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Invited Guest vs. Stranger Danger in the House
  • RooneyRooney
    Posts: 143
    After searching on here for hours, I think I might have stumbled on a question that hasn't been quite answered yet. I found some threads about how some forum members' dogs react to guests, but nothing that really talked about how to help your Shiba understand the difference between an invited guest and a dangerous stranger that they need to alert you about being in the house.

    One reason I've been searching for information on this is because Rooney Loves people and wants to meet all of them so long as they're outside. However, he's not a big fan of people in his house and it took a very short time for it to become his house. About a week after I brought him home (he was 2 years old), my parents came over to help me work on the kitchen cabinets. Rooney barked at them like crazy, so I put him in his crate to calm down, which didn't work because his crate was in the kitchen. It wasn't until I moved the crate to my bedroom upstairs and shut the bedroom door that he calmed down (probably about 10 more minutes).

    The next guests I had, I asked them to give me about 30 minutes notice before arrival. I took Rooney for a quick walk so he could pee, then put him in his crate before they arrived. I did a house tour with them starting with the basement up through the first floor and then we wrapped up on the second floor in my bedroom. Rooney was very quietly waiting in his crate in my room. We sat in there talking for a little bit before I let him out of the crate. I pet and praised him for not being barky and then let him decide if he wanted to meet my friend and her surprisingly calm 3 year old daughter. He worked his way over to them carefully and they were both able to pet him.

    Is the crate method a good one? It worked. That said, I don't want him to think his crate is punishment. Anyone with more dog training background have a suggestion or alternate way of training for invited guests?
    Allison, Rooney's Mom
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    The best suggestion I have for this (while you work on building positive associations with new people in your home), especially since Rooney is okay with meeting new people outside his home, is to meet your guests outside with Rooney so he can get to know them for a few minutes, then bring them everyone in.

    You may also work on the crate method as well, and just make sure that he gets a lot of positive associations with new people coming over (treats! LOTS of treats!).

    The reaction to your parents may have also been stress because of all the changes in his life ("oh my goodness more CHANGE?! Who ARE these people and why are they in my safe space?"). Also, the more you have people come over, the less of a big deal it will become and the less he will react. So, invite all of your friends/family to drop by for a few minutes (not all at the same time, though!) to help build those positive associations and to get him used to having strangers in the house. :)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • To supplement Sunyata's comment, I resolved this by simply handing my guests some cheese. They then "train" banjo with the basics (sit, wait) and he both respects their wishes and likes them. Now he doesn't need the cheese as hell just bring a ball to them and expect them to throw it. He also won't jump on them (jumping means no treat). I havea very very quiet dog. I can probably count the amount of times he's barked at something on one hand.
  • We have a similar issue with people in our house. The scenario is typically this: we have Dakota greet the person outside. She is all happy, waggly, and loves them. We are outside for quite awhile, then when we think it prudent, we all come inside. Then, it is if a switch has flipped. Dakota suddenly realizes somebody strange is in her house and begins barking, sometimes nipping at their pants legs to try to remove them from the house, and then often finishes with a non-stop Shiba scream. We have tried everything possible. Treats non-stop, the guests feeding her her most favorite things, time-outs for 30 seconds, holding a leash while she screams, etc. We finally just retire her to a room upstairs for the duration of the guest's visit to calm everyone's nerves and ear drums. Nothing seems to work. I know that the more guests who come in, the more she will get desensitized, but I am too afraid of her nipping someone in the leg who happens to be wearing shorts that day. We were wondering what it would be like to put a small muzzle on her, then let her just do what she does until she gets tired and goes away. We can still give her treats through the muzzle, but would then not have to worry about her nipping. Does this sound workable? Nothing else seems to be.
    Post edited by DianaBoston at 2014-10-03 10:11:34
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    When Sagan was a puppy, he had ... quite frankly, bad manners towards everyone in the house, even though we tried our best to train him out of that. Despite having our guests give him cheese & dog treats, he still would run around, bark, jump on their leg, so on and so forth. Even if we walked him prior of guests coming over (to wear him out), the behavior would still continue.

    But... we realized why he was acting this way—the guests would give him positive attention when he acted like that. We started telling our guests to downright ignore him and walk off like he didn't exist. Of course, it was hard at first since they'd always give the, "but he's so cute!" excuse, but, we were firm about it. I think the guests giving him treats + attention for his behavior was what made it so awful, lol.

