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Post Info TOPIC: Advice on Handling an Aggressive Dog?


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Advice on Handling an Aggressive Dog?


My cute little Toto the Xoloitzcuintli is shaping up to be an aggressive dog; he will try to go after, and he will try to bite. It looks like I may have to start walking him with a muzzle to avoid problems. He is particularly bad here, where we have been parked, because I think he has decided it's his "territory", and everyone except me and him, should not be there (including the property owner, and the other renters) He's not so bad out away from here, like at Petco, or the shopping center, because we're on someone else's turf, though I caution people not to try and pet him (although, he does like to get treats!)

The Xoloitzcuintli is a type of "Pariah dog", which are primitive dogs, the types that skulked around the edges of the campfire, and are out digging through garbage today in third world countries. He's a bit like having a little coyote or dingo, clever, loyal, willful, but very skittish (he's afraid of shadows!). His idea of playing is rough puppy play, mouthing and play biting. He has very keen senses (he can go on sensory overload on walks) and likes to listen for mice in rocks and grass, chase birds, and follow scent trails. He will also either try and bolt, or go after, people he doesn't like or other dogs. (People he really doesn't like, he will try and go after. Mentally ill, drug addicts, drunks, and Mexicans. His former family were Mexican, I know some of the neighbors and extended family abused and teased him.)

Anyways, any advice? I am keeping him on a short leash, on a harness, and will start him on a muzzle. I have a crate for him. I'm keeping treats on hand, to reward for good behavior, also a rope toy for when he wants to chew on me, and I am trying to maintain my position as pack leader, without being mean. He has a good heart, and is fairly well behaved inside (except for standing on the table, and trying to steal food off my plate. And thinking the bed is a rough housing playground.) I feel kinda bad, like, everything he likes to do, is "inappropriate" and forbidden. no



-- Edited by Hina on Tuesday 2nd of July 2013 06:41:36 PM

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Unfortunately reading a few training books or getting a few tips online is not going to break the behavior that you describe. I could create a long list of training techniques I have used with my Neopolitan Mastiffs but this goes beyond that IMO. A proffessional trainer is the way to go and they are not that easy to find ( the good ones) much of what a dog picks up on is the temperament of the owner, I am not talking about the obvious behavior of the owner I am referring to the temperament of the owner that often the owner is not even aware of but the dog will easily pick up. Dogs are extremely sensitive to the subtleties of there owners...if you have never worked with a skilled trainer before you will be amazed at how the dog will fall in line, a skilled trainer communicates with the dog on a very different level. The real purpose of a trainer is not to train the dog but to train you, techniques will be taught and most importantly consistency.... An aggressive dog can be a real liability and should not be taken lightly, these challenging dogs are great pets if they are handled properly and with proffessional guidance these problems can be corrected...good luck.

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Ive never heard of this breed so I cannot really speak to the nature of the beast.....but, please be aware, he may be too much for you to handle.  I don't know you, so its not fair to say, but if you cannot be the alpha, you will have a problem.  Things like jumping on the table and trying to eat your food are clear signs, he has no respect for you as the alpha.

I have German Shepherds.  They know my fiancé is absolutely the alpha male. I am the alpha female. They do not test us. Ever.  But our dogs have been socialized since day one, are not threatened by other dogs or strangers. Now, if a stranger came into the RV or towards us in an aggressive fashion, well, it'd be on.  But people walking by, even with dogs, pose no threat and get no reaction.

You need to find a trainer. Now.  Living in a campground and walking your dog with a muzzle is just not enough, Im sorry to say.  You need to find a good trainer that will work with you both and analyze this situation.  Find a trainer that specializes in Shepherds, Malinois, big, possibly aggressive dogs..........not poodles.

I wish you the best with your beloved little pup, but you need to deal with this issue immediately.

 

Best of luck!



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Gene is right that a few comments won't correct the problem but here's my guess....
Your pup may be an Alpha male, leader of his pack, protector of his pride, LEADER of his people. Basically what you have to do is establish yourself as the Alpha leader. Don't let him dominant you. You ahve to be the one in charge all the time, walk him on your schedule ( close to his but make him wait, but before accidents), no treats but on your liking of his behavior. Just because he came to you on command doesn't always mean a tasty treat, maybe a good scratch instead. YOU have to be the one in charge, (kinda like a cat).

