NFR Need some help training my one year old dog

Swimmy

Riffle > Run > Pool
#1
He's a mutt. He gets very excited and barks when we have company or someone knocks. His tail is waggin' but you can tell it is a nervous energy. Has even nipped at a couple of my buds that have come into the house and try to pet.

I've started to feed him treats when a guests knocks or walks in to associate the negative with a positive but not sure it is making a difference.

He seems friendly outside of the house so guessing it is him just being protective.

Any ideas?
 

smc

Active Member
#6
He's a mutt. He gets very excited and barks when we have company or someone knocks. His tail is waggin' but you can tell it is a nervous energy. Has even nipped at a couple of my buds that have come into the house and try to pet.

I've started to feed him treats when a guests knocks or walks in to associate the negative with a positive but not sure it is making a difference.

He seems friendly outside of the house so guessing it is him just being protective.

Any ideas?
If you are giving him treats when he barks (when someone knocks on the door) you are rewarding his barking?

I would work on establishing boundries. Have your friend knock on the door. When your dog starts to bark, place yourself between your dog and the door and make it clear that he should not bark. Body language, perhaps a quick nip/pinch on the flank to distract him. No treats at all.
 

Swimmy

Riffle > Run > Pool
#7
If you are giving him treats when he barks (when someone knocks on the door) you are rewarding his barking?
Actually let me clarify, I have my guests drop him treats when they come in. I've instructed them not to make eye contact or engage with the dog, simply drop treats in his direction.

Maybe that is completely the wrong thing to do but something I say on the youtubes.
 
#8
That going to be tough to overcome at that age.

You can certainly do some training exercises but the most important thing you can do is get him out. The more people he is around the better it will get. Keep him on a short leash(i'm not against choke collars) and praise him whenever he doesn't bark. Talk in a soothing tone. Kneel down next to him, lots of rubs, and just tell him it's OK. Lots of short sessions and try to end on a good note. The more you can do that the better he will be around people in general.

That said I've never had a dog that didn't at least bark when somebody knocks on the door. Its what they do. But they should stop when you tell them its OK and to be quiet. Definitely when you open the door...

Good luck man, bad habits are really hard to break in dogs.
 

PhilR

In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey
#12
Actually let me clarify, I have my guests drop him treats when they come in. I've instructed them not to make eye contact or engage with the dog, simply drop treats in his direction.

Maybe that is completely the wrong thing to do but something I say on the youtubes.
That's the right thing to do. Classical counter-conditioning. You're helping him make the association that guests = yummy treats. You might also have a friend come over to do the door knocking as a training scenario in a deliberate way.

We've had to do this with our dog who has issues with reactivity. You may want to do a behavioral assessment with your vet, to see if this is within normal bounds. He may or may not grow out of it, or be trained out of it, but he'll get better about this with this sort of counter-conditioning.

Good luck, and feel free to reach out if you want to chat about this.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#14
Swimmy, more likely than not, you're fvcked as far as training this dog goes. The treats you're giving him are training him to bark when guests come to the door. Also it's most likely that he nips because he's afraid, and that is a big hurdle.

I'm definitely old school when it comes to dogs and subscribe to the Richard Wolter's school of dog training because it just flat out works. I never used treats at all, but I understand that many successful trainers do. You just have to be sure that the treats are not reinforcing the wrong behavior.

You missed the boat first by not bringing the dog to your home from its litter at age 49 days, having seen myself the difference even a week makes. Training also begins on day 49, although it's very low key, and then training begins in earnest at 12 weeks, but which time the dog already understands and responds to the commands of 1. it's name (a command for attention), 1. sit, 3. stay, 4. come. Those are the basic citizenship commands, and dogs possessing any innate intelligence (some don't) can learn and perform those by 12 weeks of age. And you want to begin at 12 months?

I'm not saying it can't be done, but it's gonna' be much harder. My sis got a rescue springer that was around a year old and had issues, including a major nervous fear factor. She's a disciplined trainer, and it still took two years or more to bring that dog into the sphere of "normal," after which it learned and performed OK. Not perfect, but OK to have and be around.

Oh, regarding barking, I used the command "Quiet!" accompanied by slapping a rolled up newspaper against my hand or a wall. Dogs are pack animals, and the message is that I'm the alpha leader of the pack, and I am the maker of loud noise, and other pack members can make loud noise (bark) when I say it's OK. Sometimes there are exceptions. I had a retriever who must have been traumatized by the garbage truck and garbage man in his youth, and he would bark uncontrollably each week with the arrival of the garbage truck. I never could train him out of that, and I decided to let it go since his behavior was just about perfect in every other way.

Good luck. It's gonna' take 100% discipline on the part of you, Melissa, and the boys over a long period of time to turn him into a good family dog.
 

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