    It took a few visits from separate people, but eventually, the behavior started to wane down. He seems receptive to people ignoring him, and once he realizes they are, he'll walk off and either lay down or play with an arbitrary toy laying around.

    For the "stranger danger", Sagan will gruff (or even full out bark, but never repeatedly) if he sees or hears people outside our door or window, so I don't need to worry about that. I personally like it, so sometimes I'll reward him for doing that.
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    Juni is exactly the same. People she love outside of the apoartment are awful the second they step inside our home. She barks at first but that is controllable but as soon as people move she zooms in on people's feet and want to chase them (but rarely nip after them). It is a lot easier now when we've moved to a bigger apartment, we can put her in one room and tell people to ignore her and she will calm down quite quickly.
    One trainer I hired recently suggested I get some battery driven cat toys to redirect her focus and let her chase those instead of people's feet. We've only just started trying that so I am not sure if it will work or not.

    The trainer thinks her behaviour is because she is insecure (an idiot of a man really scared her when she was around one, long story but she developed a fear of people afterwards) and for some reason she sort of releases her stress with some hunting behaviour.
  • jennjenn
    Posts: 856
    Rigby also has terrible manners with certain guests. I thank my mom for that one.. she thinks it's "so cute" and encourages it when she comes over, and he's since channeled the behavior to many of our guests. What @rikka said works best, ignoring him and I generally tell him to "knock it off" and he stops and goes and lays down. I then reward that behavior with a snack or food game.
    Jenn, Shiba Slave to Rigby /
  • RooneyRooney
    Posts: 143
    @DianaBoston - the muzzle might work. Before you try the muzzle I would try something else. You said that you move her to an upstairs bedroom until she calms down. Do you then bring Dakota back out after she is calm? If not, I would try that a few times. Ask some friends if they will come over to help you train your dog on how to behave with strangers in the house, then repeat the calming/coming back to see guests process until she can sit in the same room with them and not bark/scream. It might take multiple sessions/friends, but it seems like it could work...

    @Sunyata, @Rikka, & @Banjo - I had three family members over last weekend and I kind of combined everything suggested. Rooney met them outside, but then started barking when they were in his house. Everyone just ignored him. Eventually, he calmed down, so I cut some cheese and put it on the kitchen table (we were all sitting around the table talking). Rooney knows what the cheese cutter looks like, so he was very interested in where HIS cheese was going. He came over to investigate and was willing to take cheese from some of my guests. He was still not super interested in interacting with them, but at least he calmed down and stopped barking. :)
    Allison, Rooney's Mom
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    Glad it worked out!
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • @rooney --- yea we have tried that. Taking her away then bringing her back only to have the same results. I will keep trying though.
  • Just a little update on a recent behavior when a family member came to stay for the weekend yesterday from Iowa. Dakota ran to the door to greet her (I have a theory that a family member -- my niece in this case -- carries a scent similar to mine, so immediately Dakota senses this person is okay.) Is this crazy?

    Anyway, happy, happy, happy to see her with airplane ears and waggly tail. Dakota was totally fascinated by my niece in our house and couldn't take her eyes off her. We distracted her with watch me commands and cheese and all was under control. Then, after about 1/2 hour of fascination with my niece, Dakota did her barking thing, and a little air snap while my niece was petting her. Kind of like a cat does sometimes when it all of a sudden has enough petting and bites or scratches. Although Dakota never touches anyones skin. Then she tugged at my nieces pants leg a few minutes later her while barking a bit. Then immediately she was fine again -- and I didn't need to remove her from the room. As the evening progressed, Dakota was constantly in my nieces face for attention more than anything else. More of a curiosity and wanted to be included.

    Dakota never took a nap the whole evening and was alert the present and curious the whole time. She was a little agitated though. So, the evening went well as far as a stranger in the house, but my niece was family and I still worry about non-family members coming in, although she is getting better around this. Could she be just growing up? She is just over 3 now.. Who knows. And, anyone else have the experience where their Shiba is better or more accepting of blood family members than others? Even those family members she is meeting for the first time? Or, is my similar scent theory totally crazy?

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