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One of my dogs gets very excited, barks, and occasionally bites guests as they're trying to leave my house. He's fine with them when they come in, and while they're in the house, it's only when they're leaving that he gets upset. He does this to strangers, and people he knows very well. He doesn't do it to me, or his former owners. The first time, he nipped my mother on the heel of her shoes as she was leaving. Normally the bites are very gentle and do not leave a mark, but his body language and the tone of his barking suggests that he is anxious about something, and hes not just playing.

Recently, a "friend" dropped in (a woman who I really do not like at all) and he bit her as she was leaving. She is very prone to exaggeration, but she claimed his bite left a mark. If this is true, that's a serious bite, and I can't trust him to follow my guests to the front door anymore. I don't know if he picked up on my attitude towards this woman and that caused him to bite harder, but either way, this has to stop.

I have had him for about 2 years. He came to me as an old dog (10+ years) because his former owner went to prison. The man was a heroin dealer, so he had a lot of dodgy people coming to the house all the time. The man's son says the dog used to do this in his former home as well and he thinks it has something to do with the people who came to the house. He thinks the dog has associated some kind of bad experience with guests leaving, because people used to turn around and attack the former owner (or something). When the dog first came to live with us, he was extremely skinny and badly neglected. He was very aggressive towards my other dogs, but has since settled down and this is the only sign of aggression that remains in him.

I really have no idea why he does this, or how to stop the behavior. I can and will keep him restrained when I feel concerned for the safety of my guests, but I would much prefer to train him out of it. My mother will be a willing participant in any training experiments, but I'm not really sure where to start.

Any ideas?
Thanks for reading :)
 

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Not an expert but I'd be crating him / excluding him well before guests leave and working on separation anxiety style training techniques to get him out of that habit.

Good luck.
 

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Yeah if he's just doing it as people leave and no other time, just put him up while people walk out.
 

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I would just put him on a leash while they leave. Hopefully he will outgrow it but with a background like that who knows what he experienced.
 

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I would start by managing it. Put him on a leash, or in a crate, when people are going to leave so he can't practice the behavior.

To fix it, I would teach him to go to a mat or dog bed and stay there until released. It will take a while to train him to do this in exciting situations, like people leaving, but eventually it will give him something to do instead of reacting and biting. Just start slow with going to the bed with no distraction, then working up to people walking around, opening and shutting the door, etc. The Relaxation Protocol is laid out well for teaching this sort of thing: http://www.dogdaysnw.com/doc/OverallRelaxationProtocol.pdf
 
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