Dog Training Tips to Stop a Brussels Griffon From Guarding the Door

By: Sam Kanouse

Published Date: July 5, 2017

Griffin is a nine-year-old Brussels Griffon who lives in Omaha. His guardian set up this dog behavior training session to train him to stop guarding the door, stop barking, and stop resource guarding his owner.

Griffin was an excited dog at the door greeting, barking, growling and nipping at my legs and feet. He was recently adopted three weeks prior by his new owners and had a past history of resource guarding. Griffin was likely use to intimidating guests at the door by barking and nipping. I gave Griffin time to smell my leg. This can help a dog reduce stress and is one of the dog behavior secrets I shared in this session. You can see them in the video below.

As you can see in the video, Griffin continued to bark at me, even after entering the house. When I sat down with his owner and her ten-year-old daughter, Griffin immediately jumped on the couch to inflate his status. Many people are unaware that height is associated with leadership position for dogs.

I must say that I was happy that his new guardians set up a dog behavior session with us so quickly after adopting Griffin. Many people put calling for help off and end up developing a problem that takes more work, time and effort to fix.

I quickly learned that Griffin didn’t have any rules to follow, which led him to assume that he was the leader of the house. A lack of rules can sometimes lead to unwanted behaviors such as guarding the door and resource guarding because it allows the dogs to think of themselves as equal or above their owners.

We discussed implementing rules and structure for Griffin, but because his main issue was guarding the door we focused on a door exercise. Griffin was quick to respond to this exercise, by staying behind an invisible boundary that we set for him. You can see how we stopped him from guarding the door in the video below.

As you can see in the video Griffin did not immediately stop barking at the door. That is O.K. The first step for Griffin is to stay behind the boundary and respect the space around the door when his owners are greeting guests. Over time he will stop barking.

His guardians will need to practice this exercise over and over again, with lots of repetition to help Griffin be successful. One dog training tip is to put a sign on your door saying that you are training your dog to have good door manners so it may take a minute to get to the door. Most people will be patient and happy to help you accomplish these goals.

Since Griffin was resource guarding the ten-year-old girl, I taught her a technique we like to call Petting with a Purpose. This means that Griffin has to do a desired behavior such as a sit or down, before he can be petted. This will help him change his mindset into a follower position and look to his owners for leadership. It will also help the humans practice being in the leadership role.

The exercises that I introduced, combined with exercise, rules and structure should help Griffin stop barking, stop guarding the door and stop resource guarding his owners.

We wrapped up this session by shooting Griffin’s Road Map to Success video, which you can see below.

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This post was written by: Sam Kanouse

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