Your take on this? guarding behavior

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merriterrier
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Your take on this? guarding behavior

Postby merriterrier » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:49 am

Pablo is a 2yr Pit Bull mix (probably some shepherd). He is awesome in every way. The easiest dog I have ever had. Fantastic with all people loves kids, decent with other dogs, super smart and trainable, hard worker. Pablo is also very protective of our house and vehicles.

We have had some wretched plumbing problems, and have had plumbers galore at our house. I was keeping the dogs put up so as not to harass the plumbers (friendly dogs, but I didn't want them to be bugging the plumbers for attention).

On Wed the work was pretty much done, but the plumber stopped by to check a couple of things out and clean up a bit. The dogs were loose in the back yard and I was back there with them (the plumber didn't need to go out in the back). Morgan let the plumber in and I was watching the dogs in the back. Well one of the guys really likes Pit Bulls so he walks out into the back yard. I was sitting on the garage step with Pablo when the guy stepped out the door. Pablo turned from this sweet adorable 50lb dog into this ferocious monster and charged across the yard straight at the plumber. The 200lb plumber jumped about 6ft in the air and back peddled in the door slamming the door in Pablo's face.

I called Pablo back and put him in a sit/stay while the plumber came back out. Pablo was totally cool and friendly with him when I released him to meet the plumber.

Just interested in your take on this. My feeling is that the plumber wasn't invited into the backyard, so Pablo saw that as an intrusion. He always is nice and friendly and affectionate with people once I let Pablo know it is ok if they come in (including the plumber - Pablo wanted to lick him and get affection). I'm not terribly worried. However, I have never had a dog that would do that (so a big surprise to me). All of the dogs I have ever had would show the intruder to the silver and maybe ask for a belly scratch. Is this ok? should I work to deter this behavior, or just leave it alone?

All thoughts are appreciated.

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ProudMommy77
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Postby ProudMommy77 » Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:30 pm

Well, you know the situation with Biohazard. The yard, the house, the truck, that's his territory, and do not cross until Mom says so. We are working to deter that behavior, for obvious reasons, too much of a liablity. One part of me wants to say, that's not a bad thing incase something horrible would happen, or a you have a break in. But, the other side of me is saying well, it could lead to the general preception of how people veiw pits. It's a tough call to be honest with you. But, then again anyone who is stupid enough to break into someone's house with as many dogs, as you and I have, just aren't right..lol..has he always been like this, or is this a new behavior?

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Postby merriterrier » Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:05 pm

He has always been protective of the house. It has never been an issue before, because people don't just walk in. Family and a few close friends can come in without knocking or my being at the door to greet them and Pablo knows them and is happy to see them, always lets them in with a ferociously wagging tail. At the front door with unknown (or basically unknown) people he will bark and posture, but when I (or Morgan, or even my bro) go to the door he sits and watches. If we let them in he is all wiggles and kisses, if we don't let them in he is cool and doesn't bark or posture after he has been told "enough." Out in public he is happy go lucky with everyone he meets, not an ounce of guarding behavior is demonstrated.

Part of me was happy to see that Pablo would protect me if some unknown male waltzed in my house uninvited. But part of me was like "crap, what a bad image he is projecting." I guess I am glad that he is very obedient and does exactly what he is told, but I seriously thought for a moment that he was going to rip the plumber limb from limb. And I think had the plumber not slammed the door in his face Pablo would have minimally nipped him (but judging from his full on-no fear body language it would have been a solid bite). Pablo came back to me immediately when I called him and went into a perfect sit/stay.

Again, the guy wasn't invited into the yard, he just opened the door and walked out. I'm sure from Pablo's point of view this crazy looking guy just walked into the yard and was heading straight for his mom. He is golden in the front yard when I have him tethered out there while I am gardening. The neighborhood kids walk right up to him and give him treats and play with him (he is excellent with kids, and does not bark at them even at the front door, and he let's my nephew's come and go in the yard w/o any trouble; of course he is always supervised w/kids). I'm not too worried about liability as it is on my property and Colorado law protects dog owners should a bite occur on your own property.

