Dogs barking at people passing house

(28 Posts)
swisscheeseplant Sun 23-Jun-19 12:45:43

How do I stop my dogs reacting to passing people and dogs?

I have moved my office to the front of the house. The dogs like to sit on a chair overlooking the road; however, they bark at every passer bye with the bigger dog going loopy if she sees a dog - my road leads to the park, so dogs pass by frequently. When they meet a dog in real life, they are both friendly and sociable

I can’t move my office and need the chair for clients (it’s leather so I clean it before a client arrives), but I would like to be able to make a phone call without risking it being interrupted by a manic sounding dog. I have tried keeping the dogs away from the window, but they can hear people in the road and rush to the window barking.

OP’s posts: |
MrsMozartMkII Sun 23-Jun-19 12:47:50

They're seeing off intruders.

A trainer / behaviourist would be able to help.

Walkamileinmyshoesbeforeujudge Sun 23-Jun-19 12:50:35

Ddog regularly tried to leave our house via the upstairs living room window!
Took turns with other family members body blocking her from getting anywhere near. She gave up and is consistently safe to leave upstairs now!

Fucksandflowers Sun 23-Jun-19 12:59:28

Its territorial aggression, I agree a behaviourist would be helpful.

If it was me I would have a house line on the dogs and immediately interrupt with a no or ah sound and lead them out the room, shut the door and ignore the second they start getting a bit tense.
A behaviourist would probably handle it differently though.

I don't know you manage actually, that behaviour would drive me absolutely batty.

BassAce Sun 23-Jun-19 13:08:29

Get some frosted window film from amazon... Its worked wonders for my two noisy dachshunds who used to go mad at the sight of the neighbours cats parading past! Let's in all the light and heat from the sun (which is what makes the windowsill their favourite sunbathing spot) but obscures their view of what's outside. Had an instant effect on my two, and it's dead cheap and is applied just using static so no nasty sticky residue if you want to remove/reposition.

missbattenburg Sun 23-Jun-19 13:10:46

I would firstly block their view out the window. Otherwise you are already fighting aginst them seeing something and it setting them off. Purlfrost (or similar) is cheap, easy to apply and and easy to remove when you no longer need it. It doesn;t block light but does stop the dog seeing people walk by.

That might even be enough.

Then keep a pot of treats in the room and call them to you often. As soon as they come to you, treat. Repeat this and before long you will have set up a behaviour that means you can recall them away from the window wheneve they move towards it. Repeat.

Also practise and repeat doing this every time any one walks by.

If you keep this up, they should come to look to you for treats whenever they hear something, rather than run to the window.

It's pretty easy to feed treats while on the phone to a client.

I work in a home office with a very barky jack russell and we have this same set up when the door bell rings. She now doesn't bother to bark but instead trots out of her bed and looks at me for her treat.

missbattenburg Sun 23-Jun-19 13:11:39

Purlfrost = the frosted film the pp recommended


percheron67 Sun 23-Jun-19 13:15:15

Train them!! When they start barking, make sure they are listening to you and give the command "NO" or "STOP" or whichever word you want to use. Until they know they are behaving badly you cannot expect them to stop. A stroke or pat and a kind word is the best treat for any dog.

Fucksandflowers Sun 23-Jun-19 13:21:32

If you keep this up, they should come to look to you for treats whenever they hear something, rather than run to the window

Isn't that going to get insanely annoying though if your trying to work?
Having to constantly stop what your doing to give treats?

I personally couldn't be doing with film, it looks ugly imo and again, imo it's not actually teaching the dogs what is expected of them.
But it's a good option I guess if you like or don't mind the look of it.

OrchidInTheSun Sun 23-Jun-19 13:27:12

Of course it's teaching the dog. It's teaching it that people/dogs walking past is a good thing and not a bad one. It's called the CARE protocol and is a highly effective dog training technique. Much more effective than shouting no or stop.

swisscheeseplant Sun 23-Jun-19 13:30:14

I don't know you manage actually, that behaviour would drive me absolutely batty

It is driving me batty. Larger dog used to have a very laid back male greyhound as a companion and she rarely barked then. When greyhound passed away, I got a small male terrier and she has become much more vocal (she also barks at the tv now). I like the idea of the house line (is that just a long lead?)

OP’s posts: |
swisscheeseplant Sun 23-Jun-19 13:34:41

*I personally couldn't be doing with film, it looks ugly imo and again, imo it's not actually teaching the dogs what is expected of them.
But it's a good option I guess if you like or don't mind the look of*

I am not keen on the film - I work alone and have various random people visiting, I moved the office to the downstairs front of the house to provide a bit of security in that people can see what’s happening inside.

OP’s posts: |
Fucksandflowers Sun 23-Jun-19 13:35:59

Much more effective than shouting no or stop

I wouldn't use no or stop on its own, I use it then follow up straight away by leading the dog out.
Then ignore the dog and let them in again when calm.

The no or ah becomes a warning that if you continue you will be removed.

I used it when my dog fence fought and it works, for me at least, and quickly.

