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 Post subject: Protective of his people
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:02 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2014 5:41 am
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Location: North Shore, MA
Happy Holidays, everyone! It is about 65 degrees here in Massachusetts...just not festive!
Looking for some advice and suggestions for our little Sperry puppy. He is 16 months now, a total love and ham. He plays well with other dogs, but seems to be increasingly protective of his people (my immediate family, Eric's immediate family, our dog walker, etc). This development is recent within the past month or so, and he is now barking at people when we are out on walks/the guys working in front of the house, etc. After Thanksgiving, we know he does not do well with a lot of people he doesn't know, mostly because I think he is scared. I am nervous that even after someone tries to let him smell them, that he will still nip at their hand. What suggestions can anyone offer?

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 Post subject: Re: Protective of his people
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 12:05 pm 
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You might try having "strangers" pitch him little bits of yummy food that he doesn't normally get (chicken? hot dog? something along those lines) so that he knows that good things come from people. Or, if you're comfortable enough, having them offer it by hand, but I wouldn't force that - only if you think he wouldn't nip. I did this with my 5 y/o cocker when I first got her and it worked like a charm. I just carried treats and asked neighbors to either pitch them or hand them to her (depending on how many times we've seen the person). Of course, every time she sees them now she expects a treat and a lot of attention, but they don't mind.

You can also try to take him places with you and just let him experience people and things outside of the home.

Has he been through obedience training? Sometimes a reinforcement of that training will help a nervous pup to feel more confident, too.

There are also some books, but I can't bring the names of them to mind right now, that deal with fearful dogs and someone will come along who has a better memory than I.

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Waylon (non-cocker, terrorist) 2/1/01 -

Shiloh - 4/5/95 - 5/23/11 RIP, sweet girl


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 Post subject: Re: Protective of his people
PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2015 12:36 pm 
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Yes, he is nervous and not sure what to do. Cici was the same way and still is to a certain extent, but she has improved tremendously. She was never socialized properly and spent several years in a shelter - my point being if she can learn at her age then Sperry can too.

We met with a trainer and his advice for us was that because she was basically trying to cover up the fact that she was scared by being bullish (she is protective too, but in most situations, it's actually just fear), we should show that we are in control and here to protect her.

Her tendency was to go to the door FIRST and be aggressive with strangers or be nippy when they were leaving. We did a doorbell exercise where she was taught "Go to your spot" very calmly when the doorbell rang. She is NOT allowed to go to the door ever when the bell rings or someone knocks. She barks, but that's fine. We let people in, have them sit down. She stays in her spot in a corner of the room. All the while, we are supposed to watch her with the corner of our eyes and not permit her to come to the visitor unless we say so.

After 10 mins or so, she has calmed down. We call her over, have the visitor give her some food, and she's good. When they are leaving, we keep watch on her just in case to make sure she is not nervous about the movement.

Basically, the trainer taught us to take charge and make her listen to us. Well, she still needs some obedience work :gig , but she's quick to learn and is getting there. Good luck to you and Sperry :th-up

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Cici - 8 years old (Gotcha Dec 14, 2013)
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