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Old 04-29-2013, 07:26 PM
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Babyblue5290 Babyblue5290 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Default Territorial?

We are having a bit of a hard time with Talon being territorial, at least that's my best guess on what it is. Other opinions/takes on it are welcome!

Talon went through a few periods of being afraid of people, particularly a specific group of men (short, a bit rotund, glasses/hat/puffy jacket combo), but it seems he's worked through all of those. He does absolutely fantastic for quiet a while (memory isn't great, but i'd say a few months) with all people as long as we are not near the apartment complex. We can go to petsmart, a park, petco, a new store he's never been in before, etc and he does great. Other than excitement bark to the other dogs at the petstores, he is fine. He goes up and greet's people (very politely sits in front of them) without issue. Even when we go to home improvement stores (home depot, lowes, etc) where there are a ton of guys with hats, glasses, puffy coats, loud noises, weird objects, and many things you'd expect a dog to get nervous from he is absolutely confident and great.

The problem is only (as far as I've seen so far) around the apartment complex. By around the complex what I mean is anywhere in the walkways, down the stairs (live on the third floor), grass areas around the building, parking lots, and extends to the sidewalk that encompasses the lot. It's a rather large lot, so plenty of room for him to be a jerk.

With some women near the apartments he may bark, but usually it's his excitement/frustration bark and if allowed to greet he is lovey-dovey with them. Not a problem, we've been using treats/toys to reward for quiet behavior and only is allowed to approach when quiet. These women usually are short with smaller frames. If they are built a bit bigger, then it's hit or miss, or if they are taller it is a no go most of the time.

Now the problem is with everyone else. He will bark like a maniac, it seems like a deep alert bark as if to say "back away now" or "get out of here" or something like that. I've had to pass a few people closely on the stairs and his reaction is to bark the entire way there, but if he can sniff he says "oh ok, I guess this ones fine" and goes on with his business like nothings happened. >_< Though I don't let him sniff people in these cases as 1. I doubt they want the scary looking dog to sniff them and 2. I don't necessarily know he wouldn't nip them.

We've been trying to reward calm behavior with a high value treat and avoiding any too close situations. So going down the stairs, I will go all the way back up if I see someone coming up the stairs so I can go all the way around. Initially we tried just pulling him as far off the side as possible and rewarding calm behavior, but after 2 weeks we didn't see much improvement. We've also been playing LAT with people while sitting out front, playing tug or ball, or walking around the complex on the sidewalk. When he looses control I try to walk into the opposite direction or body block him so he can't see them an dhave him focus on me.

My problem is it doesn't really seem to be working. He loves treats, but not enough to really not bark at the people. Praise seems to work better, but not by much. I tried the tennis ball (his all time favorite) but it's hard to reward since we are generally next to a road or in the parking lot (busy). We also can't avoid going around the area, it's just not possible since we live here.

I just am having trouble understanding why he is so nutzo about barking here and no where else? Does it sound like territorial behavior maybe? Like I said, it is litarally just here. He met one of the people who live in the apartment complex that he has barked at pretty bad, but instead of at the apartment we went to the school grounds to walk and Talon let the guy pet him. He ran right up to him and sat wagging away hoping to get pets, but later that day we ran into him on the stares and Talon went nutzo barking again.

Any ideas? suggestions? Keep at it with the treats?
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