HELP! Non-stop barking at our guests

  • I adopted my Basenji Mix, Bradley, a year ago and anytime we have any guest(s) over, he absolutely will not stop barking at them(especially if it is a male). He is not aggressive towards them at all, if anything, he's more afraid of them because anytime we have them try and pet him, give a treat, sit with him, etc. he backs away. I feel like I have tried everything and I am almost to the point where I want to give up, but I know that won't help solve the problem either. Does anyone have this problem as well, or have any tips for me?
    Thank you

  • Maybe something happened to him before he came to live with you - a male that did bad stuff to him? Do you know anything about his previous life? For now, I would leave him alone, be very calm and talk in a quiet voice, both you and the guests, and ignore him. No treats, no touch, no eye contact, no words, no direct body language in his direction, no big arm movements - hopefully he will start to pick up that all is well and quiet and that he can feel safe enough to be calm himself. All the best.

  • Does he still bark if you put him in another room? If he is feeling threatened by the guest he may need more distance between him and the guests. Don't try to force an approach of any kind. Let him keep his distance.

    You might want to teach him to bark on command, if he doesn't already know this. Sounds counter intuitive, but if you can turn it on, you can often turn it off. You could ask him to "speak" when guests arrive, then "quiet", and he gets a treat. The barking then becomes your idea and with practice he may learn to wait until you ask for it. Then fade asking for it. Just a thought.

  • With teaching to speak, you can also teach "close your mouth". While Kathy uses it for biting pups, it's also good for barking. They can't bark if their mouth is closed

    Teach your puppy the "close your mouth" command, suggests Davis. During calm times, gently close your hand around its mouth, holding it closed for five seconds, and say, "close your mouth." Let the muzzle go and praise the puppy in a happy, up-beat tone. Increase the time to a maximum of 15 seconds.<<

    My response from your other thread:

    You need to teach 2 things.. a 100 percent solid down/stay and "leave it". If you have to use a collar and leash to keep him beside you and down, do it.

    Do not continue trying to get interaction. The more they totally ignore him, the less stressed he'll be.

    Once you can get him to stay at least 15 mins, get a male friend to come over. Put him in down stay and give the leave it command if he barks. Once he is QUIET, the person leaves. Keep repeating as often as you can get men to come over. Once he is quiet from the start, lengthen the time by a few minutes. ALWAYS tell him good boy and give a treat for being quiet.

    It would help a lot if you can try this out in a park too. If he's less reactive to men there, they can walk past and toss a treat (not look at or talk to). Once he seems to like seeing them coming because he associates with treats, they can say "GOOD BOY" as they pass. Then they can stop and toss the treat. Eventually they can stop, say good boy, toss the treat, speak to you and move on. Eventually he will link men to good. Throw in some women too, but concentrate on men.

  • @kjdonkers I agree that this B Mix had something bad happen to him. My Mom rescued a Senior Wirehaired Terrier Dachshund Mix and all she does is bark incessantly when somebody comes into her house. I told her to pile seat cushions on top of an upholstered Chair so the dog named Dixie (because she was a rescue from Virginia) so she is high up and can see everything that is going on. This and ignoring her and also not saying 'It's okay' because Barking incessantly is a Vice. By acknowledging the behavior you are encouraging it. Now when I go to visit my Mom the dog barks for a minute and then stops and comes over to say hello and get her head petted.

    I would try that and see how it goes. When a man comes in if the dog is high up he may feel more secure. This will take time but it will work. Great that the Dog got such a caring owner!

  • @kjdonkers I unfortunately do not know anything about his past other than the fact that he was going to be euthanized so they transferred him to the shelter where I ended up adopting him at. There was one scenario recently where my mom and a guy friend over and Bradley did his barking spiel, but once I sat down with them, he stopped. He was still very skiddish of the guy but was very tolerant with him. However, that was the only case :/. One time I put him in his crate and covered it with a blanket and he still barked bc he heard a male voice.

  • @eeeefarm Yes bc he knows people are inside and also can still hear them talking. I will try the "speak" and "quiet" method though bc I have only told him "no" and to "stop" which he listens to unless it is in these types of scenarios.

  • @antigone Yeah I definitely agree that he has not had the best past and having me save him, he has become protective over my mom and I and I feel like he is just trying to protect us and his home, but I just can't get him to understand that everything is fine and we are safe. I work at a daycare/boarding resort and he loves everyone there, males and females, but someone he doesn't know walks past his room, he starts his barking.

  • I find most problems like this are avoided if you tell visitors to ignore the dogs completely. I have had an assertive dog and a fearful aggressive dog. With both the answer was to ignore them and not try to pet them at all. Usually the dogs will become curious sooner or later and then they can pet them.

  • @nicoleeastwoodd I think he will eventually become able to come around as long as he feels safe. You can don't want him in a Crate because in this case that is a Reductio Ad Absurdum. Instead of feeling safe he feels trapped. A good Basenji is a tired Basenji. Mine was like the Energizer Bunny for the Batteries! She never stopped moving. Ever!

  • @nicoleeastwoodd You truly understand that your Boy is trying to protect you, and himself as well. That is half the Battle but since this is a reaction he has had for a long time, I suggest you don't make a big deal of it. When he starts to Bark maybe you or someone else can take him outside for a quick run so he gets tired and distracted. Sometimes removing the Dog from that which is stressing him and getting the Endorphins going will make him calmer whenever a new person comes.

    My friend who was new to horses said my Dog 'Spooked' her horse. Spooking is a VICE in Horses and it should never be treated with pets and poor horsie stuff. When she told me my 23 pound Dog spooked her Horse I grabbed her horse by his Halter and took him and my dog on a nice long slow-paced walk around the Farm. He got over it. My friend who is a Behaviorist lives in a World of constant manipulation, I cannot stand it and I taught her a very important lesson about how to keep your Kid safe when around or when riding. That mindset is so wrong.

    Remove him from the situation and don't make a big deal of it. Just take him outside for a walk so he gets tired. That always works for me when I get a new off track Thoroughbred Horse who has been pumped full of Drugs and has to deal with Drug Withdrawl. I ignore the attempts to intimidate me and when they are better they are always great to work with!

    Patience is the key!

  • I have tried to put him in the backyard a few times but as long as he knows someone is inside, he will continue. As for the walking, it works until we get back home. I have even tried having him meet guests outside before coming in and it still didn't work. He is a shelter dog and I'm almost positive he's just trying to protect his home and us because he's never had someone who actually cared about him; plus we really don't get guests too often so it's just taking twice as long for him to understand.

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