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In the meantime.......( a few more thoughts)....

A thinking dog is a tired dog.  Get him a Kong and put some treats or peanut butter in it. Get him some thinking toys that require work. 

Does he understand basic commands? Sit, down, heel, stay?  Work on those, just a few minutes at a time, with tons of praise and treats.  Make him think.  Thinking will distract him.

As far as being mouthy, we encourage it with the Shepherds only because we do not want Protection Trained dogs to think that biting is bad.  They mouth gently, but we do allow it, for a reason.

Being on the bed.  Ive had dogs sleep in my bed with me....but not aggressive dogs. A dog on a bed thinks he is bigger than life. Just a thought.

If I think of anything else helpful, Ill be back. Good luck!



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Me again.. (oops)

Do some research on alpha dog behavior.  That's you.

Alpha dog eats first. always.

Alpha dog goes in and out doors and through gates first. always.

Little things like these will make him realize you are the alpha,  But do the research.....!

Going to bed now. lol



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I've only had him 3 weeks, and he's 9 months old, so I think I am working on undoing some stuff, and also working on basics. I am planning on hitting the road next week, but have thought of getting some training once we get to where we're going. I should probably start researching trainers now. Also, as Gene says, picking up stuff from me, I need to start experimenting with attitudes. But this breed has a reputation for testing, and also clever "negative training" like, if I do this, then she will say that, and if I do it, I get a treat, so I'll make her say that... I have been working on basic training, he's got sit, jump up and get down. But getting rid of him when I'm eating, wow.

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Jane,

This is scary stuff. This dog may be adorable but he's had nine months of this behavior and abused. Gene is right, you need a professional trainer ASAP. I know from reading your posts that you're a responsible woman but this is VERY serious behavior and I'm hoping for your sake that you keep him under total control until this dog gets some training. We're dog lovers but would not risk that type of aggressive behavior, sorry.

Sherry

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the biggest thing that I was taught having a guide/service dog is as it was pointed out.....the dog must learn that I am the alpha and the dog is to concentrate on me only...

when walking Nikki walks in a heel mode. during walking exercises I speed up and slow down and the dog is required to pace me and she will look at me each time I change the pace looking for kibble......when I stop she will stop and sit on my left...each time she does it correctly she gets kibble , but each time I cut down on the kibble and add more praise.

as far as being protective the 4 foot rule applies the dog has been trained that anyone to close she will just look at me if she sees fear in me she will react....but if I say me she will continue on like your not there

also as you walk either get a clicker or a slight pull on the leash and say the dogs name to get its attention on you ......no and stop are commands not corrections

I wish you where out this way,there are 2 schools I use here alot with Nikki I could bring you along just to watch and get pointers from these guys they are great at training

they do some amazing things with animals........Nikki has literally saved my life twice since Ive had her..(tried kissing her on the nose but she wouldnt turn into a princess)

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I agree that professional advice is needed.  Here's a link to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.  http://www.apdt.com/petowners/ts/

I'd look for an APDT trainer, rather than someone who says they train dogs but don't have any formal training themselves, or who use harsh methods that aren't appropriate.

If there's no APDT trainers in your area, check with the local Humane Society to see if they have referrals to a qualified trainer. 



-- Edited by Cindy T on Wednesday 3rd of July 2013 06:03:04 AM

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I think you've said on another thread, but I can't remember, is your pup neutered? Definitely find a good trainer and work on obedience as others have said. Training gives them a job and reinforces the idea that you are the alpha and give the commands.

I have a theory, and that is large breed owners are more responsible than small breed owners like your pups PO's. My Great Danes are well behaved, all four feet stay on the ground, they absolutely will not put teeth on skin, they don't counter surf (something they can do flat-footed) and they leave the kitchen when ever there is food around without being told to. I did have to get rid of the ice-through-the-door fridge though after they discovered they could help themselves to ice cubes when I wasn't home. It didn't take 9 Danes long to empty the ice bin and it leaves quite a bit of water on the floor. lol

The Yorkie I inherited after my mom died is/was horrible. He spent his entire life (7 or 8 years) with my mom being the alpha dog. I asked her several times why she tolerated his behavior, she and dad had always had Boxers before that and they were corrected if they were acting unacceptably. Her reply? "He's so little, he couldn't really hurt anybody". *eye roll* Google small dog syndrome, Archie was the poster child for it lol

