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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sam DOES NOT like people coming into/near our house...
We understand that barking is his way of telling us someone is here, but the level of fuss he makes is becoming unacceptable!

He howls, barks, and growls at even the slightest noise by the door...
He jumps up and stands on the couch sometimes!
If the basement door opens he flips out even if it was someone home just opening it... or if a member of our family goes out the front door.
When people enter the house he growls fiercely and gives a mean sounding bark while backing away and then returning to the door to keep acting mean...
He makes a scene when my DAD or MOM comes home and doesn't stop when they actually come inside...

We aren't really sure how to fix this issue.
Time outs don't work because he kniws he will get one now and runs away before we can put him in one.
Shushing him doesn't work...
Yelling doesn't work...
Petting him and speaking calmly doesn't work...
Gently grabbing his nose and saying quiet works for a second maybe. And he only stays in a "Sit" for a second before he bounds of to growl...
Having guests feed him a treat when they enter doesn't work.
Neither does making a big deal about the company and saying "Ok, somebody is here. Thank you." (Which we say every time someone comes over so we think he should understand by now)

Someone give us an idea, please!
 

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I would be leaving a leash on him so that I have something to use in maintaining control of him. Have him go some distance from the door and make him sit... anytime someone comes in. Don't let him approach them until he's calmed down and has earned the right to interact. If you have people who are willing, have them come and go repeatedly for a while and even have them offer him treats when he HAS behaved. If he doesn't behave he doesn't get one...

As for your own family moving around within the house, I would just ask them to do it over and over again until he becomes desensitized to it. Doodles are smart... he will come to realize what's acceptable and what's not... and what gets him praise and treats. You just might need to set aside some time to subject him to the things that cause him to act out over and over again until he realizes it's not a threat.

It sounds like he's insecure and on the defense... which can result in biting. You're right to be concerned and putting a stop to it before it reaches that point.

Good luck!
 

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I hope Im remembering correctly that Sam is a recue who had been mistreated?

sometimes dogs who have been abuses/neglected can develop very agressive nature - Sam may have been mistreated when his owners came home so he may associate people coming in with bad treatment - it is hard to know what goes thru their minds

we rescued a dog when I was a child who had been mistreated and neglected - it took Brownie a long time to get used to people, once he knew you he was ok but if he heard something or someone he didnt know came to the door, he BARKED and BARKED after awhile of us telling him it was ok and petting him, calming him, making him sit, he started to calm down - His entire life with us (14 yrs) he always barked at people with sunglasses and gray hair and always at the mailman, even though Dan always brought him a biscuit

Other than continually telling him it's okay ( when it is someone who is ok) then after a few barks telling him no and making him sit (thats what we did with Brownie) I dont know what else to tell you

I'm sure someone here has some experience with barkers in that manner and will be along to help

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, we were concerned that he might get into fear biting but if anyone even so much as steps towards him he hides under the coffee table or bed and resumes growling under there...

He acts mean, but he is really a big fraidy. It's not his fault because he was abused in his last home (never again...poor baby!), but he freaks out if anything even makes a noise that sounds remotely like a knock.

He actually just growled at the TV several times a second ago...
 

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Brownie used to hide under tables - I remember Mom always took him when she went next door to visit or around the corner to our friends as we did also. As soon as we walked in the house - Brownie hitailed it for the living room and crawled under an end table adn stayed there until it was time to leave - even though he would go to both those homes a few times a week and those people were in ours, he still had the fear - breaks my heart that we can't make them understand we will protect them and they don't need to be afraid anymore :cry:

Give him lots and lots of lvoe and attention, hopefullly in time he will get better, Brownie did, but he always had some fear in him - He was the most awesome dog though, loving and protective - once you got to know him he was fine with you
 

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de ja vu

Our Bodzin did the things that you speak of when we first rescued him too... BUT he now is very cool with the neighbors whose voice he recognizes, and he has toned down the growl/run away from people thing a lot. We have had him going on 3 months now and have showered him with love and socialization. We rewarded him when he started coming to the door to greet and not bark.
He starts obedience classes next week and I think will show soon that he can not be freaked out by men.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sammy is freaked out by men as well. But some men he is okay with, the smaller ones a lot.

But our biggest thing is him barking mean at my Daddy and Mommy when they come home and him getting defensive at mere noises...

We expect to have to work on the liking new people/meeting company thing.
 

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I would recommend you find a really good trainer to work one-on-one (one-on-two?) with you and Sam.

I know what our trainer would do, I think. He is very much aligned w/Cesar's philosophy of balancing the dog's energy, distracting, rewarding correct behavior. He would have you keep the leash on, have Sam sit when someone is at the door (we have Pixie sit about 4-5 feet back from the door, she is very interested in whoever is there), give him the sit/stay commands, give corrections for breaking the stay or for any barking/growling. And then rewards w/petting/attention/treats when he does what you want.

The correction he taught us is to hold your hand stiff, fingers stretched out, and to sharply prod the dog in the shoulder or hip (not a soft area, to avoid injury). Trial and error will determine how sharply you need to jab. This mimics the mother or pack leader nipping a dog's shoulder as a correction.

I think it would be really helpful to have someone going over it with you in person, though. You could have family members or friends come to the door over and over, to help Sam practice the correct behavior. Good luck!
 

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When we adopted our Lulu, she also was not kindly to visitors. In fact she presented herself as she would just as soon rip you to shreds. :evil:

We started by putting her on a leash and then presenting her to visitors as if they were judges. They were to look at her. She was to sit quietly by our side. As long as she did not growl or bark we praised and patted her. As soon as she started to growl we used a sharp NO! and turned away from her.

Then the visitor was asked to come one step closer. As long as Lulu behaved, she was petted and praised. the final step was for the visitor to present a large dog bone. And Lulu would be allowed to have it only if she took it nicely.

This takes a bit of time and patience on the part of the visitor, but it works. After a few of these interactions, she got the idea that these folks weren't mean or scary and that they had good treats to get.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think we are gonna need obedience classes to correct this. Sammy doesn't seem to know the command "stay" and doesn't stay in his "sit" for more than a few second when he gets all worked up like that...
 

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I think all of this is great advice. I saw a Cesar Milan episode with the same issue. He recommended that visitors and you ignore the dog when they come over until he calms down. Basically no touch, talk or eye contact when they enter the house. There are some episodes on the National Geographic channel web site that you can watch.

Manchego likes to bark and get excited about new visitors. The hardest part for me is getting people to ignore him. When they give him attention he gets more excited and barks more... when they ignore him he calms down right away.

Either way hiring a trainer/behaviorist might be a good idea as suggested above.

Good luck!
 
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