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February 9th, 2007, 08:24 PM
I am a 27 yr old female that has moved home temporarily. I have been here a month. There is a 4 yr old black, german sheppard/Collie mix. And there is a 1 yr old male dog that is a German sheppard, australian sheppard and possibly Chow mix. Other times that I have visited/stayed, the female (Brindy) was TERRIFIED of me, now she is perfectly fine with me. This happened right after the puppy came.
Now to the issue: The male (Foster) is RIDICULOUSLY protective of my mom and her bf (of 20 yr, not a fling thing) I will walk up or down the stairs and he follows me, sometimes sniffing or just to make sure that i go up/down. It is almost like he is herding me. If I go near my mom or her bf (one is usually up while the other is downstairs), Foster will go wherever I am to sit btwn me and one of them.
He has even come once and nipped my bottom. and if one of them holds him in their lap and have me pet Foster, it is like I am committing some painful torture on him. He cowers from me like I am going to beat him senseless. Then, as soon as they loosen their grip, he darts away like he could not escape quick enough.
Then there is the whole barking thing! In order to protect him also, he barks like crazy and growls when I come near. When neither of them are home, he hides in their walk-in closet. But as soon as one of them is near, he bolts to their side, whoever I am nearest to.
And let me just say-
I have never hurt this dog in any way or even scared him. I have attempted to pet him, spoke cheerily to him and otherwise just plain ol' nice to him!

What do I do to make this dog not treat me as a deadly terrorist?:frustrated:

February 9th, 2007, 09:12 PM
He does not regard you as a member of the pack - you are still an untrustworthy intruder in his mind.

Time to show him that you are a trustworthy leader. This means that all the cajoling and loving isn't necessarily enough for him to regard you as family.

You should hook up (put him on the leash) and start to engage him in a relationship based on you leading him in to play, games, drills & skills. The more things you ask of him and the more he cooperates with you the better leader you become and the stronger pack member status you have.

It would be good for you to feed him and for him to sleep in your room. You should become his caretaker.

Your family needs to stop protecting him from you. They should ignore him when he goes to them for security and show him that you are welcome in the pack. Physically interacting with you in a happy and positive manner (hugs, hand shaking, touching) shows him they trust you and that will help give him confidence as well.

February 10th, 2007, 03:48 PM
ok here is the issue with those ideas.
The persons in the house do not interact much. I do with my mom more. This would be sitting and talking to her. The dogs get fed usually by food in a ball that they roll around, or by kongs (another dog toy) and the food is out at all times (and they barely eat it and are not fat)

He sleeps in their room, will not come into my room. He does seem curious about me though, scoping into my room and sniffing me when they are around.
They don't really protect him, he protects them more from me. I tried getting him outside, but to no avail.

February 10th, 2007, 06:30 PM
All of which is taken care of if you attach him to the leash and to yourself. You become the leader, teacher, pal and he becomes a follower, student, pal. You create a relationship by spending time with him and engaging him.

Imagine if your mom and her BF had a teenager that you didn't know very well and he didn't seem comfortable with you no matter how many gifts you gave him or how sweet you were to him, he still considered you an intruder. The advise I would give you is to start spending time with him, do things he likes, take him to his favorite burger joints and buy him lunch. Interact and engage him. Become his pal and big sister.

Thats really all that needs to happen.

February 10th, 2007, 06:50 PM
It would be good for you to feed him and for him to sleep in your room. You should become his caretaker.

To add to this, free feeding or feeding via treat balls is something I would suggest stopping immediately, as it gives the dog control (he eats on his terms). Like tenderfoot said, it would be good if you could feed him. This means getting him to watch you prepare the meal (so he knows it comes from you), before offering it as well.

Put the food in his bowl, and set it on the floor. Tell him to take it (assuming he'll wait for you to give him permission), and walk away. Any food left in the bowl after half an hour gets taken away (I'd normally give 10-15 minutes, but let's give this dog a little longer). Repeat with dinner. Prep food. Put bowl down. Walk away. Pick up after 30 minutes.

Tenderfoot's the expert here, so hopefully he'll add to this (or clarify for me), regarding attaching the leash. Is the dog really afraid of you, or is he being protective (or alpha) over the other family members? Just throwing a leash on a dog who doesn't trust you (or is being protective), might not be the best of ways to jump into this situation. I would recommend doing nothing more than providing the food for the first day (or two) before saying to the dog "hey, follow me", when he might not be ready. But on the other hand, the leash just might be what the dog needs. And if you can take the dog out for a walk (no training, no major corrections... just a nice calm fun walk outside), that would be even better. Walking with the family would work too (power of the pack).