I am torn between being happy to have a dog who seems to have manageable guarding tendencies, and being mortified that my boy could rip someones arm off.

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Postby ebbtide » Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:39 pm

I'm not sure i'd be too worried about it. If he's well behaved otherwise, guarding you when you were 'intruded' on is in his behavior, and isn't necessarily a bad thing.

My pup is pit/cane corso. Cane's are mastiffs, and are known to be natural guard dogs. I've never seen it in him, anyone who he knows can come in the house as they please (even when i'm not home) and he just wants to play. When he hears car doors, he might bark or growl to let me know he heard them, but never 'goes crazy' about it. He's great in public and wants to lick everyone.

He doesn't bark at my upstairs renter when she comes home. He doesn't bark when my buddy comes over with his key to use the garage. Nothing. So I assumed he wouldn't make much of a guard dog..

My roommate forgot some gift cards for her work before christmas. She gave her key to her manager who was getting off duty and asked him to go to the house to pick them up. She said not to worry about Vinnie. I guess when he came in the back door, Vinnie went off. Crouched down, growled, barked, bared his teeth (didn't lunge or bite). He wouldn't let the guy past the door. He couldn't get anywhere else in the house!

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Postby kaliya5 » Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:59 pm

I don't think it's that big a deal... I mean, he didn't see the guy invited in right? (He was in the back when the plumber was let in the house?) So, from his perspective, he's playing and everything is normal and all of the sudden a stranger is in his yard, seemingly, without permission. It's a potential burglary going down... for all he knows this guy has killed his whole family inside and is coming for him. Once you introduced him he was fine, so I wouldn't worry too much. My parents lab acted that way when she was napping on the porch and a repairman was cutting through the yard from side of the house to the other. She is deaf, so she was asleep for the intros. She woke up and a stranger is in her yard! She went crazy until my parents came out and stood with her and let her know the guy was ok.

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Postby bterz » Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:31 pm

Im having troubles with my dog so take my input with a grain of salt but in my opinion thats great!

He's obviously a very smart dog. Just with a little kick in him :bully: roflmao

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Postby MattNW » Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:02 pm

When I was a kid we had a beagle who was like that. Once when she was less than six months old someone asked my dad if he wanted to sell her. He said maybe and the guy went out to the car to look at her. When he put his hand in the window she ripped him up. It was surprising that a dog that young could do so much damage or would even be protective at that age. My dad decided he didn't want to sell her after that. :))

Later she was a terror to bag boys. Remember those days when someone at a store (usually a teenager) would carry your groceries to your car for you? They'd open the car door and see a beagle in kill mode until one of the family told Sugar it was OK then she was friendly as could be. Same thing in the house. If she was told it was OK then she was fine but if anyone came in unannounced they would be bitten.

I wouldn't worry about it too much. That's one of the things people get dogs for although I know how you feel about a pit doing that kind of stuff. It's too bad too that if you had a GSD and it protected you the dog would get a medal while when a pit does the same thing it makes the news as another vicious dog attack.

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Postby merriterrier » Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:10 am

Thanks for the input!

I wasn't terribly concerned, but I didn't want to allow something I maybe shouldn't.

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Postby Finnigan » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:07 am

Lol...its the shpeherd in him :) Its important to focus on this guardian trait, shape it, control it, and teach him what is acceptable and when. Ideally, he should learn to look to you when a stranger enters...see what you do. As his leader, you're in charge when you are there. When you're gone, he's in charge...ie, if he's in your house while you're away, and a stranger is crawling through your window....all bets are off.

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Postby Finnigan » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:41 am

ps..I just wanted to re-iterate one point. A guardian breed who is properly trained and socialized will not guard his owner unless told/expected to. He will be able to better discern friend from foe. He will stand back and wait for your decision.

