Pet forum for dogs cats and humans -

Pet forum for dogs cats and humans - (
-   Dog training - dog behavior (
-   -   My puppy hates strangers (and probably my sister) (

Shindee May 3rd, 2012 11:43 PM

My puppy hates strangers (and probably my sister)
I recently joined the boards in hopes that you guys could give me some advice. :fingerscr

I have a 9-month-old male Shih Tzu puppy named Chavo. My family & I got him when he was 2-months-old last October. When Winter came, we got hit hard so we made the mistake of just letting him roam in our backyard to do his business instead of taking him out for a walk. He took to barking at strangers and has now gotten to the point where he growls at them and sometimes tries to bite. He has tried to bite a few of my relatives since they're pretty much strangers to him. From what I have seen, they don't seem to be actual bites because they don't leaves marks, so it's like he didn't clamp on.

Recently, my 16-year-old sister had her friend over at our house and he was doing his usual barking and growling and tried to bite her. As I always do when he gets like this, I said "No!" then got him to sit. She was kneeling and offered her hand for him to sniff and he did. After a bit, she started to pet him and he didn't bark, growl, or try to bite her and my sister & I praised him. Then he started his barking again and then repeated the sniffing and allowing her to pet him followed by his barking again...and so on and so forth. We thought this might have meant that he was getting better with strangers. =/

Are my sister & I going about this the right way? We try not to let him go near strangers because we're afraid that he might actually bite them, but we do the "No!" and getting him to sit when they walk by us on walks.
We were thinking of enrolling him into a puppy class because he only knows "sit" and not 100%. We figured the classes would also help socialize him with different dogs and people. He seems to be fine with dogs except when he's not able to go and smell them. (This one time, we didn't let Chavo go near a Great Dane and her owner because the owner's little girl was there too and he started barking like mad and made the Great Dane cry)

I feel awful because I know I let him down by not socializing him properly.
I really want to help him overcome this.

Edit: Also, I have a 9-year-old sister that bugs him a lot. He has bitten her a few times because of this. Any advice on getting a child to stop bothering the dog? Or how to get him to stop? Or should she stop him herself?

I apologize for the vast amount of text! :sorry:

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Goldfields May 4th, 2012 02:21 AM

Shindee, there are many people here who will give you good advice, the only thing I will say is if he is being a problem with your sister, allow your sister to be the one to feed him. They are often more kindly disposed to the person who feeds them.

DobeOwnrX2 May 4th, 2012 08:10 AM

Welcome to the board. I came here for advice aswell. Do not be hard on yourself, you can socailize a dog at any age (it may take a little more time). I would have to suggest that instead of making the dog sit (you have the right idea) I would put the dog into a submissive position when you see any amount of agression.
I am sorry to have to come to this conclusion but your little sister needs a tunning in. This was a huge red flag, if your sister teases this dog for the satisfaction of the dogs reaction, then the dog is taking out this frusteration on strangers. Even a Shih Tzu can cause serious injury or disfigurement to a child.
Aggression needs to be nipped in the butt. By having the dog sit you are essentially reseting the record by rewarding a good behavior, and thinking it discourages this aggression. Rewarding aggression is a slippery slope.
Follow you instincts, enroll in a puppy training class, and let the trainer know your concerns, this problem should be a priority before any others.

Goldfields May 4th, 2012 12:38 PM

Just in case you didn't understand, DobeOwnrX2, I meant the main feed of the day should be given by that child, not titbits or rewards. We had a problem cattle dog here who would not accept my husband and I just let him take over and I kept right out of it until the dog accepted his attention. Chavo could be picking up on Shindee's annoyance with her sister, and acting on it.

BenMax May 4th, 2012 01:05 PM

Brutal truth? Yes be hard on yourself....for letting a child bug the dog. The child has more of a mental capacity to understand that her behaviour is unacceptable. Lucky for her this is a small dog and not a big one that could easy damage her little face. Honestly - this is a human issue that has escalated now in having to teach the dog that biting is unacceptable. What were you thinking letting this happen? I say education to the child and discipline the adults around this dog which is instilling fear-like behaviour. What else is he suppose to defend himself with?

As for teaching him to be more socialized, you are on the right path by taking him out on walks and mentally stimulating him with positive things such as new smells, places and situations. This is key.
Also - going to puppy classes is an excellent idea and you will gain great tips on learning to correct the behaviour, how to divert the behaviour, reading body language and also how to interact socially with your dog. Great plan.

Just get that kid situation in control and you will see such a difference in your dog. Good luck.

DobeOwnrX2 May 4th, 2012 01:49 PM

I understood clearly what you meant. Yes allowing the child to control the feeding is a good idea. However if this is the same child teasing the Shih Tzu I would be very cautious. This dog has a preconception of the kind of behavior to expect from this child. Allowing this child to feed the dog is a great idea; after you teach the child to respect the animal. Feeding is an excellent plan for bonding, but not for repairing a relationship. Please re-read my post Goldfields I think you may have taken offence to something in my post but I meant none. I was suggesting that rewarding the agression was a slippery ,your idea is a practical and effective tool (feeding the dog to bond with it)

ownedbycats May 5th, 2012 12:51 PM

If the child is teasing the dog, maybe she needs to learn to play with him appropriately. Can you teach them to play fetch together, or some other game the dog likes and won't be scared or annoyed by?
Does the dog like to be brushed? Could you teach her to gently groom him, brushing him out?

Shindee May 6th, 2012 10:26 PM

Thank you to everyone for your advice!

We start puppy classes tomorrow! We already met with the trainer and he is confident that we can help him get out of this.
I don' think my little sister understood how serious the consequences of her actions were, but I think now she does. Hopefully now she will not disobey us when we tell her to stop...or more like, hopefully she won't bother him at all.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:29 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.