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Old 05-18-2013, 12:40 PM
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Applebear Applebear is offline
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Default Stranger Danger

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI13v9JgJu0

I was wondering if this would be appropriate and/or helpful to use on my chow pup [10-11 wks] who is starting to show mild signs of fear or aggression towards strangers that get semi-close [he seems to have a different response to each one, sometimes he runs towards them tail wagging]. Or is there something else I should be doing? Right now I am trying to discourage the behavior by distracting him, walking a few steps in one direction, just to try and get him to break the current state of mind [oh were moving, ok...this is more interesting]. It seems to help a little, but not always and I'm not positive it's the most proper way or not.

I am on the hunt for a training class to help with socialization soon as he's old enough and plans to take him to parks, petstores, etc.. But as I do that, I would just like to make sure I am getting him off on the right paw and not making it worse [if anyone recalls my post on Benny...cough].

Have had chows before, that did GREAT with just the training classes and taking everywhere, but they didn't start getting huffy puffy with strangers this young, so it does have my attention.
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:55 PM
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Counter conditioning is an excellent tool to help not only train aggression out of a dog, but to make them more comfortable in stressful situations.

However, in the case of your chow puppy, you need to be sure you're rewarding before any displays of aggression (at that point, the pup is over threshhold...you should be avoid ANY situations that would make the puppy that fearful). Reward for being comfortable near strangers, or just when the puppy starts to look slightly uneasy or like he needs reassurance.

If the puppy is starting to appear fearful or aggressive (either cowering, scrambling to back away, pinning his ears back, growling), you need to just calmly and quickly remove him to a distance that he feels comfortable at, and reward him at the point where he notices the stranger but isn't reacting to them.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:28 PM
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Thank you for the reply Milo. So do you mean I should start treating him before he even sees the people [as I often do see them first] and that way he's all ready in the happy state when he sees them? Or wait for that exact moment as he sees them and try to get him before a reaction? I know it's possible to treat at the wrong times as you are saying, so just trying to make sure I understand clearly.

And what would be a way to work with the problem if you didn't happen to have treats on you? I am trying to make it a habit to take treats out with me, but I do occasionally catch myself off guard [such as tonight I was outside at parents and people unexpectantly came out]...would walking away from the person of his snorty interest be enough to change his state as I was trying before?

Thank you again.
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Old 05-20-2013, 09:37 AM
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Reward him after he notices the people, before he has a chance to react. It might require quite literally stuffing a treat in his mouth quickly as he looks up and sees the person, if he typically reacts right away - and then either moving away from the person if it's just out in public, or having a "helper" who stop approaching or moving as soon as the dog notices.

If he is reacting strongly before you get a chance to provide him with a treat, the dog is being overstimulated and you'll need to work from more of a distance, or with a quieter/less intimidating group of people.

Your best bet is to ALWAYS have treats with you (maybe try getting a little treat baggie that attaches to his leash, so whenever you leash the pup up, the treats are right there). If you can't, and he's at all praise/toy motivated, you can always try just praising, petting, or grabbing a stick or something to play with him as a reward, but if that doesn't cut it for him and he is getting uncomfortable/showing aggression, your best bet is to ignore him and the person he's reacting to and just quickly and calmly remove the dog (turning another direction, walking away or around a corner) without making a fuss.
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:16 AM
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Ok thank you, that helped greatly. We took him to park day before yesterday and he did great overall...there was a ton of people and he only huffed/puffed once towards the end. I handled it incorrectly, but I think I know how to now.

At this time, it seems to be more of a territorial thing [on our property]. He doesn't usually snort RIGHT off the bat...he sees them and stares intensely for a brief moment, and then hits the snort button [if he is going to, sometimes he just keeps staring]. So I am thinking this is my window to treat him.

I do have a treat bag, I just need to be more disciplined on taking it with me at all times. I think I'm getting it, thank you so much for your help!
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:02 PM
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Yup - the perfect time to treat is right after he starts staring, before he snorts.

And if you keep the leash out of his reach anyway, and use non-perishable treats (that don't need refrigeration), just tie the baggy directly to the handle of his leash (or clip it on with a keychain or something). I'm assuming he's typically on-leash when you go out where there are people, so that should help.

Also, if a lot of it is territorial, I'd start enlisting friends, neighbors, etc. to stop by for a few minutes and do a brief training sessions - either they, or you, can reward the puppy for being comfortable with them. You can also try introducing him to your mail person.

Especially if you don't frequently have house guests, it can be hard for a puppy, especially a protective breed puppy, to get used to visitors and to distinguish a welcome visitor from an intruder. Having someone over once a month or less (or always having the same guests visit) isn't really enough.
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:52 PM
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I personally don't like to be in public and have tons of people always touching my dogs, sure I take them into public and get them used to a variety of different settings, but I don't want them to think that they are going to get harassed and bombarded every time they go somewhere.

he sounds like he doesn't care for stranger touching and if he doesn't want it then he shouldn't have to go through it. I would start at a park, at a distance to strangers who are ignoring him and do the steps in the link (which is very good by the way).
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