Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have an Australian Shepherd who is almost 5 years old now. I've always had problems with her being territorial around my house, but it's gotten a little bit worse lately. She barks at anybody she sees out the window, even if they're all the way down the street. When we have visitors over, she will only bark at them for a minute and then will calm down. This is fine and not too big of a problem. The bigger problem is that she'll chase after anybody she sees anywhere near our property if she is outside. If we open the door and she hears somebody outside, she will race out the door and start barking loudly and chasing after them. She never does anything more than this or tries to bite, but she still really scares people. We've tried so much to get her to stop doing this. In the beginning, we tried a bark collar, but she grew used to it and would keep barking and chasing even though she was being shocked. We've tried positive reinforcement and other things like that, but it never seems to have any effect on her. Most recently, we've tried using a high-pitched sound to distract her from the people around the house, but now she is desensitized to it and will just ignore it.
I know that just keeping her on a leash would solve this problem because she can't chase after people, but I can't keep her on a leash all the time. Every time we open the door, she sprints outside very quickly and we have a hard time stopping her. She is a very smart dog and we can't trick her with treats or anything.
I need some advice for anything else I can do to stop her from scaring people like this. I've considered an invisible fence, but considering how she was able to get used to the bark collar I worry that the invisible fence wouldn't bother her either. Putting her in a crate while we have the door open is also an option, but she gets anxious when we leave and I worry that being in a tight space would scare her more. I feel like I've run out of options -- any advice is greatly appreciated!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,773 Posts
First, if you're still using the bark collar, stop. It is quite likely that the bark collar has made this problem worse. Every time she sees a person, she barks and then gets shocked. Dogs don't usually realize the shock is because of the bark. Barking is a natural thing for them to do when they see a stranger, especially herding breeds. The were literally bred to bark to move livestock, bark to alert to danger. It's kind of a neutral behavior at first, just something they do. So add the shock collar, and now they think the shock is because of the person. So, she sees a person, barks, gets shocked. She now thinks that people = shock. "Well, I'm going to bark more and act scary to make the people go away!"

Second, manage your dog. It is only a matter of time before she chases the wrong person and you have a lawsuit on your hands. Even worse, she runs into a person walking a dog that does not take kindly to strange dogs, and then you have injured or dead dogs. You can manage her by making sure there is always a barrier between her and a door. Put a baby gate in front of or create a barrier with exercise pen panels around the door. If you can't do that, yes, crate her when doors are going to open. If you can't do that, she wears a leash so you can step on it if she door dashes. Yes, it is inconvenient, but I promise lawsuits, vet bills, or a dead dog is even more so.

You can also manage your dog by blocking her view through the window. Many people use "frosted glass" contact paper to block their dog's view so they can't see out the window and bark at whatever is out there. This does not have to be forever, but part of breaking a bad habit is preventing the dog from practicing that habit!

Now that you've gotten rid of the bark collar and have managed your dog to prevent her from practicing the bad habits or getting hurt, you can start training.

Let's start with the door dashing. Start by putting her on a leash so she can't escape. Have some high value treats in your pocket, like hot dogs. Have her sit near the door. Put your hand on the doorknob. She's likely going to get up and try to dash. Take your hand off the doorknob and wait for her to sit back down. Do it again. If she gets up, take your hand off the doorknob. If she doesn't move, open the door a crack. She's probably going to get up, and you're going to close the door and wait for her to sit again. Rinse and repeat, closing the door every time her butt leaves the floor. Eventually, she's going to wait long enough for the door to open all the way. When she does, you're going to praise her, reward her, and then you are going to go outside TOGETHER. Pick a release word and say that as you're going outside, like "Outside!" or "Let's Go!" or whatever you don't say too often and that she can connect with "Hey, we're going to go through the door now and go outside." Let her sniff about, maybe even go for your walk, business as normal.

She will forget all of this in the morning, but the second time you do the door game, she will catch on faster. Work up slowly to the door being left open longer. Make sure to play this game at every door that leads outside, too! Your goal is to have your dog sit patiently and wait for you to release her to go outside. You might also want to practice her watching someone go outside, and then reward her heavily for sitting and waiting. You can do this with a helper, or you can open the door, go outside, close the door, come back in, and then praise her and reward her for not dashing. You should also practice with distractions outside, like a person walking by, ruckus outside. You can get a buddy to help, or just wait for somebody to to walk by. Just make sure she is leashed up so you can stop her if it goes awry.

When you are not working on the door game, you want to keep your barriers up until she is very solid and and does not try to door dash, ever.

You should also practice commands like "Leave it" and recall, so if she does get out you can call her off. Use yummy, high value treats like deli meat, cheese, or hot dogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
If she is aggressive and barks on others then she must need training for aggressive dog which is bit different from casual dog training.So try to avoid the training method which are suitable for a normal dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,291 Posts
If she is aggressive and barks on others then she must need training for aggressive dog which is bit different from casual dog training.So try to avoid the training method which are suitable for a normal dog.
I've read this several times now, and I still can't begin to figure out what you mean. Could you please give more details on "training for aggressive dogs" that is different from training "suitable for a normal dog"?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,448 Posts
Lilith's advice is excellent. Do that. As added security you could install an actual fence in your yard, not an invisible one.

She is a very smart dog and we can't trick her with treats or anything.
She probably is a very smart dog, which means she will be able to be trained (not tricked). You just need to put in the effort on your end. Consistency and patience are key.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,260 Posts
She is a herding dog and this is herding behavior. She probably finds the chasing fun.. people run.. and she chases but it is going to be her undoing. It is a hard wired behavior (herding) and she has a genetic drive to herd (which is truncated prey drive and hunt drive). She has found a way to satisfy her drive and it is not in a way you like.

She needs, at this point, to never be off leash. Train her to wait at the door (NO DASHING) per suggestions above. Leave a leash on her so if she does dash the door, you can STEP ON IT. This will stop her. Probably short... and it may make an impression.

Dogs, not being gold fish, learn very fast. She will learn to behave with that leash on.. even dragging it.. but the question is will she behave when it is removed? My guess is that she will know when it is off and she will not behave.. but that is a different problem for a different day.

Yes, she must always have a leash on at this juncture, whether dragging it or you have it in your hand. The behavior she is doing is self rewarding.. and self rewarding behaviors are self reinforced every time they are repeated. So, you absolutely MUST stop the behavior first and physical restraint will be necessary.

Will it ever become unnecessary? I doubt it. Her genetics say to herd and she has found a way to satisfy her genetic drive to herd. This does not mean you should not TRY but you best start this minute or the day will come and she will chase the wrong person and the trouble will not be worth it.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top