Actually a couple of things we observed. Moose has always gone bonkers when someone comes in the house. Once he can greet he is fine. I actually have a behaviourist lined up to help us work thru that because de does seem like it has gotten worse.
Saturday I had some people coming to the house so now what I do is I put Moose on leash and we greet outside. It just makes it so much easier. Afterwards my SU decided to just sit out front for a while with the dogs - it was just so nice in the shade. Our neighbor walked up and Moose acted like he was going to take his head off - basically the same behaviour he has when we are inside. Moose was leashed so we were in control.
2nd thing - My SU and son were rough housing and Moose was outside. He could see what was going on and immediately wanted in. He ran over to my Su and jumped up and I think he grumbled (he makes lots of noises) and my SU thinks he growled. I think when people are rough housing it upsets him.
So what do you think causes this behaviour - is he being protective, scared, territorial? I personally think it is territorial and fear based, but I don't know for sure.
When I talked to the behaviourist she wants to start working on a rock solid sit/stay with him. Let him go nuts as long it is in one place. We shall see, I still have to schedule a time for her to come over. Fortunately Moose never displays this behaviour when we are out and about.
Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky
I think a lot of it is being protective over the house and you or your son maybe since he jumped on your SU. I know Mocha has a similar reaction. She's all over someone that comes into our house but after a few minutes she's fine. She just gets excited but I prefer that she wouldn't. Greeting guests outside does help a lot and like you I always put her on leash if I know someone is coming. She also used to get in front of me and bark with hackles up on our walks when someone was coming tward us. I'm pretty sure she was trying to protect me. We've worked a lot on this though and she hasn't done it for quite a while as long as I let her know that I'm in control and see the offending object. As far as him not liking your SU and son rough housing my cousin used to have a dog that was like that. She hated it when anyone was playing rough and would try to get in the middle of it and stop it. She would get so upset. She was protective of my cousin and her kids though so I think she was just trying to protect them.
Let me know if you can get a rock solid sit/stay when someone comes over. Mine have the same problem. When they get so excited with a visitor, they don't obey any commands.
Don't worry about the rough housing episode. He probably didn't know what to think or how to react. " Are they just playing- may I play with them? - or is Su being aggressive toward son - should I protect? This doesn't seem right - I should do something about it, but what?"
It's hard to say without seeing the behavior in person. How old is Moose? My Rottie was nutso between 18 months and around 3. He felt that he had to protect everyone (not just me) from everything. He'd even protect other people from their own dogs when they were playing. : I think it had to do with the influx of hormones and also some fear (I'll get you before you get me). I had to keep socializing him during that period even though it was embarassing to be out in public with him. After he turned 3, he calmed down and realized he didn't have to react to everything in the environment. That's when he started watching everything but only reacting when necessary.
I think the incidents with your guests are territorial. It may get better or worse with age. I have this same issue with Murray as well and as of yet, I haven't been able to resolve it. It has gotten worse the longer he has been with the family. I had hoped he would calm down, like Thor did, as he got older but no luck so far.
As for the roughhousing, dogs don't understand that type of human play. There are high pitched voices, screaming, running, chasing, tackling, wrestling, etc. To a dog, it looks like trouble and if the dog has high prey drive, it can send them into a frenzy. Again, I can best relate to it with my Rottie. He knew his job was to protect the family but that put him in conflict when the family was involved on both sides. Dogs don't understand the difference between play or hurting each other for real. A scream is a scream as far as they are concerned. For example, my SU was swinging my son around by his arms. My son was screaming and laughing. Thor was confused. He thought my son was in danger but he knew he couldn't bite my SU who was also family. He did the only thing he could do. He grabbed my son's leg and pulled him away from my SU. He dropped my son on the ground then stood between my son and my SU, watching my SU and keeping him at bay. He didn't leave a mark on my son yet he was effective in breaking up what he perceived to be a problem without hurting either family member.
Thanks for the replies. It is always nice to know I'm not alone!
Your comments on the rough housing sounds right on. It really makes a lot of sense.
Moose was 2 at the beginning of February and already I'm seeing maturing - just not in this one area. I'm hoping that with some consistency we can tame down some of the behaviour. Quite honestly I don't really want it to all go away - I like that someone would be frightened if they came in my house unwanted!
Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky
I would personally find another trainer/behaviorist. A dog should not be allowed that behavior no matter what. It is very difficult to give advice without seeing the dog in action and getting a full background. To me he sounds dominant without any fear involved. He is expressing to other people and to your husband that he is in charge when he absolutely should not be. The roughhousing is simply excitement to him and gets him wired up and he releases that on your husband which of course is unacceptable.Let him go nuts as long it is in one place.
How much exercise does he get?
Is he allowed on the couch, bed, etc?
He needs to learn that he is NOT number one. He needs exercise, obedience, and a firm, patient, and consistent voice in his life. Because the barking at strangers has progressed it might continue to worsen.
I would not interpret this incident the same way. Roughhousing which is screaming, laughing, and wrestling around simply excites a dog. Some do go into a frenzy and are unable to release all that energy properly and so they will jump up, hump, or sometimes bite the people involved. I don't think it has much to do with trying to protect one or the other.My son was screaming and laughing. Thor was confused. He thought my son was in danger but he knew he couldn't bite my SU who was also family. He did the only thing he could do. He grabbed my son's leg and pulled him away from my SU. He dropped my son on the ground then stood between my son and my SU, watching my SU and keeping him at bay. He didn't leave a mark on my son yet he was effective in breaking up what he perceived to be a problem without hurting either family member.