During the year and a half of her battle with cancer both my sister and my brother tried to take Archie, both returned him to mom after a month or so due to the behavior problems. After she died and I took him home with me we started serious retraining. He was no longer (and still isn't) allowed on furniture, since in his mind height=dominance. For the first month or so he had a very light 6' lead on his collar at all times so he COULD be removed from furniture or from the car without having to throw a towel over him to keep from getting bit. His 24/7 free access to food was changed to a twice a day feeding schedule since I feed raw. He learned to walk on a loose 6' lead beside me, not dragging me along on the retractable thing mom had used. He learned that jumping on people to be petted was not allowed, and that shoving his toys at me didn't get him any playtime, crawling into my lap didn't get him petted, those things happen when I invite him to play or be petted. Basically a NILIF program.

 

edited to add: A quick Google came up with this on NILIF, a fairly good overview of the program

http://www.cairnrescue.com/docs/NILIF.htm

He has become a MUCH better dog, although it's still a work in progress. He still will try to jump on visitors demanding their attention if he senses that they won't reprimand him, and he is seriously the most neurotic dog I've ever met. But at least I don't worry about him biting the grand kids any more.

Funny story: Mom used to feed the neurosis by tapping on the baseboard heat radiator with a yardstick and asking if Mickey Mouse was under there. "Where's that Micky Mouse? You get him, Archie, you get him". Archie seriously dug a hole in the carpet clawing to get the imaginary mouse. After he came to live with me in the 100+ year old farmhouse, one evening I thought I saw a mouse in the music room. So I said Where's Micky Mouse? I could hear Archie in the other room trotting around and crawling behind the couch. After a few minutes he came slinking back into the living room, and I could see a tail hanging out of his mouth. Archie finally caught that darn Mickey! LOL



-- Edited by nightsky on Wednesday 3rd of July 2013 12:15:36 PM

Edit by moderator: Activated link.  Terry



-- Edited by Terry and Jo on Wednesday 3rd of July 2013 03:33:31 PM

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Also, check with veterinarians in your area. They can tell you who to trust with training.



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We're moving next week, but I'm looking into dog trainers where we're headed. Thanks Cindy for the link, I'll use it for research. I'm also stepping up my dominance, and will rethink his feeding schedule (make him work for it more) His name was originally Cholo, so that tells us where he came from, and I could tell from interacting with the father and teenage son, the kids thought it was funny to undermine their parents by feeding him at the table and rough housing in the bed, so he got mixed messages (and he liked the kids messages better!).

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Here's a couple of things that might be helpful:

Link to a short article from the Humane Society about dog aggression: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/aggression.html

Here's a FREE resource that you should use - here in Denver we have a hugh shelter called the Denver Dumb Friends League. They have a free service called the Behavior Helpline. This helpline is staffed by trained behavior counselors who can give you advice on your issue.  You don't have to live here to take advantage of this service.  The phone # is 303-751-5772, Ext. 1359 or 1-877-738-0217.  Or you can go to their webpage & fill out their contact form:  http://ddfl.convio.net/site/Survey?SURVEY_ID=1200&ACTION_REQUIRED=URI_ACTION_USER_REQUESTS

While I don't think this will replace working directly & personally with a trainer, the Helpline may be able to give you some ideas on what you can do until you consult with a trainer. 



-- Edited by Cindy T on Wednesday 3rd of July 2013 06:15:55 PM

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Sounds to me like it's time to call Cesar!  no



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I had to laugh....years ago a friend, who was clueless about dogs, got a Yorkie pup and no matter what advice I gave, she could NOT housebreak that dog.  So about a year later they went on vacation, and I volunteered to take the dog and housetrain it in their absence.    It was virtually impossible and very frustrating.....I did it, and it stuck, but trying to housebreak that little f@rt was the most challenging task ever. 

Agree on the neuter.

Glad Archie got the mouse.  ;)

 



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Scrappy, in my experience one of the hardest things about training a toy breed is the darn tiny size... you have to bend WAAAAAAYYYYYY down to touch them, and while you're bending waaayyyyy down they're scampering out of reach! lol Give me a dog that I can set my hand on their back without bending any day! lol

Don't even talk to me about house training, Archie still used "piddle pads" in the house AND in the garage in case it was raining outside. *eye roll* Turns out he is perfectly capable of holding it overnight and he now goes outside like every other dog in the house.

