Tuesday, April 30, 2013

To blog or not to blog...

A post by the momma:
I find myself on the fence about a training/behavior issue that came up last night. I wasn't home, but Adam was and was out in the back yard with Corbin and Amelia. Our back yard is fenced, not the worlds greatest fence, but (knock on wood) it hasn't been tested by Corbin or any foster and they respect their boundaries. They're also not left out unattended. 
You want respects?  I've got it, don't listen to the momma.
Monday after work, Adam was out with the dogs. Corbin started barking as he noticed someone approaching our fence. This guy, who was selling something, walked right up to our fence and leaned over to pet Amelia. Corbin was running back and forth up the fence line, barking. He jumped up on the fence and scratched this strange dude's side with his dagger like claws. Seriously, we had them cut back during his tail surgery and they're still unbelievably long.  Adam was close by so got to the area before anything went further -although, I'm not sure Corbin would have gone further, but who knows... who's to say.  Anyway, no damage, just a scratch... and the guy was a pit bull owner and in love with Amelia, so he didn't care. 
Lovable factor: Check.
Adam cared. He was livid with Corbin's behavior.
So.... I get home and Adam starts (frantically) telling me this story, clearly rattled from it. My first question was "wtf was this guy doing on our property?" Clearly, not the first thing Adam wanted to answer.
My first question too... who are you and what are you doing here?
Go away!
Is this an issue? Should Corbin be allowed to protect his gated yard from strange men walking up off of the street? What if it was me in the back yard and this guy had ill intentions? It's not that I want a guard dog, and that's not the reason why we adopted Corbin... but I can't say that when Adam isn't home, I'm not glad to have a dog bark at strange noises. I can think of a handful of situations where I'd be glad for Corbin to react that way... maybe he was trying to take Amelia out of our back yard?

Is this Corbin's fault? The stranger's fault?  Or my fault since it's our property and my dogs actions? 
Cut me some slack, I'm handsome.
I debated on whether or not I would bring this to the blog. But, it's heavy on my mind. I told Adam that we would work with the issue. We would ask some friends that haven't met Corbin or that don't know him too well, to come over and approach our fence while we were prepared to do some training and work with him to be less reactive. Goes back to our issue of not doing any training in a year, so it would be good to have a little refresher... but I'm just not so sure I want Corbin to roll over and allow someone into our yard. Any thoughts?  Or similar issues/situations?  Any input is well appreciated.
My thoughts on people with a lack of smarts.
And, here's my rant -what kind of person approaches and leans over a fence with a barking, running dog that they don't know?!?!?!?!?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?! Can't you just stand at an appropriate distance from the fence and chat with the home owner that way? Or wait for the home owners permission to approach the dogs??????  Although, I guess there could be the other side of that argument with who lets their dog run and bark at approaching strangers... 


  1. You put your hands over my fence to touch one of my dogs, your luck is up to you. Always wait for the owners permission.

  2. If Corbin had wanted to do damage to this guy, he would have. Dogs don't really use their claws as weapons. He jumped up, the guy got scratched. Doesn't seem like a big deal to me.

    The guy should NOT have leaned over your fence, whether someone was there or not! That's a great way to invite a bite. Besides, a fence is a BOUNDARY. It says "Don't cross!"

  3. I'm not sure if I'm mis-reading the post, or if something was left out, but I don't see what was so dangerously wrong about this encounter. Dogs jumping up happens all the time (and sometimes people get scratched, no biggie). Obviously running along the fence, and barking, and jumping up on strangers aren't good things, but it doesn't sound like Corbin was growling or lunging or biting at the guy. There are certainly things you can do to teach Corbin to not run along/jump on the fence, but just based on what's here I don't really see an aggression, or even overly-protective, issue.

    For what it's worth, I *would* want Corbin to just roll over and allow someone onto your property. In the long run, there's a much higher probability that Corbin (and you) will face bad consequences if he isn't friendly to strangers than the probability that he'll ward off an intruder/burglar by actively scaring them off (plus, from what I've read, it's the mere presence of a dog that does more to prevent a break-in, rather than the dog's demeanor as a push-over vs. snarly-type.) We've had to do a lot of training with our guys when it comes to fence behavior too (e.g. not fence fighting with the neighbors' dog), and it's not exactly easy, but it is certainly do-able.

    And that guy was a complete idiot for doing that to dogs he doesn't know. He's lucky that all he got was a scratch. I'm on Team Corbin for this one.

