Territorial Terrier - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 1 Old 05-22-2020, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Territorial Terrier

Sorry if this is a bit long: I'll try and give a bit of background to the post, basically looking for a bit of training advice and thoughts as to whether or not I'm on the right track;

Background - since Covid19 hit, we've been working on short shifts at the yard, and the yard dog - 10yr old Jack Russell - was going to be there alone most of the time, so my parents offered to house him for the duration of the restrictions. I am 22 and live away from home, but am living with my parents until September.
Whilst staying with us, Henry has been the perfect dog and fit in very well in almost every aspect, and as he's getting older, my parents are considering taking him on full time as they are now working from home and have become quite fond. (He belonged to the previous yard owner who has passed away, so is free to a good home if one is offered).

The problem: during his 10 years at a busy riding school, he is quite territorially aggressive. He is fine with people he knows, young people and most women, but tall people, particularly men - he is quite aggressive towards. Not when out and about, only when he's in 'his' house. He barks a lot and will bite if he gets the chance. 10 years of being shouted at/told off has only aggravated it further.

This wasn't initially a problem, but as he's started to view our house as his home, he is becoming defensive at the front door, and as we're still restricted, we've not been able to have any visitors - so when the postman does knock, he is super wired.
We have a crate for him which he likes and sleeps in happily, and I'm working on trying to make visitors a positive experience for him. So, when someone knocks, he goes into the crate with some treats etc, and once people are allowed in the house, I'll ask them to bring treats/toys for him. However at the moment, he starts barking worse once he goes in to the crate than when he's just left loose, but I'm worried if he's loose he'll run out and bite someone.

I'm just wondering if anyone has had any success with retraining an older dog to become accepting of visitors, and whether or not I'm on the right track.
Paticularly with the crate, as it seems to make him worse but I'm not sure of a good alternative if there is a risk he'll shoot out of the door after somebody.

Edited to add: He is generally very obedient and will sit, stay and go to the crate when I tell him, even with someone at the door, so currently I'm not concerned about the risk. The issue is that my parents are not very natural or enthusiastic dog trainers, and if there's any chance of keeping him, he needs to be reliably accepting of visitors by the time I leave home again in September.

Last edited by celestejasper13; 05-22-2020 at 04:42 PM.
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