bitework/protection people: an "OK" word?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Gempress, May 3, 2012.

  1. Gempress

    Gempress Walks into Mordor

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    Okay, yesterday brought up a minor issue with Voodoo. Voodoo is by nature a very protective dog. He doesn't allow strangers to set foot on our property if we're not home. Even people who have visited regularly aren't allowed in. If we're home, it's a different story. He absolutely adores people. BUT we've discovered we have to physically meet people at the door and invite them in for Voodoo to accept them.

    We found that out when a friend stopped by yesterday. Voodoo's met him plenty of times. When our friend knocked, we were busy cooking dinner so my husband called for him to come in. Our friend was opening the door when Voodoo snarled and flat-out charged him. Fortunately, our friend closed the door in time. My husband had to go to the door and physically invite our understandably-shaken friend in for Voodoo to drop his guard.

    Is it possible to teach Voodoo a specific "okay" word? How can we teach it? It would be nice to just be able to tell Voodoo that a visitor/visitors are welcome on the property without having to meet them face-to-face and escort them in every time.
     
  2. FG167

    FG167 New Member

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    I taught my Dutch Shepherd the word "friend" and associated it with people he knew/liked already and me accepting them. Sometimes they would give him treats. Then I could say "friend" and he would know I expected him to go with them/be accepting. He was a nerve-bag so that only worked to an extent but the basic idea was sound.
     
  3. Kat09Tails

    Kat09Tails *Now with Snark*

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    I think you need a reality check on this. Your dog and your guests should not be put into the situation where they have to use a code word to avoid being bit by your dog.

    You need to protect your dog from himself for all your sakes. He needs to be confined if there are guests coming over that you are expecting OR he needs ROCK SOLID obedience to stay away from welcomed guests. If he manages to bite someone, maul them, or manages to kill them you could lose him at minimum, lose your home, your financial future, and your freedom depending on how things went down.

    You are courting a bad dog bite to a family friend or innocent bystander in the assumption that your dog who is not situationally conditioned will show enough consistency of behavior to declare "he's safe with a word and not our presence or awareness."

    The best thing you can teach your dog in this situation is a place command like Kennel!, Crate up!, or House! and use it with consistency whenever a welcomed guest is arriving.
     
  4. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Personally, and especially in a fairly isolated area like Gem's, I LIKE having a dog who doesn't allow people to walk in without an assurance from me that it's okay.

    It shouldn't be difficult for the Vood to learn. Even Kharma, with her nature, will accept a verbal, "they're okay" from me. She still watches for awhile, and keeps herself between me and them, but not with the same level of urgency.
     
  5. stardogs

    stardogs Behavior Nerd

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    Just an fyi, many schh/IPO and similar bitesport trained dogs are generally social - I don't know of many that would need the kind of training you describe. Kes and Aeri both are very social with visitors - to them bitework is a fun game only played in certain contexts.

    I tend to go with Kat on this one - too much risk for liability here for me to even venture a comment on such a cue and its training. How hard is it to go over and welcome people in, really?
     
  6. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    We have a "enough" command which means literally, knock it the f off I've got it from here.

    My ipo dogs are social but natural guards. I like them that way, that is normal and right imo.
     
  7. Maliraptor

    Maliraptor Bite me.

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    Yep. I use "leave it!" even for people. But would never allow someone to just walk in my house like that. I protect my dog from people. ;)
     
  8. Panzerotti

    Panzerotti New Member

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    I totally agree with the majority here. Pan doesn't like strangers so unless it's a close family member coming in she is crated. I don't have to worry about someone getting bit and she doesn't have to worry about how to deal with strangers in her house, easier on everybody.
     
  9. Gempress

    Gempress Walks into Mordor

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    That sounds like Voodoo, and I also like it. How did you go about training it? And no, it's not difficult to go and open the door. And I can put Voodoo in the crate when people are arriving, and probably will from this point out. But I'd like to at least try some kind of command in case a friend/neighbor ever walks inside unexpectedly when I'm on the other side of the house. Or, heaven forbid, I need an EMT or something and can't get to the door myself. Voodoo knows "leave it", and I've used it before, but I was wondering if there was a way to teach him a person-specific command.