  4. I am with you on this. I don't, personally, try to correct my dog from barking at people approaching our front door or fence. I do expect her to stop barking when told that its not a stranger danger situation. I also don't condone her barking at people walking on the sidewalk in front of the house-or not on our property. I think if you want to train the behavior away you could work on super solid recall. But I totally understand the comfort and ease that comes from a dog with a VERY big bark.

  5. I have no issue with Corbin defending his property. While I agree with what Kate said about maybe training Corbin out of this type of reaction just because of his breed and how if it were to escalate, even though he's just being a dog - Corbin would get the blame.

    I've told this story before I believe. But when I had my other two dogs (since passed on to RB) the one was really friendly, but my cattle dog mix was not. My neighbor's boys were constantly reaching over the fence to pet the friendly dog and were undeterred by the frantic barking and jumping up of my other dog. I often had to tell them to stop. Finally, on a day when they were doing it, their mother was actually home so I stomped over and asked the mom to please tell her kids to stop reaching over the fence like that. She was like "When do they do this?" And I said "THEY ARE DOING IT RIGHT NOW!" That got her attention and since she witnessed it herself, they never did that again.

    I hate that despite having Beware of Dog Signs, if anyone gets bit by a dog while trespassing - it still is often the dog's fault and they take the fall.

  6. Since WE live WAY out in the Country... our mom and dad are actually GLAD that we BARK our heads off when a stranger comes near our house. WE think it is our JOB to pawtect and defend THEM. THEY pawtect and defend US so it is only RIGHT and FAIR..
    WE think that this MAN made a BIG Mistake.. he should have ASKED and waited until your Dad said it was OK to reach over. THAT would have solved ALL the issues. Peeps need to learn the RULES of RESPECT and that is just how it is. Corbin you did the RIGHT thingy... He could have been a ROBBER or a Dawg KIDNAPPER.. and you PUSHED him away.. you didn't BITE him... You just PUSHED him away... and if he got scratched in the process... it is HIS fault. NOT YOURS.
    I'm Frankie Furter ... and I'm Ernest vonSchnitzel and WE approve this Message!

  7. Boomer and Dottie are better than an alarm system, they will let you know that someone is coming up the drive or near the fence. Boomer who is normally laid back will become protective if someone he doesn't know comes up, especially if it's just the two of us and because of this I feel very safe with him, more so than Dottie.

    I don't think Corbin did anything wrong, this man invaded his space and Corbin basically told him off and pushed him away. This man being a dog owner should have known better than to approach a strange dog(s) and reach over a fence. Then again maybe he was blinded by Amelia's beauty and forgot his manners, Corbin smartly put him back in his place.

  8. I'm torn on this one. Part of me thinks it is a good thing. He was protecting his yard. And part of me gets he can't do this. What if it were a kid? But what was this guy doing leaning over to pet a dog enclosed by a fence? I think part of the protection is just the presence.

    This was not really helpful. But it just annoys me that the guy reached over.

  9. I might ramble a bit because I'm processing this info, but if they guy was a Pit Bull owner, that is probably why he leaned over the fence in the first place as opposed to a non pit owner who might be more wary. I tend to be more open to approaching pit bulls than non pit bulls however, you're right...if Corbin was running the fenceline and barking, what kind of idiot leans over a fence? I kind of think that if Corbin meant to "harm or attack" the guy he would bite rather than jump...?
    I'm guessing Ray is of similar size, from looking at the pictures. So here is my two cent's worth. Ray isn't allowed to jump on anyone so that is just an ongoing training that we are engaging in. Ray also isn't very "protective" and doesn't bark much, but I do sometimes play the "big dog" card by answering the door to strangers with him in tow.

    Like I said, I'm rambling, but I'm kind of thinking A) the guy has no business sticking his arm over someone's fence and B)if my dog wants to run along the inside of MY fence in MY yard I'd let him. (not so much on the barking, though.)

  10. If Corbin was protecting his yard that's pretty instinctive. I don't think that can be trained out of him. Put up a beware of dog sign and call it a day.

  11. If Corbin were to act inappropriately when friends reached over the fence, then you might want to address it. But this was a stranger. Stranger Danger! :) In all seriousness, we face this type of issue often. We have an alley behind our house that we know is used by drug dealers. I have not bothered to train the dogs not to bark because I like criminals knowing that I have big barky dogs. However, I don't let them bark non-stop and disturb the neighborhood. I call them inside whenever they get barky as a compromise - they are not being obnoxious but they are still letting whomever back there know that our house is not one to be trifled with.

    I think it was idiotic of that man to stick his hand over the fence. It doesn't sound like Corbin did anything super wrong - but it is up to you and you only, what you'll accept or not. I think you'd be right going either way in this one.

