Help! Dogs excessively guarding their territory, how do I deal with this?

(2 Posts)
kitsmummy Sun 12-Jan-14 14:48:36

This could be long as I'll try to give you the full background on both dogs and our situation...

Ddog1, pug x French bulldog, aged 3, had from 9 weeks but suspect was actually from a puppy farm (bought v naively at the time, but the signs were there). Did puppy classes, took her out and about and did 1 day a week in doggy daycare from around six months to eighteen months to help with socialisation (she loved the doggy daycare and it did help). Had to stop at eighteen months and she's got worse since then. Barks terribly when sees other dogs and when people come to the house. Within one or two minutes she stops and is then fantastic with people, takes a while longer to settle in with other dogs but is not aggressive with them.

Ddog2, 18 months, boxer x border terrier, looks like a huge border terrier, quite big and strong and had since 14 weeks (rescue puppy). Was v non barky when we got her, did puppy classes, was taken out and about etc but as she has got older she has learnt off of ddog1 and also now barks at strangers/dogs that come to our house. If we take her into town on her own she won't bark at anything, she is an absolute pleasure to take her out. If ddog1 was there too (going mad) this would stress ddog2 out and she would then react.

I think the main problem is that we live very very rurally (eg we probably only see another dog perhaps 1 in every 30 walks we do). We also never see people walking past our house (once in a blue moon) so the dogs have not had the socialisation they needed on a day to day basis and they are VERY un-used to people coming to our house. We have friends visit but this is only every few weeks or so, so not often enough to benefit the dogs from a socialisation point of view.

Yesterday the window cleaner came in to collect his money and because our garden circles the house, he was at our kitchen door before I realised. The dogs ran out barking and ddog2 (boxer/border) was v growly, jumping up and I think may have nipped him slightlysad.

I should stress that if he was someone we knew and I could have held the dogs and introduced properly then soon enough they would have stopped barking and within a couple of minutes ddog2 in particular would have been all over him, eg sitting on his lap on he sofa, smothering him in love. Once she meets people and knows that they are "ok" and welcome in the house, you genuinely couldn't wish for a better temperament. People love her/both dogs but I desperately need to sort out their reaction to people coming to our house.

I'm aware that this is my fault, they obviously both needed more/different socialisation than what they had. Fwiw most dogs around here (if we walk past a house with a dog in) are v barky presumably as they're not used to seeing dogs/people v much, however I know that I cannot have my dogs reacting like this.

Sorry for the length of the post, does anyone have any suggestions as to how to rectify this? Just to add to the awkwardness, we don't have any friends here or people we know really as the kids don't go to school locally and we both work in the city so it's not particularly feasible to get loads of "practice visitors" here.

I personally don't see that they have done anything wrong with a visitor entering from the back of the house.

It must be hard not having others to socialise them with.

Do they react to any down or stop command?

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