Bonding with the dog though (like td said), is a wonderful way to build a foundation for a solid friendship. Does the dog like balls? Maybe get him outside and play a little game of fetch? He might not bring it back to you right away, but if you go out there and look like you're having fun, he just might want to join in. ;)

February 10th, 2007, 06:51 PM
Well there is a slight problem with that now. He walks, but he more pulls whoever is walking him. He takes the leash in his mouth and literally PULLS them. My mom's bf (great shape and muscular) will be "taken" for a walk by Foster and he will do it for 30 min and they both return out of breath and exhausted. We have tried everything to get Foster to be calmer during his travels but to no avail. I am not able to walk pulling him back as much b/c I weigh much less than the bf and I have had 3 knee surgeries. So the walk is pretty much out of the question

February 10th, 2007, 07:09 PM
He won't even go outside with me, only if my mom or her bf go.

He is alpha male in the house definitely, but he is also scared of me. He is left home with me for part of the day, but he hides and I do not want to invade a spot the he feels safe.

I also noticed that he actually nudges my bottom sometimes when I am walking away. And right now when i walked past him, as he low growls at me as I walk up the stairs, he actually nipped me again. It ever so slightly (like just the clothing, no where near the skin)

The smoke alarms just went off a lil bit ago and we all know how loud and high pitched they are. The dogs were terrified and when the female followed me in a different room away from the noise, he wouldn't come. my mum took him in there and we shut the door a bit. after a few moments (not even a min) we opened the door and he could not get out fast enough. I am even talking leaving scratch marks in the rug. He slunk down and bolted.

February 11th, 2007, 05:44 AM
I also noticed that he actually nudges my bottom sometimes when I am walking away. And right now when i walked past him, as he low growls at me as I walk up the stairs, he actually nipped me again. It ever so slightly (like just the clothing, no where near the skin)

ANd what do you do when he does this?

This behaviour is not necessarily alpha behaviour, it can be still be partly fear related as in defensively trying to drive you a away.
He is still a youngster yet but if this behaviour is not nipped in the butt(sorry no pun intended) , he is going to get worse as he matures and learns it works successfully and it won't be nips but bites, and he will be in danger of being put down once that happens

So he needs confidence building and to know the behaviour is not acceptable
Training can help build confidence, starting with some NILIF training (Nothing in Life is Free) this training should be part of his daily life from here on in and get him into obedience classes, this is also very important especially in being able to handle him when on leash, last thing you want is him breaking loose when on leash and attacking someone if he learns he can get away with biting. Right now if nothing is done to correct his behaviour he will end up being one of those dogs who we read about in the news who suddenly snaps and attacks some innocent person on the street and being a big dog he is capable of doing very serious damage. And in the meantime until he is trained and under control when on leash I would highly recommend using a muzzle(cost about $20) to protect yourself from potential liability should he pull loose become overstimulated and attacks someone, if in Ontario that liability is a 50,000 fine and or 3 years in jail dog destroy, are you are responsible for the costs of all damages. One or two training classes till he is fully under control and can walk nicely on leash and the cost of a muzzle is a whole heck of a lot cheaper. The muzzle does not have to be forever just until he is fully under control on leash which means walking at heel and can follow commands even when distracted.

Please take seriously he may not seem that bad now but is just starting to mature and he has already learned to use his teeth on people and as he matures more he will get worse.

If he is not neutered yet, get him done asap it will help to calm him down some

February 11th, 2007, 07:37 PM
This dog is not the alpha - its just that no one else is a leader and he is allowed to get away with what ever he wants to. He is insecure and fearful.

Everyone needs to do him a big favor and start doing some obedience work with him. Everyone needs to get involved and become his wonderful teachers and leaders. He is not happy with the status quo and would be thrilled beyond words if someone would help him understand his place in the world.

Spirit, you are right the free feeding should stop right now.

Putting him on the leash (if done correctly) will usually take care of what ever insecurities he has and push himgently past his fears. A good thing to do. Spending a few mintues with any of these people and realizing they aren't going to hurt him and wow, they can actually be nice and kinda fun! it also takes him out of the flight response (a bad habit of his) and removes the chance to nip someone in the bottom since they will have him right beside them.

It seems that no one has stepped up to the plate for this poor fellow and your presence, Angel, has magnified all that is out of balance in his world.

Please stop making excuses for why he can't be good, and just start working with him and teaching him how to be good.

February 11th, 2007, 09:38 PM
Putting him on the leash (if done correctly) will usually take care of what ever insecurities he has and push himgently past his fears. A good thing to do.

I guess it was the "if done correctly" part that makes me nervous. It's a great suggestion though, for sure! :thumbs up