  12. Casey's Momma here with my suggestion -- you need to teach Corbin a "friend" command. He can bark, growl, and go nuts at an unknown person approaching the house . . . but when you tell him "He's a friend!", he needs to know to back off and chill. That way you'll have the alert and scare-off-bad-guys factor but not worry that he'll go charging after innocent situations.

    Personally, your story gives me the willies. With Corbin's reaction in particular, I do NOT buy the innocent "oh, I just wanted to pet the dog" story. Dogs are stolen out of backyards all over the country, and for pits, it's basically a death sentence as a fighting dog. Corbin was protecting his sister, and I say GOOD BOY!!!

  13. I don't think this is an issue with Corbin's behavior, either. It isn't like he went all foamy in the mouth and tore the guys arm off. He was barking, aka warning the guy. And jumping up at him was more a cry for attention equal to Amelia. If this guy was a pittie owner wouldn't he know better than approach then lean over into a strange yard with a pittie who is unfamiliar with him? The real danger here is if the guy chooses to report the incident. The court is likely to side with him no matter what you say because you have a big dog who did not act docile. I realize this is not the advice you are asking for. I really have no clue since I own a pug and even if she goes ballistic on you the injuries would be minor. But the truth is the yard is your domain and anyone encroaching on it has to accept the consequences of a dog protecting his own.
    Love Noodles' Mommy

  14. I believe Corbin reacted quite well to a situation that should have never happened. In this day and time, you do NOT stick your arm over anyone's fence or intrude upon their yard. Yes, I absolutely agree with teaching Corbin the "Friend" command as Casey mentioned. Great advice. But if it were me I would also absolutely want my dog to guard my yard and other pet members of the family in an appropriate way (as Corbin did just warning the man by jumping up, not biting or mauling him).

  15. Ok any idiot reaching over the fence where there are ANY two dogs barking needs training
    Benny & Lily

  16. I don't think Corbin was doing anything wrong, he was letting Adam know the stranger was leaning into the yard. Seriously, the guy was a complete jackwagon and it's his fault that he got scratched. Duke will growl if someone gets too close to him; the Mr. has told people to "back the F up" if they keep trying to pet an obviously uncomfortable dog.

    I agree with teaching Corbin a "friend" command. Maggie and Duke will bark at anyone who comes into our yard or my parents' yard, but will stop when we say "enough". You both could also work on Corbin's recall so you'll be able to call him away from idiots in the future.

  17. I agree that it's the human who is in need of training. Corbin did nothing wrong. In fact, he was quite restrained under the circumstances. However, dogs--especially pit bull-type dogs--often pay the price for human stupidity. I think Casey's mom's suggestion is a good one. How was this guy able to approach the fence in your backyard? Is there an alley or something back there? If it's easily accessible, I might consider putting up a taller fence that people can't reach over.

    Susan and Wrigs

  18. We had an incident at our house. The cable guy came and insisted that he loved dogs. Because we have 4 I kept them away. The cable guy let them out and got jumped on and scratched. I was livid with him and my dogs. It didn't go any further but they wanted to know who the strange man was strutting around our house without one of us.

    Stop on by for a visit

  19. We don't see a problem. No one was hurt and Corbin was protecting his property.
    Gosh, our mom would never lean over a fence to pet a strange dog. That's kinda silly to begin with!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  20. I totally agree that the blame belongs to the man, not Corbin. Even after 7 years of living on a corner with tons of dogs walking by every day, Oskar still barks at them. We've tried everything short of a shock collar.

    Corbin is extremely well behaved and any adult who would approach a dog like that is responsible for himself.

    Oskar's mom person

  21. We agree with the others - YOU DO NOT stick your hand or any part yourself into someone elses yard that has dogs in it. Dogs are territorial - that is perfectly natural to them so of coarse they are going to protect not only their yard but the peeps and other dogs in it. Did hubby think that maybe Corbin was protecting him? The real issue is - did Corbin stop when told too...did the hubby to sit/wait??? That is the only thing you have to address in terms of his behavior ....actually barking at a stranger is not a bad behavior - it is protection.

  22. We are with the Momma 100%. What a twit.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  23. Dogs are teritorial by nature and will guard there property and owner. What an idiot reaching over the fence a lot of dogs would have had his hand off. Being a dog owner he should of known better, if he had been a burglar you would be made up if Corbin disturbed him. In Corbin's eyes he was just doing his job.


  24. This reminds me of when I was in our front yard training Mango on leash and a guy pulled up and got out of his car and started to climb over our stone wall. I had to yell at him several times to stop and he got all huffy. Luckily, Mango didn't got mental fits, but he did to totally stiff and had "the look."

