Posted by Annie
Jun 22, 2008
just a quickie. Our 2 yr old Female Joey is a great dog. She is well behaved and responsive. We have a large garden with a path on one side with many walkers etc. She is quite protective of our garden i.e some mild barking. She will also not let anybody strange in the garden unless they are met by me. She has never bitten or shows any signs of biting, she is ( for me) a perfect family guard dog. No complaints.
However, when we go on holidays we stay in caravan parks with many other people and sometimes dogs everywhere. This is a mild problem in the day as she is OK, but at night she wants to growl at everybody who is walking near ( 50m) and this is a problem.
How can I get her to understand that her behaviour is good at home, but there are other rules on holiday, and that her comfort zone is a lot smaller there...It is not a major problem, but is there anything I can do before the holidays to start training, or do I just need to train there? not so relaxing nights sleep I also don´t want her to feel that her behaviour at home is a problem as I am often alone and like her early warning system.
thanks for any advice...
Annie and Joey
Posted by Kate
Jul 14, 2008
Hi, that is one tough question!

Unfortunately, dogs don't tend to understand when they are meant to be protective and when they are not.

It may pay to try a technique with your dog where you teach him to relax. It simply works where you ask your dog to sit and relax and as soon as he shows signs of calming down and relaxing you tell him good boy/or give him a treat. You must wait until he looks relaxed - this may mean that his ears go slightly limp, or at least has his complete focus on you. This works really well in dogs that are anxious because when they are in a stressful situation, you are able to tell them that there is no need to worry - you are in charge.

Start the relaxing technique while you are at home. If he learns this well you can try this at the carvan park - as soon as he starts growling, call him to you and ask him to sit and relax. This should at least distract him for a bit and hopefully he will start to understand that he is not needed to protect you all the time!

Let us know how you get on It sounds like you have a really lovely dog!
Posted by Annie
Jul 14, 2008
hi Kate,
thankyou for the great reply. That sounds like about the only solution. I´ll try this at home and we´ll see how we get on....Am I enforcing a sit and stay during this time? Before now, when she needs time out I send her to a special place. She is not in trouble, but I send her there ( she doesn´t always like this) and then she stays there for awhile. Is this the same sort of thing you´re talking about? Or should I just get her to sit and stay by me?
She is getting better as she gets older, but like you said, she is a bit nervous of new situations but she is learning to trust me and my judgement. I think she may also pickup that we are also slightly disturbed having people all around us on holidays as we live on a I need to work on myself too
thanks again,
Posted by Kate
Jul 15, 2008
You want her to stay in the sit until you tell her it is ok to move from there, so I guess in a way you are enforcing a stay also. Either sending her to her special place or keeping her by you will both work well in this situation.

The relaxation technique is especially handy for anxious dogs because you are telling them that there is nothing to worry about in the particular situation they are in.

She will definately pick up on your reactions to what is going on. So if you don't want her to bark/growl, try to act as normal as possible.

She sounds very smart and I don't think you will have any trouble getting her to be a very effective (when you want) guard dog