On your property, and in your prescense, he will look to you for what to do next, and not take it upon himself to do whatever he wants. Establishing this is part of the training and socialization process of any breed, but especially a guardian breed. :)

With my doberman, who is by (poor) genetics, a bit schizoid, it was essential that I taught her, when I am there, I am in charge!!

Case in point.

When she was a puppy, I helped out a friend in a petstore on weekends. She hung out behind the till with me. A good way for her to meet people! :thumbsup:
When I was behind the till with her, or within eyeshot, helping customers in the store, she was cool, happy, and friendly.

BUT....if I dissapeared into the backroom, she became the guardian of the till lol

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Postby Libby » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:36 pm

If he is mixed with GSD, it sounds like he is expressing proper behaviour for a GSD.

My Umah is starting to act like that, which is completely ok for a Shepherd.


I guess thats all I have to say.

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Postby merriterrier » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:25 pm

Finnigan wrote:ps..I just wanted to re-iterate one point. A guardian breed who is properly trained and socialized will not guard his owner unless told/expected to. He will be able to better discern friend from foe. He will stand back and wait for your decision.

On your property, and in your prescense, he will look to you for what to do next, and not take it upon himself to do whatever he wants. Establishing this is part of the training and socialization process of any breed, but especially a guardian breed. :)



I guess this was what I was wondering about, but having difficulty verbalizing. :tongue:

As I said he does listen to me as far as turning it off, but I am interested in more of a putting it on cue sort of thing. I'm not interested in any sort of PP work, but I would like to be more in control.

Should I seek professional help? or is this something I can work on by myself?

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Postby Finnigan » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:47 pm

You could! Sure. With my Dobe, scoialization was essential, especially as she was born very shy, therefore potentially dangerous should she not get adequate training and socialization.

For your lil fella....I recommend being with him during this important developmental process where he is maturing and beginning to feel his muscles re instincts so to speak.

# 1 most important thing for him to understand. While you are with him or close by, you are the one to step forward to check for/discern danger, you are the one at the frontline to deal with possible threats, and you are always first to greet strangers on your property.

A dog with a proper sense of boundaries will not carry territorial behavior off the property, only on your property.

He has to SEE you behaving as head of the pack, gain confidence in your strengths, and security that you are there to take care of things, not him. This is an essential part of his education, and therefore, I strongly recommend you not give him more freedom than he can handle at this time...keep him close by or tethered to you when you anticipate people entering your property.

When you know someone is coming over...have him on leash...he may bark. Tell him thank you, that will do, leave it, what have you. Approach the person, have him either by your side or slightly behind you, as you greet the person. He can stand or sit. Once you've greeted the person, then allow him to. (treats are a nice way to break the ice).

Ok...back up dog, back up, make room, let the person through the gate. Your dog can then be let off leash if that is applicable. He is NOT permitted to behave in territorially at all at any point. If he barks or growls, but him back on leash, and in a down stay, and allow the person to continue visit. He must know his boundaries, both physical and behavioral. He cannot be permitted to express his territorial feelings towards anyone on your property while in your presence. Keeping him on leash during the initial process prevents him from the freedom of charging forward and gives you better control until he understands his boundaries.

Does this help at all?

msvette2u

Postby msvette2u » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:52 pm

Our old GSD was like that.
A guy came over and I leashed him up, had my SIL holding his leash. Because, you know, Sheps are like that - he didn't like the guy being in the house BUT he tolerated it until the guy went to go in our bedroom, the door was closed and Hunter completely freaked out - wanted to get at the guy. He "knew" the bedroom was off limits, esp. for visitors!!
Had he not been leashed, he'd have bitten the guy.

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Postby Finnigan » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:59 pm

Its not a dog's place to decide what rooms strangers can enter when the owners are home, its the owner's place to decide. A dog must learn that, understand it, and accept it. EStablishing territorial limits at an early age is important. The longer you wait, the more difficult the training process.


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