Fucksandflowers Sun 23-Jun-19 13:36:32

And yes a house line is basically just a long lead.

swisscheeseplant Sun 23-Jun-19 13:45:03

@OrchidInTheSun Is the CARE protocol used by particular type of behaviourist? I do think her behaviour might be linked to fear - she is a nervous rescue dog and doesn’t like most men. She is great with other dogs in the park or even if they visit us - just not through the window.

OP’s posts: |
Fucksandflowers Sun 23-Jun-19 13:51:18

CARE protocol is the current expected way of dealing with pretty much all behavioural problems.
Lots of treats, desensitisation, takes a long time.

Things like the method I personally use and peucheron suggestion of no or stop are considered 'aversive' by a lot of behaviourists and not used.
Though I personally think that is the wrong decision but hey ho, everyone is different I guess.
Science and knowledge evolves all the time and right now, the general belief is that purely positive based training yields the best results.

Aggression in all forms is almost always fear based.
Though terriers are absolutely famous for being excessively vocal and barking at absolutely everything.

XXVaginaAndAUterus Sun 23-Jun-19 13:51:45

I wouldn't let the dogs get on the chair - I am too lazy to constantly clean it it seems to be part of the problem and it's going to destroy your chair.

Try a day working with the curtains pulled, does that help or resolve it? If so, you can consider film/blinds/etc as part of the solution.
Personally, I'd shut the dogs out of the room(s) at the front of the house. Some of your clients will be allergic to the pet hair they leave behind, some will be fearful of dogs, and your house could smell doggy and to anybody but the owner that is noticeable and unpleasant.

OrchidInTheSun Sun 23-Jun-19 13:55:42

Lots of behaviouralists use it. I would join Reactive Dogs (UK) on Facebook and ask for a recommendation. There are lots of useful tips on there in the meantime (and I'm afraid I would also put window film up).

The CARE protocol works well but it's better if you can start sooner rather than later before the behaviour becomes ingrained because it will be much harder to change it

swisscheeseplant Sun 23-Jun-19 14:13:40


Closing the curtains does minimise the problem, so the film would probably help; however, I am not keen for reasons mentioned above.

Keeping the dogs shut out of the office is not an option for me as I enjoy their company (barking aside) and they want to be with me. The only exception is when I have clients and then the dogs are shut away.

You may be right about the doggy smell, but the downstairs is tiled and I have leather furniture to minimise the odour - other than getting rid of the dogs, there is not much more I can do.

OP’s posts: |
percheron67 Sun 23-Jun-19 14:17:51

Behaviourists are not popular with or recommended by all. My next door neighbour's dog is a case in point. He went to a behaviourist for several months and is , possibly, even worse that when he started to go. A good trainer will tell you that dogs (like children) need to know when they are in the wrong. You don't have to be brutal - just firm. Treats are not a good idea- would you feed sweets or chocolate to your child. Dogs, horses and children react well to praise. (Vocal). A well mannered dog, horse or child has been properly schooled.

XXVaginaAndAUterus Sun 23-Jun-19 14:44:22

I too believe that dogs, children and horses and better off when they have boundaries, know that they are not in charge and know when their behaviour displeases the leader. I think like any industry there are good and bad behaviourists.

Having said that, ceasing behaviour with punishment (even just a no and remove from the room) is pretty difficult to achieve both in my experience and according to behavioural theorists - better to replace and unwanted behaviour with a desirable one, so I can see the recall + treats working well. We're not talking stuffing them with sugar and e-numbers, we're talking giving a positive motivation to perform a different behaviour. I'd add that it would be important to me to only treat when they were quiet, not still barking,and to use shaping until barking was extinguised.

Also, what about a pull down roller blind? Easy enough to pop back up before you go to answer the door.

adaline Sun 23-Jun-19 15:16:12

It's normal and it's not aggressive either - they're alerting you to what's going on outside. It's just guarding.

It can be stopped - get someone to walk passed the window (repetitively), get the dog to settle each time and praise - it just needs consistency and repetition. Eventually they'll realise that if they go to their bed (or spot on the sofa or wherever) when someone walks past they get attention.

Shouting no or stop is still attention and dogs often don't care whether the attention they receive is positive or negative (so long as it's not abusive).

missbattenburg Sun 23-Jun-19 15:17:56

Our JRT = 12 years of barking at every single doorbell, before coming to live with me.

2 months of treats (her normal kibble) = zero barking at the door when in the office.

Now: doorbell rings, she gets out her bed and looks at me, I drop two or three pieces of kibble, she eats them and gets back into bed.

missbattenburg Sun 23-Jun-19 15:23:09

On the roller blind point, you can get some that are just sheer so still let plenty of light in but obscure the dog's view.

Fucksandflowers Sun 23-Jun-19 15:31:02

it's normal and it's not aggressive either - they're alerting you to what's going on outside. It's just guarding.

Normal certainly.
But isn't guarding ultimately a result of fear..?
Resource guarding a bone because your afraid your owner is going to remove it?
Resource guarding a toy because your frightened the other dog you live with is going to take it?
Guarding the house because you are frightened of the intruders outside your 'safe space'?

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