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out of the blue aggression

June 30th, 2008, 03:25 PM
Sorry in advance this is sooo long: :o

I've had my 7 month old dachshund, Zoe, for two months. There's been a bit of nipping but nothing crazy and now less and less, and never snappy with strange people just a couple of dogs and growly if my kids over maul her. She obeys me quite well, and generally stops growling or barking as soon as I correct her ('leave it', 'that's enough', or 'close it' if she's starting to use her teeth).

A couple of nights ago I was waiting in front of a video store (not right by the door) with her while my daughter was inside. Zoe was on leash, and barked at two men, calmed down when I told her to. Not intense barking, either. Then a man walked right by her, she was lying down completely calm and she didn't even blink. Then an elderly woman walked by in a sari. The woman was halfway past Zoe, and Zoe jumped up and totally lost it. Not just barking, but snarling and snapping and lunging, utterly ballistic. And she wouldn't calm down for a good while. Even after I picked her up she was still trying to dive over my shoulder to try to get at the woman (but not trying to hurt me in any way.) The woman was sweet, tiny, and unassuming, and she didn't even look at or acknowledge the dog when she walked by.

My nine year old son said Zoe was barking at an elderly lady in a sari a few weeks ago (but he forgot to mention it at the time.)

So pop dog analysis might assume that Zoe has had some reason to develop fear aggression against older women wearing saris (maybe abused at her previous home?). Be that as it may, what do I do now? If I hadn't had Zoe on a short leash, I'll bet we'd be dealing with a lawsuit right now, it was that bad. The people were just this side of suing as it was.

So for now avoid women in saris. Geez, and children of any sort just in case? I'm not impressed with having a dog that has one tiny screw loose, and no warning signs either (I was looking right at Zoe, she went from tongue lolling zero to full on sixty in a second). We've thought of wearing saris and floppy slides around the house to acclimate her (I remember my cat went primal growling nuts when I wore wolf ears at halloween one year). I don't know if that would be much help, though.

The sari wearing population in our city is pretty high, in some neighbourhoods more than others, but we don't generally run into any saris on our regular morning/evening walk routes. Ethically how can I socialize my dog to elderly women in saris and still keep everybody safe and happy?

Otherwise, Zoe is happy and healthy and smart.

June 30th, 2008, 05:51 PM
Pups go through periods where different things startle or scare them. Hopefully she'll grow out of it, but you could ask for help from a trainer to see if there's anything you can do to help it along.


July 21st, 2008, 05:11 PM
You seem to have a good plan, possum : )

It's possible something unfortunate may have happened with a woman wearing a sari in the past, or it may just be a random spook as it grows up. The important thing is to socialize it and be firm when such things happen.

good luck ! :thumbs up

July 21st, 2008, 05:21 PM
wearing the hats in the house does sound like an awfully good idea.

give that a shot for sure.

July 31st, 2008, 08:35 AM
My big dog had issues with any type of hat and would sit as far from them as possible and bark and growl. We let her sniff everything that makes her do that and it seems to curb it. She's alright with the hat thing now but, any new object that enters her viewpoint she needs to investigate or else she drives you nuts. Maybe you should get a sari just to get the dog use to seeing them. It might be the dog will grow out of it but, familiarizing her with that particular object may help too.

August 4th, 2008, 07:59 AM
This is an interesting one. I have nothing against saris BTW and I do not believe that a woman wearing a sari is the issue.

I have a little excercise for you if you wish to try it.

Have someone that is not familiar with the dog to wear anything that is flowy and airy. Have the person walk past you and your dog in the same manner as this woman. Watch the behaviour and let me know what happens.

Based on the response, we can try something else or we will know what is causing the behaviour. There is an excercise that can be done to stop this from happening. I can share this with you once you let me know what happened with the excercise above.