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Barking at guests...

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Stewie

On the Look Out
 
 
Barked: Fri Dec 31, '10 12:28am PST 
So I posted this earlier this month in the B&T thread but it didn’t get too much response because the ‘Dogster regulars’ post is always taking over. So I’ve decided to post it in the small dogs instead. Sorry for the long post, just wanted to include all the necessarily details.
Stewie is a dachshund cross (11lbs). He is very people shy; I adopted him about 2 months ago.

At home he has been barking at guests and also my mom (who lives with me). I believe he is trying to protect me. I have tried telling him NO but he doesn't understand the No concept, and I also try calling him back to me but he doesn’t usually listen (haven’t really taught him that either). Any time I am holding him he won't bark but I can't always be there to hold him. His barking wasn't as bad when I first got him, either this has developed or a returning quality from his last home...

Stewie mainly barks when someone comes into the house, room or even walking around a corner. Once the person/people have settled in he will calm down. We went to our cousins for Christmas dinner and Stewie came along. He is fine when everyone is sitting and even if everyone is standing around. But if one or two people walk in to the room/group he’ll start barking.

Plus I think I should add. He is not food or toy motivated when he is distracted. Even when I’m alone with him and I get up from the couch or leave the room he will leave any treat or toy behind to see what I am doing.
He will not bark at strangers on walks or anything. It is mainly at home... thinking and he seems to be ‘ok’ when he’s home alone with my mom as well.

I can't ignore him because I'm afraid he'll bite...red face
And I'm trying to teach him that people are nice but its taking a long time to get him to trust. He has gone from running away from the person wanting to pet him to just leaning away or moving behind me.
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The Boys

The Three- Stooges.
 
 
Barked: Sun Jan 2, '11 8:50pm PST 
Sorry I can't help you my dogs do the same thing. Someone walks into the room they bark.shrug Drives me nuts and I haven't been able to curb it. shrug
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Dingo

Leader of the- Dog Gestapo
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 6, '11 9:08am PST 
Patricia McConnell had an interesting solution for this: Teach him to speak on command. If you do that, you prompt the behavior and connect the stopping with a pleasant thing (a treat or toy). Like any other training, it should be started with no distractions and worked up to a real situation. Also, socialization with many different people and places many help; a barking dog is an anxious or frightened dog and it's possible he sees the new people as a threat. Desensitization should dull the barking if not get rid of it completely. I do not believe he is protecting you, but probably aware that you are the Giver of Good Things and thus do not frighten or threaten him. Try giving approved treats to people entering the room and giving them. That will create a connection to new people and good things. Make it a GOOD treat, like liver or meat. I don't know any dog who would turn down a nice, smelly meaty treat.

If the behavior escalates to biting AT ANY TIME you should contact a professional trainer for behavior analysis and corrective training. Even though the dog is small, I tell people all the time the best way to look at it is to imagine that the dog is 100+ lbs. People wouldn't tolerate a St Bernard lunging at people, but they often think a 10 lb Pom doing it is adorable. Small dogs can do damage, although you seem to be already aware of this. Kudos!
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