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  • Results 1 to 6 of 6
    1. #1
      Real Retriever
      alixb's Avatar
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      Good Idea or bad idea

      I just adopted a 6 year old American Field Lab from a breeder in WA. She is a trained hunting dog, always lived outside with all the other dogs in a huge kennel. she has never lived inside
      I have brought her to my place, an apartment in Vancouver BC. She has done really well but with a lot of challenges.
      She has started to bark at people we run into in the hallways or the foyer. I read somewhere to get in between her & who she barks at & say "I got it". It is working a bit. when she is not barking I say " good girl, What a good girl" I thought maybe spending some time in the foyer after work when people are coming home & get her a bit "desensitized". Not too long but just a few people. I know everyone in the building & everyone has dogs, so they are kind.
      Is this a good idea or a bad idea?
      -swimmer-jpg

    2. #2
      Senior Dog
      ChoppersDad's Avatar
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      Your dog is probably not used to being around a bunch of strangers? Probably not properly socialized with people as a pup? Dogs usually bark at strangers because they are in fear of them. Their natural instinct is to warn other dogs in the pack that danger is near by barking. When your dog barks, people generally will retreat and then your dog feels safer. This reinforcement causes your dog to bark even more often when he comes in contact with more strangers. Ultimately, your goal should be to teach your dog to be comfortable around strangers.

      You stated "I thought maybe spending some time in the foyer after work when people are coming home & get her a bit "desensitized". To answer your question, I think this is a good idea if you make a difference in the outcome. When your dog sees a stranger, start giving your dog treats. He will begin to associate scary strangers with treats. Stop giving treats when the stranger has passed. At first, keep distance between you and the stranger. If your dog reacts to the stranger, he is too close. Short training sessions are the key, but they must be repeated many times. Once this exercise has been mastered, I would recommend that you ask your neighbors to give him a treat when they see him. Your dog will begin to associate good things with strangers in lieu of fear and she will not feel the need to bark at them anymore.
      Last edited by ChoppersDad; 04-09-2015 at 05:56 PM.

    3. #3
      Real Retriever
      alixb's Avatar
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      Thanks choppers Dad. That sound like a good idea. I guess it felt that was rewarding the barking but you do this before. I'm going to have to be trigger fast with those treats as I sometimes am just walking outside to let her pee.
      I love your dog by the way. I had a yellow one that died 7 months ago......built like your Chopper. HRH king Maxx. He never barked........he did eat everything in site though.

    4. #4
      Senior Dog
      ChoppersDad's Avatar
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      Use small treats and don't be stingy with them. Keep the treats coming to keep her attention when strangers are around. If she is looking at you, she is not worrying about the strangers. Keep distance at first so she does not react to the strangers. As she gets more comfortable with strangers, begin to close the distance. You are rewarding her for paying attention to you, not for barking. Thanks for the compliment. Your dog is a cutie also. Chopper has a healthy appetite as well. Good luck to you and your dog. What's her name? On the positive side of things, your dog already knows how to hunt. Chopper is still learning.

    5. #5
      Senior Dog
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      POPTOP's Avatar
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      Chopper's Dad has given some good advice. One way to practice in your apartment is to teach the watch me command. Get your girl's attention and hold a treat up in front of your face, close to between your eyes. Get her to look at you. The instant she looks at you, treat and praise. Work with this for a while and then lengthen out the amount of time she is to watch you. You want her paying attention to you instead of anything or anyone else. This will also divert her attention away from people walking by.

    6. #6
      Senior Dog
      Snowshoe's Avatar
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      You might find Leslie McDevitt's "Look at That" games from her book "Control Unleashed" will help with that. Our problem was keeping focus on me when lots of activity was going on. Not fear but the same thing will probably work. We set Oban up at training and rewarded every time he looked at me instead of the other dog going by. Now, Oban already knew the game as I had started using it on my own. I think making your girl face all the people who might come into the foyer might be too much at once. Following PopTop's idea might be a good way to start it. If you google the book you will find the science behind this method is not new but it is presented in a fresh and fun way in the book.

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