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Old 04-14-2010, 10:19 AM
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jltracy jltracy is offline
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Unhappy Rocky's Barking

It's been 2 years since we adopted the rescue known as Smokey and changed his name to Rocky, and he has been the sweetest pup to me and my fiance (husband in 17 days eee!). However, when he comes across another dog in our area, he'll ALWAYS snarl and lunge and bark at them, tail wagging, and unless I squat down and push his butt to the ground, he ignores me completely. He knows the basic commands, sit, stay, come, but when he sees another dog OR just another person walking along, all that training goes out the window, even with treats. This really confuses me. What is he doing? He's never bitten anyone.

Also, anyone who walks near us outside or anyone I'm actually with (like yesterday I went to see some friends) Rocky just starts barking and growling. He will come up and sniff them eventually if they are friends but doesn't relax around anyone. Paul, a friend of mine, has been around Rocky a lot, just not every day. The first few times Rocky was around Paul, he was fine, but this was in a crowded area. Paul even held the leash while I went to the bathroom and such. But if Paul comes over or if it's just me, my fiancee and him, Rocky barks and growls like he hasn't seen him before. Every time.

The only progress made is with our friends who do understand the fact he is a rescue dog, and they deal with the constant barking and growling, and they sit on the couch, and Rocky will then jump up and lick their hand and sit on their lap. But as soon as they stand up, Rocky jumps down and barks and barks again. Why can't this dog relax or get used to people and be friendly? Is there anything I can do to make Rocky a happy people/other dog loving pup? Any help is GREATLY appreciated.
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:19 PM
Maura Maura is offline
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If he is intimidated by the other dog he will resist sitting because that is subordinant to standing. Do a search on the forum for dog reactive. You need to work him on obedience in every spot you are in when you go for a walk. Use treats and do it when there is minimal distraction before doing it when there is major distraction. Second, when he first alerts on another dog, turn and walk away. Do not pull up on the leash, keep it loose.

As for your friends, it is hard to say why he's reacting the way he is. He may just be confused as to what is expected of him. Keep him off of laps. He can sit on the floor to be petted. When people stand up from the couch, send Rocky to a specific place, maybe a corner of the room. Give him a chewy treat that will keep his mouth busy. If he won't take a treat, shove a gob of peanut butter in his mouth. Praise him for staying in his corner. You are rewarding for the behavior that you want. If your friends are willing to help, have them sit down for five minutes, get up and move around for a minute, then sit down again for ten minutes. Repeat several times to give you several training sessions.
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:13 PM
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jltracy jltracy is offline
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Wow, thank you so much Maura! I will try this out right away. Rocky is such a cute, friendly dog who just has some major trust issues and I know it's just a matter of time once we finally find something that works for him. We have done group training with other dogs, with big groups and small groups, we've tried using books and many other things and methods and nothing seems to be working. I will try using the things you mentioned and let you know how they work, I especially like the one where he always goes to the same spot when a friend is over and is going to stand up and move around. Why do you say no sitting on our friend's laps to be petted by them?
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Old 04-14-2010, 10:13 PM
Maura Maura is offline
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Many dogs are just fine being on furniture and being in laps. Others are not. The fact that he is reacting to people standing up tells me there is a trigger in there some where. Keeping dogs on the floor has worked many times. This is not to say that he won't be able to be a lap dog later on, but not until these issues are under control. I've written a book on the subject of fitting a rescue dog into the family, but I can't advertise on the forum.
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