Stopping a Little Santa Monica Dog From Barking at Guests

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 2, 2018

For this Santa Monica dog training appointment, we helped 2 year-old Corgi Peekanese mix Lylla stop barking and nipping at guests who move around in her home.

For this Santa Monica dog training appointment, we helped 2 year-old Corgi Peekanese mix Lylla stop barking and nipping at guests who move around in her home.

I used some dog behaviorist tricks to help Lylla feel more comfortable when I arrived for the session. While she did a bark a bit, she settled down quickly and was calm and quiet while I discussed the dog behavior problems her guardians wanted help with.

I learned that Lylla didn’t have many rules and observed her guardians petting her pretty much each time she asked for it. While petting a dog is usually a wonderful thing, petting a dog when it demands attention can confuse it into thinking it has more authority than the humans it lives with. Im pretty sure this is at the least a contributing factor, if not the primary reason for this issue.

I shared a number of positive dog training tips with the guardians that should help them start to flip the leader follower dynamic. Once a dog sees itself as a follower, they tend to follow the human’s lead. This transition will need to take place to eliminate the barking at visitors problem.

In Lylla’s case, I think she thinks she is in charge of security. But when she barks to get people to leave, and the guardians ignore, correct or disagree with her, she gets stressed out and tries to bark even harder. This can easily become a vicious cycle as the approach seems to work. After all, when the dog barks non stop, many people leave which reinforces the behavior.

In the video below you can see Lylla’s bark to disagree with me when I stand up and move about the living room.

When a dog barks at someone when they get up, speak loudly, move their arms suddenly or do some other big action, its the dog’s way of saying they disagree with that action. If a dog gets really worked up, they can start to air bite or actually nip and bite people who move without their permission. Its not because they are mean or an aggressive dog, its because they are stressed out in the first place and no one seems to be listening to them. This is the same thing humans experience when someone keeps doing something you want them to stop.

To stop a dog from barking or nipping guests when they move, I showed the guardians how to use counterconditioning to help the dog stop this behavior. You can see how to apply this dog behavior secret to stop dogs from barking at strangers in the free dog training video below.

As you saw in the above video, Lylla was ok with my movement when a treat (reinforcer) was being delivered, but only when I moved slowly. This is normal at first which is why the guardians should avoid having guests move too dramatically at first. As they continue to practice, the visitor can and should start moving with bigger movements. The goal is to gradually increase the movement intensity until the dog doesnt bark no matter what.

Its going to be equally important for the guardians to enforce rules and structure for the next month or two to flip the leader follower dynamic in the house. This way we are addressing the problem at both ends; stopping what caused it (lack of structure) and practicing the technique to fix the symptom. This approach is why Im able to stop most dog behavior problems in only one visit.

To help the guardians remember all the dog behavior help I provided in this at home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

My camera ran out of space so the video got cut off. We pick things up and finish the roadmap to success video below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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