device that could malfunction again...not when it could hurt my babies...nosiree!
 

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Jannie - there are really nice baby gates now that fit in the doorway by tension and then they have a gate within the gate that opens very easily and swings closed all by itself. I have three in the house and love them. That way, Sadie can see out from the back room and you can see her and she can not bother the customers. I ordered mine from Target.com. I would definitely do something like that until you can socialize her more. Even though she is at the shop and sees people, it sounds to me like she needs more socialization. Obedience classes are great for that because they are around other dogs and other people. The trainers and other dog owners spend time approaching your dog and petting them, too, so they really get used to people. There are other ways to socialize the dogs too. You can take them to parks, pet stores, etc. I take Doc to Petsmart and Petco all the time and he loves it. People love to come up and talk to him and pet him and I always make him sit first so he can learn good manners. He usually lays right down and lets them pet him - he's pretty mellow. Doc is in his third level of obedience classes. You can never do too many! :D Is there an obedience club in your area that offers obedience classes? The one we have here is terrific and has all levels of classes up to advanced obedience for competitive obedience.
 

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I agree with intense socialization. I was not aware that a second fear stage occured at 11 months--that's what Dakota will be on Friday.

I can totally understand the pain of malfunctioning devices. I once had a Springer that was a major barker--anything triggered him! He would float on his raft in the pool and bark at the doves on the power lines! :roll: Finally, we got a note from a neighbor asking us to control our dog--we knew we had to do something, so we bought a shock collar. Soon after we got it, TJ was wandering around in the back yard doing his usual barking with no reaction to the collar. A bit later, he was walking around--not making a peep--and suddenly he yelped and leaped like a rabbit--he was so distressed and confused. :shock: After a couple more malfunctions I was almost in tears. We got rid of that collar! I don't remember how we followed on after that but I guess we did something, much kinder, that worked--kind of, maybe, sort of!

Dakota, on the other hand, has been easy to correct (and I'm speaking here ONLY of barking!) If he is outside barking, I open the door and he immediatly stops and comes in. He is allowed to bark inside ONLY if he is alerting us to an outside noise. Generally that is Sean and Sparky coming over and he's barking out of pure delight. When he wants to talk to us, he has developed a delightful silent bark--he goes through all the motions of a bark but not a peep comes out! :lol:
Diane (and Dakota)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
We had Sadie in obedience classes but I wasn't too impressed with the instructor, and since it was a 45 minute drive to get there, on Saturday mornings when we had a million other things to do, we didn't continue with them.

Sadie only barks at certain people at the shop. Sometimes she just looks up to see who it is, then stays where she is. With other people, she will get up and run over to greet them. But lately, she has been growling or sometimes barking at certain people. No real pattern to it that I can see, but I am not there with them all day. My husband mentioned she didn't seem to like people with hats, so we're going to try and work on that one.

At home, she barks whenever she hears someone at the door or even walking by on the street. She fancies herself a guard dog I guess . . . but it is annoying and we need to work on getting her to stop. I wonder what the dog whisperer has to say about that. Anybody read anything about the "guard dog" syndrome in his books?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hello there

Sadie is still spending most of her days at the gallery, except for weekends and days when I am at home. Most of the time she is really good (from what my husband tells me). She will still sometimes bark when the door opens, but will stop when told to. She knows all of our regular customers and most of them are dog lovers so she gets lots of lov'in. Even the delivery guys bring her treats! We also have a bit of a yard and parking lot at the back so we sometimes tie her up out there for some fresh air, or if someone who is afraid of dogs comes in.

All in all, it's working out pretty well.

So have hope, I'm sure it will work out for you too. Sadie is now about a year and half old, and while still a puppy, she has matured quite a bit.

Good luck!
 

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Jannie if you can try like what others said...wear different hats and so on at home to condition her to it. OR work with a private trainer for specialization training on this issue

And Max at times I swear is baking at Ghosts? hahahhaa he does HUSH though as he knows that word. I wil say however he can be protective with me when i am home alone or in car with him alone and growls at first.
If i tell him it's okay and to hush he does.

the only other thing i did about his barking and occaisional growling was to pat the persons leg like they were a dog and say how good they were. it worked for me with my boys other teenage friends over alot recently.
HOWEVER in an art gallery i don't think this would be feasible.

I say consult with a private trainer? it might help and give good insight to her new fear period. Just an outloud thought.
 

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Hi Vanessa, it is true, they do have a second fear cycle around their 11-13 month age. I read about it in the "Puppy Tool Kit" and was surprised too.
It is so important to socialize puppies with every thing you can think of for the first two years of their lives.
 

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Thanks...and I am glad that you are hanging in there...with the knowledge that it will pass! Don't you just love the "settle" command?
 

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JAC thank heavens last OCT you let me know about that word "Settle" when Max would not respond to down. worked like a charm and still does to this day though now he knows the difference between DOWN and settle means just that: cool it buddy hhahahhahaha

peanut for some reason is hyper but wow does she ever "settle" down when told to sit at my side and ignore Max hahaha which she does :D but she also the one that kinds sorta like defuzzed my basketball slippers last week :roll:
 
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