Daisy, the guard dog!
When Daisy was a puppy I was sooo worried that someone would steal her from my yard. I mean, if you've had a Beagle puppy, you know what I'm talking about. Daisy was probably THE friendliest puppy ever. When people would come over, she would be so happy to see them! When we'd be outside playing and someone would walk into our yard through the front gate, Daisy would be the first one there to greet them, with her tail wagging like crazy!
This worried me because anyone could have walked into our yard and taken her. Could you imagine?? I made sure when I'd leave the house to lock the front gate with my Master Lock X-4000 super titanium power lock!!! Well, not really. It was a master lock and it did the job. I made sure that gate was locked, just in case someone decided to get "wise" and take her! Sometimes I'd be sitting in my front room watching TV, and I'd see little kids walk by and they'd see Daisy behind the gate looking out. Well, Daisy was damn cute and anyone would have stopped just to get a glimpse of the cutest puppy in the Pasadena area. So, another thing that bothered me was the idea of some little kid going up to the gate and opening it, releasing Daisy to the front yard, and worse yet, the street. No way, Jose!
As Daisy grew older I began to figure she knew better about strangers. I wasn't certain though, whether she knew to bark at strangers, rather than play with them. It was almost 2 months ago now, that I finally saw the adult guard dog in Daisy. I know Beagles aren't truly guard dogs, but Daisy finally knew the difference between people she knows, like me, and strangers, which are bad! I think the mail man had a lot to do with it. Daisy began barking every day at the mail man. She'd see him across the street, then he'd cross on over to our side, hit up the neighbors house, then walk across the front gate, towards out front door. The whole time he did this every day, Daisy would be "ARROOOO"ing at him! As he would walk by the gate, she'd hesitantly walk backwards, then bark and growl. To this day she HATES the mail man. If Daisy was inside at the time the mail man would come by, she'd hear the mail box slot being opened and she'd freak out! (aka barking, howling, the whole bit).
After I really noticed that Daisy hated the mail man, I wanted Daisy to get acquainted with him, but when the mail man was asked to meet Daisy, he said he's not allowed to pet dogs or other animals when he's on the clock. Whatever. I couldn't argue with that, so I figured Daisy will hate the mail man. Big deal. Well it did turn into a bigger deal. Daisy thought that every time someone was at the front door, it was the mail man, so she'd freak out. To this day, when she's hears a car door slam on the street, or even the VCR clicking around to rewind a tape, she thinks it's something outside and starts barking. It's something that can really get to you, especially when you are trying to sleep in on a Saturday morning.
My first plan of attack to correct this little problem was to be firm with Daisy by giving her a "NO!" whenever she'd continue barking after a few seconds. I mean, I don't mind her barking at something. I think it's great she does that because it tells me someone's here, or someone's in our yard, but when she barks and barks and barks at absolutely nothing, it makes me crazy and I felt a "NO!" would do the trick, showing her that enough is enough. Well, she'd stop for 5 seconds, then continue. It was a simple problem that has turned into paranoia for Daisy, which in my opinion is not good. Maybe it's part of being a Beagle, but I've never read anything about that in this breed.
Worse turned into worse when we'd have company come over to the house and visit. Daisy would first go crazy at whoever was knocking, then when they'd enter the house, she'd freak out and be very hesitant towards the stranger. I figured she would get used to the person being in the house after a few minutes and get over it, which 50% of the time she did. The other 50% of the time, it was a man that was the visitor. I noticed that she would bark more at men, rather than women. I found this very interesting. When she was a puppy, she wouldn't bark at anyone, including men. She seemed cool with everyone. Now, because of the mail man, I'm guessing, she hates men. I know it sounds funny, but it makes sense in a way. Even when my uncle would come over, she'd freak out at him, even though she'd met him a few times when she was a puppy.
I've read a few articles on how to correct this kind of problem, and one way sounded pretty good. It said to have a friend come over. (One who doesn't come over often and isn't too familiar with your dog). Then have them act like they are coming to visit by ringing the doorbell or knocking, etc. When the "stranger" enters, have them greet your dog, then if the dog comes close enough, to give a doggie treat to the dog as a "peace offering". This sounded like a good idea, but the friends that I have would not take the time and do this for me. Plus the friends I have, Daisy gets along with them fine. My uncle rarely comes over and I'm not going to call him and say, "Hey, do me a favor and help me train my dog not to bark at you." He'd laugh.
What's funny is that Daisy isn't like this when we are out on a walk. I think this all has to do with people in her territory. Just the other day, I was walking with Daisy, and this lady with two other little girls comes up to me and asks if they can pet Daisy. I said "Sure." So they began petting Daisy and she was happier than pie being pet. Daisy is a ham and she loves the attention she gets from people. Even men, she doesn't seem to care about when we are on a walk. A man could walk or bike on by and she'll ignore him. Like I said, I think its all because of the territory she's protecting. Daisy's my guard dog!
Currently, Daisy is the same. She still barks at strangers outside, she barks and strangers that I invite into the house, and she barks at the mail man still. Have I made an effort to correct this problem? Not really, yet. It's hard to plan time to fix the this kind of problem. It's not like I can have different people coming over all time to help me out. I don't wanna bug them. The truth is, it really doesn't bother me anymore. It's not that bad. I can definitely take some advice, if anyone out there has some for me. Send me an email if you have some more info about this kind of thing.
Daisy is my guard dog, period...... well, until I get my German Shepard! :)
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