Pets
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Puppy Behavior

Hi All,

 We have an 8 month old cattle dog mix that we got when he was 8 weeks old.  We had to put down our 13 year old husky mix in November (this dog never had any behavioral problems & loved everyone).

It seems we have not done as good of a job at socializing the puppy with people as we had thought..  He is VERY good with people he knows and trusts- friendly greeting, kisses, etc.  He is not good with strangers and even people he has seen on a number of occasions (like my friend who lives out of state and has seen him probably six times).  If my friend comes to visit, she cannot move without being barked or growled at. His hair stands up on his back.

We've started taking him to places like Petsmart where he can sniff and interact with other dogs and their people.  He behaves mostly like a normal dog when we're there & looks forward to his "trips".

He is not aggressive & does not want to do harm, but I'm concerned that we won't be able to have people over unless we get this behavior under control.

I am looking for any positive suggestions, please.  We do not have the money for expensive training at the current time (big vet bill last week).

Thank you!

 

 

Re: Puppy Behavior

  • You may find this book helpful.  It talks about a step-by-step process for helping your dog overcome his fears. One of the most important things I learned from it is to not force your dog into situations he isn't ready for because the more he practices the fearful behavior (barking, growling, etc.), the more ingrained it can become.  You need to start with a situation that elicits no reaction and reward/praise him for not being fearful in that situation and then very gradually move up to more and more "scary" situations, backtracking where necessary if he shows the fear response.

     I also like this book on resource guarding.  It sounds like your dog is having more of a fear response, but he could be guarding you/your home as well (since it sounds like he doesn't perform this behavior when outside the house).  It's a similar set-up to the book above.

    I understand that professional training can be expensive, but if you find that you can't rehabilitate this behavior on your own, I would suggest looking into a behaviorist (not a trainer). Even just a few sessions with a behaviorist can help you see cues your dog is giving that you may have missed before. You don't need to turn to a behaviorist as a first option, but it's definitely something to keep in mind if the situation doesn't get better, particularly because fear can eventually lead to aggression (not saying it will or always does, but this is something to be aware of), particularly if the dog finds himself in a scary situation with no means of escape.

    Good luck!

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  • The cattle dog and any herding breed will be very protective of the place where they live which explains why your dog is not this way outside of the home, a way to remedy this is when you are expecting company to put your pup inside a dog crate one big enought for him/her to stand up and turn around in and cover it with a towel or blanket.  you MUST do this before the guest enters the home or it will not help.  What you do about 15 minutes after the guest has entered the home you let your pup out to see the person.  Most likely what is triggering his aggression is seeing the person enter "his/her" territory.  If you take away the part of him seeing the person enter it should fix this problem.  I hope this helps.
    Abraswell
  • We were told that when strangers come over to hold our dog and pet her and reassure her that it's okay. Apparently that behavior is meant to be protective and if you train them to trust more and reassure them that you are okay they may settle down.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • image DavidStamps:
    We were told that when strangers come over to hold our dog and pet her and reassure her that it's okay. Apparently that behavior is meant to be protective and if you train them to trust more and reassure them that you are okay they may settle down.

    I would disagree with this advice. If you coddle the behavior then it teaches the dog that it is okay to act aggressive. If you have strangers come into your house, you should meet them outside with the dog on neutral territory. Some dogs are just not comfortable with people they don't know coming into their space. A lot of people are very confrontational and greet dogs face to face, go to pet them, show their teeth and make eye contact. All of these things are NOT NORMAL greeting behaviors for dogs. They greet from behind, no eye contact and no teeth. A lot of people don't realize they are doing it wrong and make dogs feel uncomfortable.

    I would actually recommend hiring a dog behaviorist to tackle some of these issues with you in your environment before they get worse.  

  • I have a cattle dog and he is very protective of our house so does a friend of mine. She puts treats by the door and has her guest offer him a treat when they enter. My cattle dog LOVES fetch so we ask people to throw his ball when they come in the house. It redirects his energy and takes the attention off the guest. After a few throws he sees they are "safe".  
    [IMG]http://i1043.photobucket.com/albums/b439/agirlintheforest/tyson021-1.jpg[/IMG]
  • Beautiful dog!!! :)

    image new2newengland:
    I have a cattle dog and he is very protective of our house so does a friend of mine. She puts treats by the door and has her guest offer him a treat when they enter. My cattle dog LOVES fetch so we ask people to throw his ball when they come in the house. It redirects his energy and takes the attention off the guest. After a few throws he sees they are "safe".  
  • image new2newengland:
    I have a cattle dog and he is very protective of our house so does a friend of mine. She puts treats by the door and has her guest offer him a treat when they enter. My cattle dog LOVES fetch so we ask people to throw his ball when they come in the house. It redirects his energy and takes the attention off the guest. After a few throws he sees they are "safe".  

    This.  Your pup is just stressed about strangers in his home.  Tell guests to ignore him.  Don't approach him, don't talk to him, don't hover,don't make eye contact.  Give the guest a handful of high value treats.  If the pup approaches them, they can hand him a treat.  Repeat until puppy likes people. 

    Strangers = yummy treats. 

    image
    Have you seen my monkey?
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