• Michael D'Abruzzo

    July 27, 2018 at 12:06 am

    Hi Dave,

    A dog that guards that is selectively bred to guard (I think I remember you said Ace’s father was also similar in temperament) is technically doing an “appropriate behavior” and there isn’t necessarily an equivalent replacement since the first layer of our foundation is “canine behavior” and we must work within the natural tendencies of the individual dog.  It will be impossible for Ace to reliably know on his own when it “is” or “isn’t” needed.

    However, that is where your leadership and guidance comes in.  Ace on his own will act like Ace.  He will always be calling the shots when he is by himself.

    When someone comes around he will likely always give an alert bark to alert YOU so you can make a decision from there.

    If everything is in place you can start an obedience plan to command him to either disengage or go to a certain spot and settle.

    For instance, in the home we usually have a dog lie down on a place while we open a door an let a guest in.  Although, this doesn’t instantly change the dog’s state of mind it gives the dog something to physically do to we get a chance to interact with the guest which the dog then gets to see is not a threat.  The dog than settles quicker and may be released if the dog is otherwise safe.

    Something similar can be done outdoors.  I trained many dogs to “post” outside and go to a designated stump, large rock, or another area.  A dog can also be sent to their dog house.  You can be creative.  Territorial instinct is very strong with some dogs and although initially he will still be aroused he will settle quicker when he is focused on performing a task and watching you be calm about a visitor.

    On the top of our plans, we can always counter-condition in the same way people give cookies to dogs when the mailman comes.  The speed in change as to how Ace emotionally reacts to visitors will be variable depending on several factors, but you will at least be moving in the direction that you want and will get improvement and overall improved control around distractions that cause intense emotional reactions.