    I think having a dog who will ward off trespassers is fine, but you do need to be able to get him to stand down when asked. Mango was big on charging the fence whenever a neighbor was mowing the lawn or pushing a wheelbarrow. I did work with him on recalls away from the fence so that I had some control over the duration of his fierceness.

    I wouldn't try to train the guard dog out of Corbin (I doubt you could), but I would work on trying to have a "stand down" command. When Dex goes big dog when a stranger approaches out house, I praise him and then tell him "ok, I have it."

    Mango Momma

  25. I don't think Corbin did anything wrong. As soon as that guy leaned over the fence he really made the mistake. He should have waited for Adam to tell Corbin he was ok. That's how strangers approaching the house really should be handled. If the dogs aren't outside alone, Corbin should totally bark if a stranger approaches the yard. He should really only stop when given a command by you or Adam. Maybe you could work on that kind of training. You want him to bark and be a little reactive (dogs are protective of us and thats a good thing), you just need to train him to respond to your instructions when it's ok to stop barking.

    I'm wondering if Adam's biggest concern was that Corbin might be aggressive towards someone by accident or that Corbin wasn't listening / responding to him.

  26. I'm with Corbin on this one. A fence is a fence and it means this is mine...you only come in or over if I say. If Adam said to the guy (and Corbin) that it was okay for the guy to be there and Corbin didn't listen, then that's a different thing, but if the guy gave himself permission...oops, you get what you asked for and you should accept it gracefully, which it seems like the guy did. Great post. I love pups and often have to remind myself of the proper way to approach and meet a dog. There have been a few times I've forgotten and the pup has let me off the hook with a growl, but if they had nailed me, I would have only had myself to blame.

  27. Man's fault!
    Take care
    Kisses and hugs

  28. I think the guy took a big chance reaching into a yard of a dog that he doesn't know.
    We have had a new neighbor, stand on a bucket of all things, and look over our new 6' wood fence into our yard. We've got dog that can jump up almost to top of the fence and she was not happy about this stranger looking in to "her" yard.She didn't nail him, but it was luck more than anything. He was "looking for his escaped" dog, there was no way his dog could have gotten into our yard.

    I don't mind ours making noise at a stranger outside, especially if I'm home alone. I've had some odd experiences with door to door salesmen, it's amazing what a growling, loud dog does to discourage them.
    I don't think I would discourage Corbin and Amelia from barking, but good recall and ability to back off when told too is a huge plus, ours are a work in progress.

  29. We are with you - why was that guy there? Although, it is easier to blame the dog than the person. It might be good to teach the kids not to jump up - just to protect them if a future trespasser gets snarky.


  30. You should take a look-see at my momma's Facebark page today for Brudder Ranger being all, "GRRRRR!!! GRRRRR!!! I WILL KEEL YOU!" to the UPS man who came up on our porch. The thing is, one of the reasons you humans decided you needed us doggies around was to alert you to strangers coming up to the cave and stuff. It's just kind of in our nature to pawtect the territory, you know? I think it's prolly a good idea to maybe teach Corbin some sort of "safety word," to let him know that everything's A-OK with you and to back off. But nobuddy should be upset with Corbin for doing something that just comes naturally to (most of) us doggies.

    Plus, that other guy was a dummy.

    Wiggles & Wags,

  31. There is a thing called "intentional disobedience" which means that in a dangerous situation (and you know dogs know the difference) all the training and commands in the world are not going to stop him from protecting you. So I say go ahead, work with him to curb the behavior knowing it won't matter when Corbin needs to be there for you.

    Shawnee's Mom's Opinion (approved by Shawnee)

  32. You haz a lot of advices here my pal so I dussnt add to em cos I do be a small dog and I lives in a diffrunt country so what do I be knowin about it....owever, i say i fink you done nuffin wrong and the dud has hiself to blame...

  33. It's the guy's fault. It's your property and he shouldn't have walked up to strange dogs. He owns a dog, yet he doesn't know the basics of approaching a strange dog - especially a barking, excited dog!

  34. I think Corbin should be allowed to protect his property. Our two do that all the time. The guy was ok with it and hopefully realised he'd been pretty stupid with his actions. We think the advice from some about having a recall from you or hubby saying "I've got it" or "he's a friend" is a great idea. Don't be too hard on Studly. He's done what thousands of other dogs would have done. We can only keep on training and doing our best. No worries, and love, Carol

  35. I'm with all of the above comments. We live in the country, have an invisible fence and my dog lets me know that someone is at the end of the driveway. Once I 'approve' the visitor, my dog lets it go though she does sniff the person and then tries to get a pet or two.