Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

9 Month Old Molly Is Too Protective Of Visitors In The House

by Susan
(Minnesota)

I have had Molly (adopted her from a rescue) for almost 3 months and she has settled in quite well. We are currently taking obedience classes (this is my first Aussie) so that we can bond. She is turning out to be a wonderful dog (3 weeks into having her I wondered if I had made a mistake with adopting this breed) but I have 1 problem - she goes nuts when we have visitors come into the house. She barks violently and I believe she would bite if I allowed her to get close to the visitor. How can I break her of this? She is completely sweet to anyone when we are away from home (on a walk, at the dog park, at the pet store, etc) but when she is on her "home turf" she turns into a monster! I would LOVE any suggestions or advice... Thanks! Susan

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9 month old Molly
by: Anonymous

I have an AUSSI that is also very protective of her house and very friendly outside of it. You can try this; when somebody comes home give them a treat. When presenting them to your dog always repeat the word ?friend? and let them give your dog the treat. Of course at first, just let them throw the treat to her and slowly you can let them get closer. It is very important that your dog realizes where the treat comes from. Do this as often as you can during the day. There will be a time when your dog will learn that when someone comes and you say ?friend? it is a good thing. As soon as she stops barking when you say ?friend?, immediately reward her with treats, hugs and kind words like ?good girl, that?s my good girl?. This has worked for me very well. Now, I let my dog bark to strangers when she is at home, but as soon as I say ?amigo? (I?m from Mexico) she starts to wave her little tale and wants to start kissing and jumping at the visitors. She just loves to have new ?friends? now.
I hope this works for you. Good luck.

Re:Molly
by: Anonymous

Well, welcome to the wonderful world of the aussie to start! You have to realize that aussies ARE a protective breed. They become very attatched to thier families and will protect when nessesary. It sounds to me as if she is the 'alpha' dog. It is HER duty to protect and guard the household. My male aussie was this way(a rescue also). I had to start VERY slowly. At first I would have to put him in a separate room until he calmed down(barking,jumping,growling)after he got used to the new voices,and stopped these behaviours then I would put him on a leash(for control) and bring him out to 'visit' as guests were sitting(less threatning)he was allowed to 'say hello' Allow Molly to visit from a distance by putting her in a down-stay position,until she relaxes,this may be from the other side of the room at first. Slowly, you can allow your guests to offer her a bit of a treat,but dont allow them to pet her until she feels comfortable,and bring her to them(still sitting) Then allow so in a calm manner,then take her back in a down stay. Dont wait for her to become uncomfortable and DONT reassure her by saying"its ok" and petting her when she is behaving badly or without confidence. This is rewarding the bad behaviour,not encouraging the good.Also,keep in mind it may not be protective behaviour but fear(this is worse).It will also help to practice guest introductions when she is TIRED! The less pent up energy she has the better she will be!She has obviously made herself at home with you in this short period of time. You will get through this, and maybe some more research about the aussie would benefit you AND Molly. I hope this was somewhat helpful, and the best of luck to you and Molly.

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