    And Kat, I don't agree with you saying my dog isn't "situationally conditioned". Not everyone wants a dog who unconditionally greets people with open arms. We've had guests on average 2-3 times a week since he was a puppy, including mobs of 30 or more. Voodoo's been conditioned to respond exactly the way I want him to. Never, ever has he threatened a guest we met at the door and invited inside.

    Some training background, in case it will help: As Voodoo matured, his initial reaction was to threaten at the door. Initially, we'd praise his reaction, then tell him "ok", and give him praise when he stopped. Then we'd invite the person inside, while we were right there next to the door to keep control of Voodoo. He'd get more praise and treats for welcoming them calmly.

    We thought that he viewed "ok" as his cue word. But the incident of the other day shows that we've inadvertently taught him that our physical presence at the door is part of the cue. I have no clue how to safely teach him a verbal-only cue for such a thing, or how possible it is. I suppose I could use "leave it", but honestly, I have no idea how to safely test it and work on his response. I don't want to get any training volunteers bitten.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  10. TrueToDogs

    TrueToDogs New Member

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    Sorry, but I have to agree that this situation is a serious "accident" waiting to happen. Although you are aware of the problem so I don't think in court it would hold up as an accident.
    I have trained countless personal protection dogs. A dog trained to protect you does so on command. NOT a decision the dog makes but the owner makes. Sure, he can protect when you are not home. That's his job. But it's also his job to look to you to determine if somebody is a threat.
    That being said, I would highly recommend that you teach your dog a solid PLACE, DOWN, or KENNEL command. From your description it sounded like you knew that somebody was entering and your dog did not understand that and was surprised. Don't ever allow anybody to just enter without permission. But instead of just calling to invite them in command your dog first. Use a back tie if necessary in the beginning. Not holding him tightly (the command should be holding him not the leash). But the back tie will help to teach him in the beginning so that you can reinforce the command you had given without fear that he reaches the door.
    My two cents, FWIW.

    Lisa Flynn
    http://www.TrueToDogs.com
     
  11. bitme

    bitme New Member

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    Sounds like Voodoo acts more like a perimeter dog, ie, anyone that steps inside the perimeter gets charged. I do not know if he will bite or not but that is besides the point. Also a point to note is that you can not control him verbally. So 2 things come to mind as a potential solution,

    1, Kennel him when expecting company
    or
    2, Teach him the place command or a firm OB position like a down. Someone knocks, you send him to his place or down him, then open door (then release Voodoo after greeting the visitor).

    Needless to say #2 relies on verbal OB as long as the dog does not break the command before you verbally release him. Key is him NOT breaking the command before you release, gotta watch out for that like a hawk and act firm and quick. You can start by teaching him the down and over time add distraction and duration. Once you get him over 10 minutes in duration and over someone knocking and entering as distraction, you are home. Until then, kennel him.
     
  12. Kat09Tails

    Kat09Tails *Now with Snark*

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    I'm not saying your dog should let everyone in the yard. That's not what this is about.

    You are setting yourself up for disaster by letting your dog decide who can and can't be in the yard. In addition to that you are setting family and friends up for a very serious bite or worse by not personally controlling access. What if they say the word wrong? or with the wrong inflection? or the wrong tone? Are you really prepared for the aftermath of such an issue should things go sideways?

    Personally I like my friends and my dogs too much to risk any of their lives. Get a gate lock - confine your dog or get a really awesome home owner's insurance policy with umbrella coverage for negligent behavior because IMO that's what you're courting with.
     
  13. Gempress

    Gempress Walks into Mordor

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    Kat, let me clarify. I don't trust my dog taking commands and cues from random people. I was meaning a way to teach Voodoo a specific command *I* use to let him know a visitor/visitors are allowed. For example, say someone knocks on the door. Voodoo barks and growls at it, and I tell him "friend" or whatever. Then he knows the person is welcome and will relax without me physically escorting the guest in.

