Gigi has finally decided this is home and therefore it's her job to protect us from ... everything. While I don't mind her barking when someone comes to the door or pulls in the drive (George does it, too) I do mind if she gets all bug-eyed snarly about it, especially when it's people we know that she's met and been told repeatedly are "all right." I realize some of this is her stray background. She still jumps at sudden sounds and cringes when we pick up something sometimes. I shifted a pad of paper from one hand to the other a few days ago and she cringed and I wasn't even talking to her, I was talking to my husband. I'm sure she was beaten or at least hit in a past home, so she's nervous and jumpy and that's why she's overprotective. We have to start teaching her -- and we have been trying -- that when we tell her someone's okay to be here, she needs to calm down and be a good girl. Any ideas? Between our work schedules and taking care of Hubby's ailing parents, classes aren't an option at the moment and won't be for a long while to come, so what can we do at home? This is a new behavior in the last week or so; before that she was shy but not barking around people who came over. George sets a good example -- his barking is to announce someone is here and once they ARE here, he's their best buddy whether he's seen them before or not.
It may not all be from being abused. We've had Moose since he was a puppy and you would think everyone that came in the house was a terrible person - he barks non stop and his hackles go up. I've started putting Moose on leash and taking him to the door with me for greets and this seems to work the best. I try not to let anyone touch him until he is sitting and calm. You might want to keep treats at the door so you can use those for visitors to use when your dog is doing what you want them to do. Both of my dogs are very sensitive to certain things. All I have to do with Sky is use a stern voice and her head goes down in submission. Moose will jump on my lap if he gets startled. Hope this helps. If you haven't read the Other End of the Leash by Pat McConnell I would highly recommend it. I haven't finished it yet, but have gotten great information from her book that have helped me figure out what I needed to do. Good luck!
Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky