Dog growls at strangers in our House

Posted by Chris-Parker
Sep 14, 2009
Hi there,

I have 2 collie crosses, they are both male and neutered. One is 2 years old (Bailey) and the other is 1 years old (Finley). They were both from the dogs trust (UK dog rescue organisation), however we have had the older one for around a year and half and the other for 10 months.

The problem im having is only with the younger of the two, Finley. The problem occurs when strangers usually Male and darker skinned enter the house. He will continuously growl at them in a deep throaty growl with a very anxious look on his face. He does ot bear his teeth or snap at them, however he is extremely weary of them.

Does anyone have any tips on how to manage this problem?

We have tried getting the stranger to sit and allow Finley to get used to him and let the stranger feed him treats etc, but he never settles down and is completely on edge whilst the 'stranger' is in the house. Should we be telling him off and sending him out and away from the situation or trying to let him know everything is ok, as we dont want to be encouraging his behaviour.

I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

Many thanks

Posted by KOPsarah
Sep 19, 2009
Hi chris and thanks for your post,
You are doing the right thing by trying to have people over to get him used to them. Start with the visitor at the door. Have the visitor completely ignore your dog. While your dog is barking you should all also ignore the dog. Do not reassure him or growl him just totally ignore him. As soon as he appears calm give him heaps of attention and treats. You want to make it clear that barking is innapropriate and will get him nowhere where as being calm will bring all of the things he loves. Once he is remaining calm with the visitor near the doorway have them come in a little further.

You will need to repeat this in several regular but short sessions with lots of different people before your dog will be reliably calm with all visitors but it will definitly be worth it. Also keep up your general obedience, alpha dog training and exercise as these will all help.