Its hard to say without seeing what the neighbors body language looked like. We had an incident like this last week. Oona and I were out on the trail I was standing on a bridge throwing balls into the water to her. A scruffy looking guy came walking up the trail and stopped to talk to me. I don't know if he startled Oona or she picked up something about him but she wouldn't stop barking at the guy. Now this is a dog that likes everybody, so I made sure I paid a little more attention to the guy and he left.
As far as how he acted when your son and SU were wrestling, I would have to see other things like how was he holding his tail, his body posture, the set of his ears before I would deem the behavior agressive. Just because he was growling doesn't mean it was agression. Oona play growls all of the time, it doesn't mean anything.
i'm not sure why i'm even posting this, bc my experience with door bell reactive behavior with taylor may be unique.
moose's reaction to visitors sounds very similiar to taylor's reaction, but who knows, right?
for one, i know taylor is not a dominant personality type. taylor is about 1.5 years old and she is overly friendly, if anything, but quite the opposite when she can see/hear someone, but cannot touch/smell the person.
here is taylor's history with door bell rings and visitors at the door:
we have windows along the side of the front door, so you can see the person at the other side. taylor would raise a huge alarm with hyper barking and hackles raised. when she got this way, obedience commands went out the window.
with taylor, restraining her on leash made her more wild with frustration. manhandling or raised voices only added to her state of arousal, and that only added to my frustration and annoyance as well.
since leash restraints, collar jerks, physical pushing, and forced downs were not working, i decided to try something "new." i flattened her. pinned her to the ground by her neck and held her there in an alpha roll with my hot angry face looming above. oh boy, did she struggle, but i won in the end. she eventually shut down and froze. i told myself that i was teaching her that i CAN and WILL bend her to my will. i decided that this was so effective that i would do this whenever she acted wild and out of control.
i cannot tell you how many times i did this to taylor before i realized the costs of this type of traning. with each new visitor, taylor's stress level seemed to increase and she started to show signs of becoming hand shy. i'd reach for her and she would evade me. i'd eventually get her and flatten her. then later it got to the point where i'd reach for her and she'd automatically fall to the floor and show me her belly. i thought, good, now she is learning to respect me. then i considered the possibility that i was teaching her fear as well.
so i started doing some research and reading, and i found other methods and reasoning behind why dogs do what they do and how we can help them.
sure this kind of heavy handy approach works for some dogs, but it was not the right approach for taylor, and i am so thankful that i was able to find another way. pinning her down wasn't a new approach to the ineffective pushing and jerking. i merely escalated an approach that was already NOT working.
looking back, i feel ashamed and such a fool. with my old approach, i was adding more stress to taylor's already stressed out, highly aroused state of mind when the doorbell rang. i was teaching her that only people who have the physical muscle to force her to submission are people worth obeying. i was teaching her door bell rings are indeed something to be afraid of, because not only is taylor already unsure of the person at the other side, but door bell rings make mom very angry and mean. yes, door bell rings and people coming to the house was VERY BAD.
since that time i've been using classical and operant training approach to recondition taylor to expect wonderful, nice things associated with door bells and people on the other side. so far it's been working for us. i'm no longer angry and taylor is able to relax faster by directing her focus on me to get tasty treats for sitting nicely and choosing to ignore the visitor (even already inside the house) by her own free will.
i can see still the image of taylor in the submissive belly up position in my mind. i used to think that this was a calm, relaxed state for her. she stopped moving and struggling, so i thought, good, finally she is no longer stressed. now when i see that image of her, i can see dejection on her face, and the tensed, frozen, stiff muscles of a dog that is very far away from anything close to the state of relaxation.
and where is luke during all this? he always has been, is, and always will be the a naturally well behaved dog. very little upsets my boy. he unhurriedly trots to the door with tail wagging with no verbalization of any kind, no anxiety in his face or body language, and still eager to meet the person on the other side. i never had to train him to have manners. he make everything so easy by just being himself, and he makes dog ownership effortlessly wondeful, but taylor has really helped me to learn, too seek more knowledge and understanding, and to open my mind and heart to more than just by own ego.
"Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend." ~ Corey Ford
Exactly!! I do not believe in "alpha rolls" for basic obedience type training. For us, alpha rolls are only necessary for a dog who is totally out of control and forcing itself as alpha on you. Going to something Sharon mentioned, is he allowed on the bed, full rein of the house, etc. You might try the NILIF with everything with him for a while. Have someone come to your house and practice greeting people at the door. Using treats is a good idea (IF he is food motivated). If he's already into the "bad dog" mode, treats will do little to help. You really have to start with basics, if you haven't already. I totally understand the rough housing thing. We have to be careful and remember not to do that sort of thing with the other dogs around Zoe. She gets ALL worked up and her excitement will sometimes lead to misdirected agression ... she just has to "bite" something. I've never seen a dog "sit in one place and have a frenzy fit", so good luck with that trainer.looking back, i feel ashamed and such a fool. with my old approach, i was adding more stress to taylor's already stressed out, highly aroused state of mind when the doorbell rang. i was teaching her that only people who have the physical muscle to force her to submission are people worth obeying. i was teaching her door bell rings are indeed something to be afraid of, because not only is taylor already unsure of the person at the other side, but door bell rings make mom very angry and mean. yes, door bell rings and people coming to the house was VERY BAD.
Is he crate trained? Sometimes, if a lot of people are going to be there and it makes him nervous, maybe he's better in another room in his crate with a nice stuffed kong.