For one, it's getting cold already. We have frost advisories this week. The leaves are falling now, and starting to blow around (which Elka loves to chase; it's very adorable).
It also means that the college students have moved back in. There are two colleges in my town; the one that I went to, and a state school. As a result, there are many student rentals around, including many of our neighbors. Which means many people outside at all times of the night, and many car doors slamming. After a nice quiet summer, Elka does not approve of these things.
When Elka hears a car door slam, or people outside, she lets me know, which is nice. It's less nice if, after I acknowledge the fact, she doesn't then go back to whatever she was doing, which didn't include pacing around and groaning, with a mohawk down her back. At least she's stopped barking while I'm in the bathroom; that was a fun new trick.
But anyway, I obviously don't want people messing around in my yard or around my house, and a single big bark from a Doberman is a nice deterrent. At that point, I have a look, say "Thank you, enough" to Elka, and go back to what I'm doing. As you can imagine, "enough" means, in fact, "enough". I heard you, I don't want to hear any more, situation dealt with. Sticking to that formula, every time, has worked, and Elka is able to settle down very quickly after an "alert" situation.
Consistency was important here. Whenever I varied the language, said things like "leave it" without looking, that kind of thing, Elka wasn't having it. Something could be Happening, and I wasn't taking things seriously. Now, she seems convinced of my seriousness in these situations, which is what I want. It isn't up to the dog to call the shots; it's the human's responsibility. It's especially important for your dog to understand that if they aren't, say, protection trained or area protection trained. What on earth would Elka do if somebody broke in? I don't know, and I'm sure she doesn't either, and that can be worrying for her, I'm sure.
Well, as much as dogs worry. That's why it's important for her to realize that her people call the shots, and the only decision making she tends to make are fun decisions, in training. Which hand is the treat in? What should you do to get the click (if we're having a free-shaping clicker session). We aren't doing any type of training that includes the question "which person is the bad guy?" That's not up to her, though I certainly welcome her opinion.