Whenever anyone comes to the door he’ll bark continuously and even when they come into our house, he continues to bark the whole time they are there. He has nipped at them and when we step in to intervene, he’ll even bite us.
We need help.
-Robin, Frankfort, Ky
The first thing I suggest is contacting a trainer to come out and work with you and Gizmo.
The biting necessitates professional evaluation of the situation, possible causes and potential remedies. Without knowing things like Gizmo’s socialization history, how old he was when you got him, were you the first owner, and other key points, I’m not able to suggest a reason for his barking and biting; that’s why it’s so important you connect with a trainer in your area to come and work with you in your home.
I can, however, recommend some exercises to do with Gizmo to get him more under control, happier about visitors and less likely to bite. The first thing to do is work on teaching him to go to bed (any target, like a small carpet, is fine) about 10 feet from the front door when the bell rings. Please read “My Pom-Chi Is Overprotective – What Can I Do?“.
Although Gizmo’s problem behavior isn’t exactly the same,the exercises are what you need to work on with Gizmo. Also please read “My Rottie Goes Ball-istic With Visitors” to teach Gizmo to look forward to someone going to the refrigerator after they say “Kong!”, and giving him a stuffed Kong.
Be sure to take your time with each step of this exercise so he becomes conditioned to the routine. The first visitor should be someone Gizmo knows well and likes the most.
Combine the two commands for Gizmo for letting guests in – first, the “Go To Bed” command, then, when guests are inside and seated, use the “Kong!” command after Gizmo has learned it well. Your goal is to have Gizmo immediately run to his bed when the doorbell rings, stay there until you say “Kong,” and have a guest he knows be the one who gets up and gets the Kong from the refrigerator.
A great place to start your search for a trainer is the Association of Pet Dog Trainers website. Just click on Trainer Search, then type in your zip code and a list of trainers near you will pop up. Please be sure to call at least three to five trainers before you decide who to work with, and be sure their training methods are positive reinforcement and motivational techniques.
Gizmo sounds insecure, although his aggressiveness may not look like that, but I’m certain he’d benefit from training and lots more socialization the way a good trainer recommends.
Please keep me posted on Gizmo’s progress.