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Toto's been neutered for 3 weeks now, and he's not really a small dog; he's 18" at the shoulder, and weighs almost 30 lbs. When he gets aggressive, he looks scary, not cute. Fortunately, I can easily restrain him.

We went to get new tires today, THERE'S A GUY MESSING WITH OUR HOME! KILL THE MECHANICS! furious LET ME GO MOM! LET GO, I HAVE TO KILL THOSE GUYS! For 2 hours! hmm

I'm taking this very seriously and I'm researching dog trainers in Nevada so when we get there, we can go at it without interruption, and I am exerting my dominance more. We're bonded, he knows I love him and care for him, I didn't get totally strict at first because I didn't want to scare him. The jumping on the table, and begging for food and stuff is coming along, and isn't the real serious issue, it's the fact that I can't walk him out in public without worrying he'll tweak and bite. He's also afraid of his reflection in store windows, which triggers aggression, afraid of traffic, afraid to walk too far away, he's lacking in confidence which triggers aggression.

Yikes! So much on my plate.... quit my day job, trying to get work done online to continue to grow my business and income, getting the RV ready to roll, and planning my escape route from California, and now, taming a Chupacabra!

Compare pics: Alleged Chupacabra

Chupacabra-Seen-In-Frisco-Texas-2.jpg

Xoloitzcuintli (this is a standard sized dog, about 50 lbs. Toto is 30 lbs)

Xoloitzcuintli.jpg

Toto (His floppy ears  and big soulful eyes make him look so cute and innocent!)

toto.jpg

 



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On a hike one day I came across an emaciated pit/lab that rolled on her back showing me her belly....quite submissive......she followed me for my 2 hour hike, and by the time I returned to my car, she was still with me and the temperature was dropping fast....long story short, no one claimed her so I adopted her....33 days later she delivered 12 pups....(thank you very much!!)...with at least 3 sires....ranging from pit to mastiff.  She was aggressive with the pups, and once I had adopted them all out, I put her in lessons......she was aggressive with ALL the other dogs.....she would lunge at dogs that looked at her, growl at dogs that came too close, and bark at anyone that crossed in front of her.  I put her in private lessons.....I hired a pet whisperer, and a behaviorist, got a pinch collar, a gentle leader and then a shock collar.........in tears, I asked the vet to medicate her.......NOTHING worked........I do want to say that the theme that everyone shared though out this was that I HAD to be the ALPHA.......and as Gene said, had to go through doors first, eat first, and command respect. She was VERY respectful of me, but NEVER of anyone else including other dogs. I was asked not to bring her camping, and the day she lunged at a child and dragged me to the ground, was the day that for the first time in my dog ownership years, that I gave up on a dog. She was damaged, and I had found nothing that could fix it despite diligence.

I found her a good home.......after informing the perspective owners of her personality traits and having them sign a document with witnesses that they understood her agression with others.

Moral of the story.........be sure you are not only the ALPHA, but also be sure she will obey and not show her dominance with others......get lessons for her NOW.....(my dog was 3 or 4 years old when I got her.........) don't put off proper training.......

my 2 cents worth.

Carol



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Nightsky, your stories are funny! Carol, Soulsearcher, so sorry that had to be hard to do but I would have done the same. Many dogs can be rehabilitated, some can not. Jane, wishing you the best. Sherry

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Hi Carol, I don't think Toto is that far gone (hopefully) and I am already contacting trainers. I have had two dogs 20-30 years ago that I could not handle, one was a large (50lb) Xolo, same breed as Toto, who seemed to literally have some screws loose, she was mentally ill, not violent, but would not stop barking. Another was an abandoned shepard puppy I found, maybe 4-5 months old, who grew up to be aggressive, though I did nothing to abuse him. He would find ways out of the fence, and the day he had an old man cornered was the day I decided he had to go. (9 months) Rescuing dogs seems noble, and the right thing to do, and in most cases, it is, BUT, there are often good reasons dogs are abandoned or put up for adoption, reasons the previous owners couldn't handle. Thanks Cindy for the phone #'s I'll try them today or tomorrow, and I've already e-mailed 4 trainers. I don't want Toto to make us unwelcome guests, and I am hoping he can make a turn around; sometimes he's not so bad, like at Petco, where's he's let strangers give him treats, and he's not barked at other dogs (though still timid). But he can be unpredictable.

