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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
right, here i am again with a post asking for help with branston!
for those of you who have read my previous posts, branston is absolutely pants with people, he loves them sooo much that he cannot leave them alone. we have tried training him to death with greet at the door, to no avail, it does not work with him! we have researched like maniacs on how to over come his behaviour with people, but cannot find an answer. he has improved slightly with visitors to the point where he is not constantly jumping at them, providing they are giving him their undivided attention.
we have a large 'branston proof' gate across the hallway which allows us to answer the door without him taking charge by jumping, barking and mouthing visitors when they first come in. we used to have just a baby gate going across but that didnt hold 60kg for long!
for the last week or so he has been 'coming back at us' whenever we go to answer the door. by this i mean turning round and actively snarling and growling at us as we try to get past him without letting him through the gate. now, branston loves his crate, he sleeps in there, when we go out he's in there, and also when he will not leave a guest alone, but i cant crate him all day as thats not fair and i dont know when someones going to knock on the door!
its as if he's saying 'i will get to these people to demand their attention, how dare you try to stop me?'
is there anyone who could perhaps help?
 

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This probably isn't what you want to hear, but this sounds serious enough that you maybe want to contact a trainer/behaviorist and get some eyes-on help with this. Sounds dangerous.

In the meantime, your dog could wear a 3 foot leash at all times. If someone comes to the door, you can grab the leash and put your dog in a crate or a bedroom. At this point, I wouldn't be letting my dog meet my company. If he goes so over-the-top that he can't be managed at the door, I would not give him access to guests.

I would set up meet and greets with friends or in a class. Away from the chaos of the door. I would have my helpers quietly approach my dog to pet him, but if my dog jumps or moves, I would have the people walk away. After enough repetitions, your dog will learn that being mellow is the only way to get access to people. But I would do this away from the inside of the house until he was really, really good at it. We already knows that he'll fail HARD at home.

Another idea: set up someone at the door to ring the doorbell. Then walk your dog into his crate or bedroom and give him a treat. Do this over and over again until your dog takes the doorbell as a cue to kennel up. This will do two things: It will desensitize him to the doorbell and teach a management behavior that will work when real company comes over.

Time consuming stuff, but it sounds like it's important that you start on it.
 

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when you say you've researched to death, what have you done?

if he reacts to door knocking, have you tried desensitizing him? and redirect him? meaning, have someone he knows knock on the door 50 times a day until he realizes that door knocking =/= guest coming. then once he can do that, start redirecting him to the crate everytime the door knocks, so that the door knock becomes a cue for go crate, reinforce the crap out of that behavior. and if you have done this and it doesn't work, which part of it doesn't work? I can't imagine a dog that hears the door knock 50 times a day just to see the same person not getting desensitized to it. or does he jump on you too if you are the person going through the door?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
we tried for months to desensitize him to the door. we tried getting him to sit when someone knocked, the person came in, if he moved they went back out again. we repeated the life out of this for months, no one could get in the door! we also tried giving all of our visitors a treat bag ( kept at the door) so they could tell him to sit then reward him, tell him 'off' which we use when he jumps on someone and he knows. this all works as long as the treats are around, the minute those stop he starts up again.
he never used to bark at the door, when he was younger he would just jump up at the gate and he would sit while we went through the gate, but the older he's got it seems the worse he's got. he now barks like a maniac and comes back at us. he is also the same out of the house, although he wears a halti ao is more controllable but i very rarely stop to talk to anyone as he will try to jump at people by backing away and twisting round to try to get to them.
just to add....
ive tried him wearing a lead in doors at all times which he always did as a puppy, but if he goes off suddenly im not strong enough to stand or pull on the lead, he's much stronger than me!
 

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I handled this by simply holding the leash. I had visitors cooperate though (no eye contact, no petting etc - extremely important part). You can put your foot on the leash and pretend everything's cool while dog is going bonkers, when he settles down you tell him to sit and you go greet the visitors while he's sitting, after couple of secs you release him and let him do his thing (with time these couple of secs go longer). I hate to say this but this is an important "pack" rule, you greet visitors first, not him. After very few reps he gets the point and you don't have to tell him to sit, he'll do it on his own and wait for you before he launches into frenzy (he'll still jump on ppl tho :)). Note that there are better (more systematic) methods than what I proposed but you'd need to have some more devoted helpers - most people are not that patient and would just tell you to let the dog be dog.

Biggest problem is that incorrect behaviour was enforced heavily by people who gave attention to the dog. He'll be kinda confused that you're now training the opposite all of sudden. Another bad side as I mentioned is the pack rule thing, he can get all cocky because he gets there first which gives him even extra excitement for self-reinforcement. Also, don't try dealing with greeting, jumping and mouthing issues at the same time, deal with them one at a time in completely separate fashion - do not correct your dog, just ignore other problems for time being. If you teach different stuff at the same time you can end up doing it for months on with very little progress.

Oh, and of course, do teach him sit/stay for this especially with people messing around. But even without this, by just not giving him the same reinforcement he got before he would gradually calm down and form an acceptable behaviour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thank you :)
branston has a perfect sit stay, i can go upstairs for a couple of minutes even with the kids home from school, but he has never ever listened with visitors.
i will let him start dragging a lead again, although when we did this before he could go through a lead a day as he kept chewing them!
 

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thank you :)
branston has a perfect sit stay, i can go upstairs for a couple of minutes even with the kids home from school, but he has never ever listened with visitors.
i will let him start dragging a lead again, although when we did this before he could go through a lead a day as he kept chewing them!
Maybe some bitter apple spray on the lead? If that doesn't work, maybe a chain lead (not a choke chain, but a chain leash). Muggsy was hell on leashes- chewing through them or just snapping them at the weak points- until a K-9 officer gave me the leash they use. (Nothing like the police bringing your dog home!) I still use that leash. It's very thick nylon, quadruple stitched, the part that snaps on the collar has serious weight to it, and it was already sprayed with bitter apple when I got it.
 
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