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Thread: Aggression Towards Strangers

  1. #1
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    Default Aggression Towards Strangers

    Anybody here dealt with excessive aggression shown towards strangers entering your home?

    My new boy would have to be the most 'dominant aggressive' I've come across in a long time. (Definately dominant, not fear aggression.)

    I am currently attempting to resolve the problem by getting him used to regular knocks at the door; putting him into his crate till he calms down; and very firmly showing him that this behaviour is totally unacceptable!

    I must choose who enters my property, not him. I must choose the level of protection he is to show/give, not him.

    Malinois particularly, any advice or tips to help me with this one?

  2. #2
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    Frosty carries on a bit when people show up. She had a go at the lawn mower man this morning - but as best I can tell - it was bark a lot - not bite a lot. Ie we had the dog ranger around one time and she was off lead and barking at him, she could have bitten him, but she ran rings around him barking her head off instead. He was totally cool about it because he has a dog like her at his place. And I guess he's the dog ranger because he understands dogs, not because he hates them.

    Anyway to deal with the lawn mower man - who she has been introduced to - and licked to death, I kept her on lead but gave her a whole bunch of other things to do and treated her for doing them. The first one after "sit" was command to "speak". Which bizarrely almost instantly shuts her up and then she makes a very thoughtful effort to growly talk - just loud enough to get the treat. Which cracked the lawnmower man up. But after that we could have a conversation.

    I'm thinking the main things you need are distraction and other things for the dog to do. One of the Me or the dog episodes - included loading up visitors with lots of high value food treats, and getting them to toss them near or behind the dog going bonkers. Ie the bar open - visitors are good thing. You might want to have a command for this like "you've been introduced", or something that separates the welcome visitors (ok calm down now) from the unwelcome ones (go for it) for the dog.

    Also - dunno how many times I write this - if you yell at the dog for barking - it will think you're barking too and you re-inforce the behaviour. This may include "showing him that this behaviour is totally unacceptable", but I don't know what you do specifically. Time out is probably good but difficult to show a dog what you do want him to do on these occasions if he's in time out.

    I don't have a malinios, I have a cattle dog and they can get quite territorial and are quite happy to be pack leader any time you're not paying enough attention.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    I don't have a malinios, I have a cattle dog and they can get quite territorial and are quite happy to be pack leader any time you're not paying enough attention.
    I think she/he meant the member

    Sorry DA, I have no advice.

    Im actually quite excited for some real advice from a trainer thats been in the business for over 10 years at a top training facility, can't wait for his response
    Last edited by aussiemyf7; 11-02-2009 at 10:57 PM.
    Education not Legislation

  4. #4
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    Hi Aussiemyf7

    Maybe that's what PMs are for - ie if you want one particular member to respond. Sigh. I totally missed that possibility. Not sure if my comment about cattledogs applies to the spider fan.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devil's Advocate View Post
    Anybody here dealt with excessive aggression shown towards strangers entering your home?

    My new boy would have to be the most 'dominant aggressive' I've come across in a long time. (Definately dominant, not fear aggression.)

    I am currently attempting to resolve the problem by getting him used to regular knocks at the door; putting him into his crate till he calms down; and very firmly showing him that this behaviour is totally unacceptable!

    I must choose who enters my property, not him. I must choose the level of protection he is to show/give, not him.

    Malinois particularly, any advice or tips to help me with this one?
    What do you interpret as an excessive aggression? Barking a lot when someone's knocking, or your dog really wants to go for the guest (meaning attack or bite)?

    Locking him up when someone comes to your home means punishment and he will resent guests even more. How old is your dog? When did he start showing such behaviour? Can you please give some more details?

    And yes, of course, you should be the one who decides who comes in when you're at home.

  6. #6
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    Locking him up when someone comes to your home means punishment and he will resent guests even more.

    Yes Fedra, I agree. That was the advice from the breeder, but it goes against the idea of teaching him how to behave IMO, and rewarding the desired behaviour makes more sense to me.