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We love our pet-pals so very much......your dog is beautiful and so healthy looking. At his young age he may REALLY benefit from your training interventions......My Gracie was probably just too old and too damaged by the time I tried with her.....I wish you well with Toto.  Please keep us all posted on your progress. I can't wait to hear about the happy ending!

Carol



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Yes, he's a looker, quite the handsome boy! And a sweetie, a character, and a tester... say no, and he'll do it anyways, just to see sometimes, and it usually involves chewing and mouthing, barking, running like a crazy dog, or getting aggressive. It's like, everything he wants to do, I say NO! I want him to have fun and enjoy life, AND, be able to be a dog who is welcome in society! I guess I am doing better for him than the previous owner. He's a "pariah" or primitive dog breed, meaning that he's "as is" from thousands of years ago, without much breeding for working characteristics or temperament. He's the type that "skulks around the campfire, looking for scraps" or runs wild in the third world (except hairless!) So the mentality is a little different from a lot of dogs, a little closer to a wolf or coyote. So, the training methods may have to be adjusted accordingly.



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I hate to mention this, but the training process also involves training the human.  If both of you go through the process of training and manage to "cure" his problems but you go back to not doing as you should, it may be a worthless process.  Dogs are smart enough to figure out what is going on and adjust accordingly.

Terry



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Thanks everyone! I used the links Cindy gave to start investigating trainers for his more serious issues, and Nightsky, I am using the NILIF, since he is so food motivated, and I also consulted with the Dumb Friends League, and started clicker training, which he is responding to, for the more mundane issues. Not to worry, Terry, I worked for many years "implementing behavioral modification plans" with developmentally disabled (autistic) adults, with far more serious behaviors than Toto (I'm talking, humans that attack and bite). Oh, and I figured out, he's allergic to chicken! Feeling sick was not helping, and I'm trying different foods (people food, not dog), to see what else he may be allergic to. He is probably going to go on a "raw foods" diet, sans prepared dog foods.

He is responding, but his hypervigilance and defense mechanism will take a while to calm; today, we made it almost all the way down the street, he walked by a used car place with those waving, fan propelled balloon clowns, no incident, got to an open field, and he LOVED sniffing and tracking for rodents! Found some burrow holes, and started to dig! He has a small prey hunting instinct, wants to go after birds and mice, perhaps I can find a way to capitalize on that. On the way back, though, as we passed by the used car place, a little rat terrier 1/2 his size came rushing out; he probably wanted to play, but Toto started to freak, and would have run into traffic if I wasn't there. But he managed to walk away (me not carrying him). When we got back to our lot, he was still worked up, hypervigilant, ready to go after anything which seemed threatening (cars, people) but was able to make it back to our rig without trying to break away, bark, growl, or try to attack anyone. He settled down pretty quickly, with the aid of a nice lunch, and his dog music therapy! Currently napping! Whew! But I think if we can start camping more out in the wild, rather than in town, he will like that much better, fewer people and cars, more opportunities to explore and hunt for mice!



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toto-640x564.jpgWe just met with the dog trainer in Carson City; good news, Toto is not hopeless, and is not really an aggressive dog (judging by his reaction to other dogs at a dog park). Also, apparently, I have been doing a pretty good job on my own, due to my experience in "behavioral modification" programs with "aggressive humans". In the 2 months I have had him, he has made progress, and he is learning.

He did indeed try to bite the trainer when she came over, but calmed down fairly quickly; apparently, he is motivated primarily by his protective and possessive instinct; one interesting incident, when I went to pay her, she reached to take the $$$, and that triggered him. He tried to bite 2X+ previously when someone reached over to me to hand me something, so he does not like anyone reaching towards (grabbing) me. He also reacts to unexpected movements, or when she went towards "his" area (around the passenger seat). It's a matter of desensitizing him to people and situations, but I will always need to keep him on a short leash around people, and make sure no one tries to pet him without permission.

