Greta has become a bit of a guard dog. - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Greta has become a bit of a guard dog.

Hello everyone I'm hopeful for some advice on how to stop Greta from 'guarding' my place of work.

To describe the environment it's a large private garden and during the day she sees regularly about 10-12 people, the same people. However when there is an oil delivery or a visit from the curator of the garden she smells or hears their arrival and barks at them whilst circling their legs. I've tried many times to show her they are not a threat. We've tried getting them to give her a treat or for me to shake hands with them and to chat normally. It may work whilst she eats her treat and then she's back to barking and circling.

I understand she's being a guard dog but I don't want her to be. This week she also became like this to a man walking on a footpath. Not her territory to guard at all.

I'm increasing her socialisation, so coming with us when we go for a drink in the evening and back to obedience classes but if anyone has some advice that would be great.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 06:56 PM
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For me all of what you are doing are useful techniques and i would not stop doing these, consistency is key. I would add one more though: when introducing her to someone new where she could possibly react like that, have her on a leash and step in front of her (i.e. between her and the other person) while you are talking to the other person. That way she is not in a guardian position, you are. It is important for them to learn when they are required to perform a guard dog duty (i.e. you have a real threat) and when not, this body language tactic is telling her non verbally that this one is an ok person and you don`t need the guarding. Hope this will help, adolescent dogs often develop this habit, especially around female owners.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 10:52 PM
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OK, so she regularly sees (and presumably accepts) 10-12 people per day except for a couple, like the oil man? If so, this isn't so much a guarding issue as it might be an anxiety one..recall how sensitive they are.

What is it about these exceptions that is different than the 10-12 she's OK with? The oil man usually is accompanied by a big, noisy truck/lorrie, with other strong, unusual petro smells. That's the parts that might be anxiety producing for her, it's very unfamiliar from the typical 10-12. You want to make it more typical, so when he comes, leash her, and walk out to the truck, praise her for approaching it and tolerating it as it drives into your driveway. Let her inspect everything, and reward her courage. Same with the groundskeeper. Take her to places with new things and smells and help her get accustomed to them.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 11:03 PM
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We are experiencing the same thing with our 2-yr old male V. I bring him to work every day and constantly have people coming in and out of my office. We socialized him in a group class environment twice a week since 9-weeks old until 6-months of age. And had him in training through his first year. So it's not related to lack of professional training. But he has increasingly become more and more guarded of me and my office. Not to mention, we had several very uncomfortable situations where he's lunged at people who has knock at my door or innocently worked into my office. He has even increased his barking while at home, which is driving me nuts too.

To that end, as always, Gabica gave very sage advice. We've been trained/instructed to always have your V behind you when you greet someone of when someone knocks at the door. It puts you in command and allows them a sense of security. If I can anticipate and get ahead of a certain situation I give him "the look" letting him know that unwanted behavior is not allowed. I have even tugged on his collar with a sense of authority to keep him in check and put him in a sit and place. Lunging at people will not be tolerated and I let him know that.

I don't have an easy answer as I'm working through the same thing. But as Gabica stated, consistency is KEY and unwanted behavior will NOT be tolerated.

For Milo it may be anxiety issues and I may seek professional training if it doesn't stop. Not being allowed to come to my place of work would be a major bummer. My female V has much better temperament and have no issues with her with people/strangers.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 11:45 AM
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I do not have a great answer for you, but a couple of observations.

Our Male absolutely loves our son. He is his person of choice, but if my son comes in from hunting with his camo on Zoltan gets very protective. He will growl/bark guarding the house. Even when he smells my son he is protective. The camo just messes with his mind.

Also z (and many dogs ) can sense things that you or I can not.
My wife has had 2 experiences when out walking that showed his protective side.
When he is out on his runs if he see's /hears somebody on the trail he will immediately come to her side and sit. As people pass he is all wiggle butt meeting them.
But twice he has stood in front of my wife and growled not letting her proceed. There was something about the people (young men) that did not sit well with him.
My wife put him on a lead and had her bear spray handy.
When they were out of sight he was back to normal. He did not like something about these people.

Could be something your V is sensing that puts her in protective mode.

Also sudden noise/movement sometimes will startle them especially if they are sleeping and disturbed.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-09-2019, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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Really good advice, thanks everyone.

I had been thinking I should put her on the leash for these situations but I'd not thought to stand between Greta and whom she perceived as a threat, thanks Gabica.

Some of the problem with the oil man is anxiety. She has shown fear to high visibility clothing and the smell of oil and petrol with other members of staff, the chainsaw guys for example. I've resolved this with other members of staff but with the oil delivery men she's been getting worse.

The odd one is the gardens curator. And what's more my first V was always on alert for him too. Although she only barked and identified his location. Greta is circling and yes a bit of lunging. I've thought about it and I think it's because he walks around the grounds but we don't necessarily know he's been to visit. But of course the dogs can smell him, so when she smells him again she's thinking 'its you!!! Sneaking around the gardens again!' Poor guy he's had 2 Vizslas now not liking him!

Tegee, wishing you the best of luck with Milo, it would be a bummer if he couldn't come to work with you.
Luckily for me my employer is keen on having dogs around. When Amber barked at her years ago now her reaction was 'Oh good we have another guard dog'. So the pressure was off for Amber but Greta has taken it up a level. Greta loves seeing my employer though as she always has 5 dogs with her and Greta loves socializing with them.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-09-2019, 08:04 AM
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Only thing I would add to what others have suggested.
I would put on high viz clothing daily. Have people she loves/trusts put them on.
Ask the oil guy for one of his old smelly rags.
Use these two things, to build a new association with the sight and smell.
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