    He is 3 years old. We only very recently acquired him. Ex-show dog. De-sexed.

    He barks at strangers arriving at the bus-stop (naturally) where my boys leave for school. When he is told 'that's enough, be quiet' he obeys and stops his barking to alert me. I have been rewarding him as soon as he obeys command to stop and shut up.

    Different story when a stranger is at the door or coming into the yard, Fedra. Sure, he barks, but he just goes right off, all fur up and I have little doubt that if he wasn't physically restrained that yes, he appears to be a fellow that would 'have a go'. In this situation, all commands to 'be quiet' etc are completely ignored, no matter how firm a voice I use, which is my problem.

    No, I don't yell at him, well aware that would only make matters worse and could cause him to show more aggression towatrds the stranger.

    Speaking with the breeder they stated that he hasn't behaved like that with them...yet later in conversation it became clear to me that he has. Their advice to 'leave him in his crate until he stops behaving like a Wally' is also worrying.

    All my GSD's have always alerted me to strangers, naturally, and been great guard dogs, but I have honestly never had any that would ever carry on to this extreme.

    Any advice or insight would be appreciated.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by aussiemyf7 View Post
    I think she/he meant the member

    Sorry DA, I have no advice.

    Im actually quite excited for some real advice from a trainer thats been in the business for over 10 years at a top training facility, can't wait for his response
    Dont hold your breath, I'm not stupid

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    Hi Aussiemyf7

    Maybe that's what PMs are for - ie if you want one particular member to respond. Sigh. I totally missed that possibility. Not sure if my comment about cattledogs applies to the spider fan.
    Dont follow what you mean?

  9. #9

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    I wish I had some positive advice to give DA *sigh*

    Evey was just as you describe.
    It began as just the bark,a bit intimidating...it soon progressed to the point where people would ring us before arriving so we could lock her up

    She came to us from a home where she lived in a small courtyard with no sense of the outside worlds persay. She had never had the outside stimulation of seeing cars go past,or visitors knock on the door etc etc....
    When she first arrived home she totaly overloaded at just life in general going past our front fence. Then the more she became settled into the family,the worse the behaviour became to people coming onto the property.

    We tried just about all that we could think of.The only route we didnt go down was medication. From locking her away ( where she would actually eat at the door frame to get back to me ) to having her on lead,you name it we tried it.

    She was just too.....'fried' I guess. If I could go back ,I would know what questions to ask her last owner,I would know what precautions to take so as not to overload her,but sadly,we dont have a crystal ball.

    Have you tried having him out the back and just ignoring the behaviour,but safely so that he cannot access the front of the property or the visitor?
    I'm assuming as an ex showdog he didn't have a huge outlook on the big wide world per say? And when he did display the behaviour he was locked in the crate anyways ?

    I think Hyacinth might have a valid idea with the loading visitors with treats etc....just be carefull that this isn't construed to an extreme and cause a whole new set of problems.

    I will watch this thread with interest though and hope you come across a solution
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  10. #10
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    Unhappy

    Thank you, Choppa.

    Very sad about Evey.

    Yep, it's a hard one. Very frightening to people coming over too. He does not seem to have been socialised in the general big, wide world, as you put it. As I think I said earlier, he doesn't appear to have a problem when we see strangers out and about. He's gone for walks, has been curious about people walking past (which is totally normal) but no barking or anything else.
    Went to the vet's. People & dogs everywhere - no probs.
    It's here at home.

    Brreder's advice is to pop him into his crate until he calms down whilst stranger and us alike totally ignore his behaviour. Once he has calmed down and is quiet, then praise him, and allow stranger/visitor to offer him a treat. Can't see him taking a treat from a stranger!
    Sounds ok in principal, just goes against by understanding of corrctive behaviour. Hmmm...

    We also don't get many visitors here, alas, which could make if harder to re-educate him. One boy down the road visits my youngest, and my eldest has a friend come over sometimes after school. My mother is 70 and she came over but this frightened her immensely, which is saying something as she spent the majority of her married life living with my father's working Shepherds.

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