Fortunately, there is a park with a dog park just down the street, and we made it down there (he didn't resist or pull) and he LOVED the grass! He is an amazing runner, I let the retractable leash out, and he ran, ran, ran circles around me, literally! (Gotta bring the camera next time!) By the time we got there, he was liking the trainer better, and we got to see him around other dogs; he got intimidated, and wanted to flee, but the trainer thought his reaction wasn't really aggressive (not to say he wouldn't bite, in "self defense") He will need to be supervised, but he needs the experience.

So the word is, we can manage his aggression, partly, it's his breed, through a lot of work desensitizing him, putting him into situations, respecting his boundaries, and obedience training. Another interesting thing I have noticed; he gets hyper-aggressive towards people who have "something wrong" with them; for instance, he was going nuts, and did not respond to my "It's OK, thanks for looking out". I took a look, and there was a guy with a Mohawk, a gang style "stomach rocker" tattoo, as well as demon tattoos all over, on crutches. I was like, OK, yeah, maybe that guy needs to stay away. But, you still can't go after him and bite him to keep him away, (although that seems like a really good idea!) He was nice to a nice family we met at at Mount Shasta (he is a good judge of character) so he is making some progress.

I got a packet of info I need to go over. She also showed me a lot of very cool toys, to work his brain, cuz he's smart, and gets bored. Like the Seek-A-Treat. In any case, I am hoping he will not totally destroy my social life, by chasing everyone away! We will begin going to the park every morning, so he can run, maybe interact with other dogs and people. He is still a puppy, so he has some time to make a turn around! We will continue to meet with the trainer periodically. He is a good little buddy, just want all the nice people to appreciate him too!

 



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Exercise is good, a tired dog is a good dog.  I bought a super long (26') retractable leash for Odin.  *sniff*

I can let anyone pet Storm.  I do tell them though, do not reach towards me.   It's really common sense, but, most people have none of that.  *eye roll*



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Toto sounds like a "fear biter". The hardest kind.

Does he growl when he is unsure...?

Our German Shepherd breeder told us that growling is a sign of fear.  Do not expect these German Shepherds to growl, as, they have no fear.  She was right.  Even Odin as a pup, NEVER growled. Ever.  Storm does not growl either. 

I have a fear biter.  He growls when he is uncertain of someone.  I keep close eye on him.



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Wonderful to hear that things are improving!  Socialization is so important with dogs & with nice people.  Plenty of exercise will no doubt do him good too. (A tired dog is a good dog!)  Don't know if you've seen the "long line" you can use for exercising.  It's basically like a leash but comes in very long lengths, longer than the flexi-leashes.  It's great for a dog that likes to run, you can let him run in really big circles around you.  I think it's easier to handle than a flexi-leash.

I hope you continue to have great success!



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Cindy T

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He is a fear biter, but he doesn't growl, he'll just suddenly go for it. Maybe just a warning "nose bump" like he gave the trainer, or more serious if the person seems more threatening. It's becoming obvious most of this is from under socialization.

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He's still young, do take every opportunity to get him out there!!

People just don't realize how vital it is to socialize a dog.  I could just bite them myself. 



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I think he spent too much time alone, waiting for his previous family to get home from school and work, and while they were gone, possibly teased by neighborhood wierdos. He behaved well with the trainer around, let's see how we do on our own. I tried to take him out this evening, but the winds are blowing so hard, we didn't get far. Tommorrow!

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Well, Toto has been with me 3 months, and we've met with a trainer, been working on the situation non-stop, and.... success! He is getting so much better, he's decided strangers don't always mean danger! He's enjoying his walks, and has even let a few people pet him! I think he will always be "protective" especially around the home, that is the nature of his breed, but he has not gone "Cujo" for a while. I'll always have to watch him, but I am not worrying so much!

We also went to the vet, he apparently has had both round worms and tape worms this whole time, and that is taken care of (not feeling good can put you on a hair trigger) He also has some type of microbial parasite (from eating rotten food or stagnant water) which, the vet said has no medication, he just has to get over it himself (I've been giving him colloidal silver I his water). Also figured out he has a chicken, allergy, and I have him on a much better diet than he was before.

Here are some video updates:

Dog Park Success 1:42: youtu.be/1c0sVhoYZ9k

Toto's Pet Psychic Reading 6:17: www.youtube.com/watch




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