    That sounds about like the right description. I didn't know there was a specific term for it, although I thought that surely some type of guardian/protection dogs are trained for that reaction when guarding property without a handler present. Voodoo doesn't react that way in public areas or even while staying at the boarding kennel. And honestly, I'm not sure if Voodoo will actually bite, either. He certainly acts as if he's serious, but I know that doesn't necessarily mean he'll really bite when it comes down to brass tacks. I still don't want to take any chances.

    I'll work on both his recall and your stay idea. That would accomplish the purpose I'm looking for. Voodoo has a pretty solid stay, but I've never tried using it under those circumstances or for that length of time. I'll start doing it with people he knows first and go from there.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  14. Red Chrome

    Red Chrome New Member

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    My dogs are both trained that enough is it. It means knock it off...I got it.

    Neither of my dogs will let a stranger or acquaintance walk in my door without rushing it and doing beautiful hold and barks on the "intruder". I just make sure my dogs are up when newbies come over or I am watching and answer the door. They do the same with friends and family...until they realize who they are...which is as soon as they realize it.

    Nothing wrong IMO with a dog guarding it's house.
     
  15. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Honestly I'm not sure I would be visiting a house very often where I got seriously rushed by the resident dogs until they recognized me. Either that, or I wouldn't step foot inside the house unless the owner actually came and answered the door.
     
  16. Red Chrome

    Red Chrome New Member

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    I am a single woman that takes care of my Grandma who is elderly...I want my dogs to be protective. Obviously my friends and family that walk in are comfortable enough to do so. My dogs are friendly and even do therapy visits. At home....it is their job to protect the house.

    Plus....I don't like visitors anyway. If they don't like the dogs...then they can not come to my house!
     
  17. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    It's not a matter of not liking dogs. Obviously I like dogs. But there's a difference between a dog who is protective and barks or alerts when I am at the door or break into your house, and a dog who "beautifully holds" me when I am a guest who is supposedly welcome in and/or has been invited to your home.

    Well yea that was kind of my point. I probably wouldn't.
     
  18. Red Chrome

    Red Chrome New Member

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    Hence the reason.....not many people are allowed to walk in my door.

    Its personal preference. As long as my dogs listen and stop when told and are social with guests...it doesn't matter to me. One word is all it takes to change the atmosphere.
     
  19. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    Which is the reason the behavior is allowed to continue - they don't want random people wanting to come to their house. LOL We had a salesmen come up to our door when I was home alone...Chloe aggressed at the guy through the window when she saw him walk up and when I answered the door, I had her by the collar and she was still barking (less I'm going to eat you bark and more excited bark, but he didn't know that). I have to say, I found it very comforting. I like having a dog that will bark and carry on until they know to otherwise via a command/action/whatever. If I tell her to knock it off I want her to knock it off, but otherwise I prefer her to not be social to strangers right off the bat on our own turf. (She is very friendly with strangers in public.) She does recognize some people as "extended family" and treats them like us when they come over, but other than that she puts up a fuss until she knows to otherwise. If we think there will be a potential problem between her and whoever is expected to come over, we keep her in my room or on a leash.
     
  20. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    If I expect guests I leave my dogs out usually to prepare for an introduction. I've found if I'm at the door and it's open as the walk up the drive it helps ease the situation as opposed to a door bell building them up.

    I do encourage my dogs to bark and guard my house, car, and me when I feel it suits the environment.

    I do require my dogs have an "enough" or settle type of command.

    I don't like people to fear my dogs if they're friends who belong here and that is why I settle them and encourage friendly interactions in my house (this almost never happens in the car, this is a "sorry, don't bother" place).

    It's preference and type of dog ownership.

    I don't believe anyone should have a guard prone dog without strict control so an off command is essential.
     

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