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Old 01-02-2012, 01:08 AM   #11 (permalink)
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If they don't listen *cough* People who claim all animals love them *cough* I make sure they don't pet her. I really don't care what people think of me when I do this; that's my girl and I won't have her be uncomfortable unnecessarily.
People who say this baffle me because they never fail to do exactly what you shouldn't do to an animal... ugh... The only person I've ever had surprise me with this was actually a 6 year old little girl who told me that dogs love her and then proceeded to sit down next to me on the grass and ignore my dogs (the friendly ones, I never would have put my other two in this situation) until they fell asleep in her lap with her gently stroking them. I couldn't help but feel in awe It was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. Adults seem to say that all dogs love them in order to justify their rudeness. This girl just stated it as a fact
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:24 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I do not like strangers petting my dogs and tell people asking to pet them, that I am currently working with them and that they are in training. This has worked like a charm so far and they leave my dogs alone.
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:02 AM   #13 (permalink)
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People who say this baffle me because they never fail to do exactly what you shouldn't do to an animal... ugh... The only person I've ever had surprise me with this was actually a 6 year old little girl who told me that dogs love her and then proceeded to sit down next to me on the grass and ignore my dogs (the friendly ones, I never would have put my other two in this situation) until they fell asleep in her lap with her gently stroking them. I couldn't help but feel in awe It was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. Adults seem to say that all dogs love them in order to justify their rudeness. This girl just stated it as a fact
That's cute

I am a person who animals generally do like, but I have a theory about that. I've always showed animals a great deal of respect. I do not maul them, I leave them alone until they approach me, I let them smell to their hearts are content, and then I give lots and lots of scratches (long nails=dog magnet ) Usually animals approach me, and I think the main reason is I'm not threatening, but I'm not afraid. I'm respectful. Animals, like people, tend to like people that are respectful. I'd get pretty snappy if some stranger came up and started kissing me and grabbing my face, so I don't do it to animals. It's not rocket science, but people are ridiculous. I think part of that comes from them thinking their own dogs like it when they do goofy/in your face things (and they may. What dogs enjoy from their humans is one thing) but they don't realize strange dogs aren't theirs and don't have the bond with them that their own dogs have.
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:14 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:26 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I simply tell people that she's not friendly. That's usually enough to get people to leave a GSD alone. Many of them say thanks for letting them know and then stand a few feet away and talk to me about her and I explain how we are out and working on her issues.

Holly is a foster that is with me specifically because of her issues.
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:38 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I find it to be more situational, depending on the circumstances, it can be, "I would rather you not"... "let him smell you a bit first".... "don't just reach right for his head"...
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:47 AM   #17 (permalink)
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It is quite a challenge to introduce foster dogs to adopters. People often don't get it that the dog does not know they have submitted an adoption application. They are strangers to the dog like any other stranger in the street. Somehow they think that the dog is going to treat them the same way as their previous dog they had for 10 years. Sometimes it happens. I had one man walk up to a dog that was head sensitive (after coming to us with a bad ear infection) and went to hug and squeeze the dog's head. These things happen quickly and it is hard to stop them. The challenge is that they would allow others to interact with the dog in the same way. It is also unbelievable that parents allow their children to hug and squeeze a strange dog's head. I can just imaging a children party at their house.
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:55 AM   #18 (permalink)
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It's not necessarily the same situation, but the kids in my neighborhood love to see Ozzy when I'm trying to train him. (Somehow they always miss the one hour I'm out there just playing fetch with him). They'll be like, "Hi, Ozzy! Come here!" He's been doing a LOT better about listening to me when kids are trying to distract him. (Pretty much the day he hit 18 months, actually... lol). He used to go completely deaf when it meant he could play with little kids.
For a while, I was nice about it. I'd just ask them not to distract him because he's training. Considering everything I said went in one ear and out the other, I'm blunt now. I tell them, "Don't pet him or call him. I don't need your help training him, he won't listen to you anyway. You can watch, but don't distract us." Now they usually stay away because I'm 'mean.'
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:06 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I would have a hard time resisting petting Ozzy- even if you are mean!!!
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:13 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I have a 3.5 month old that is very friendly but I don't like strangers touching her either. I got her a harness with patches that says DO NOT PET. That way if I come off as rude the warning was right there in plain sight. If they don't like that then tuff!
This is too bad.

This thread was started because unfortunately there are dogs that are not courageous and aloof, but scared poopless of new and different situations because of temperament issues.

If you have a well balanced, happy puppy, the best thing you can do is to let her interact with many people. Heaven forbid that something would happen where she was not with you, you would want her to know how to behave appropriately around people.

Also, while that vest can be great, you have kids who can't read, people who can't read, language differences, etc. So they are not a cure all.

As far as the question, I have learned over time that you have a very short amount of time to convey your message, and that the way you do it will have an impact on how successful you are.

So -
1. You need to be aware of your surroundings all the time when you are out with your fearful dog. This means if you are having a conversation with someone, you are glancing at them, and making the more constant eye contact with your dog and the area around them. You are scanning your environment for people and things to approach.

2. You need to understand what your dogs triggers are - is it motion? If you are on a path and someone runs past, will your dog lunge? Or is it people approaching that freaks them out? Or both, all and more.

3. What are your dogs' calming signals. Can you recognize when they are uncomfortable.

Those kind of things help you to control your environment better.

Then as far as people...
1. Understand as much as you want to think it, you may not be able to control other people. This may be okay in a quieter environment, with a few random strangers, but will not be okay at a festival, soccer game, pet store, etc. So you have to know you and know your dog and figure out what you both can deal with.

2. Humor and kindness and a smile go a long way toward stopping people. Since 1992 I have been warning people off a dog in one way or another. Fact and logic are things that I like, but have found that not many people respond to! A barking, lunging dog aren't even enough to stop them! So put forth your most charming self. This is to help your dog, so suck it up and put the sour patch attitude away for a time that your dog is not involved.

3. Because you have scanned your environment, you have much longer to warn people off. Use this to set yourself physically.

4. Think of a great, firm but fair teacher you have had. Their way of handling people, their ability to make eye contact and stand tall - while I don't agree with a lot of what Cesar Millan does, what he tells you to do to your dog - do to other people - firm, tall, and someone who knows what they are doing. People respond to this body language.

5. Body block - step in front of your dog. Do it before the person is there - 3 feet at the least.

6. Use whatever canned message you have found to work. I use "she's shy" or "she's scared" and that works. People understand what it's like to be scared, more than they understand "she wants to rip your face off" because they can relate to that. There still may be people who will downplay it, but you are set up in front of your dog.

7. If they still come at - which there will be someone who will - you have set yourself up in your environment - make sure in that set up you have given yourself an escape route. I will step in toward the person, making them back up and then swing around and exit.

8. I also use a 4 foot leash so there isn't a lot of play on the lead for my dog to move forward on their own and wrap it shorter as needed - for example as I make the move into that person's space, I have the dog held back with my other arm backwards the distance of my arm - so the lunge would only get them to me, not farther.

Last part - what you are doing with your dog.
1. I make sure I am doing all this in an environment they can handle. I have not always done that well - wanting to expose them more than they have wanted to be or were ready for. Now I may go too far the other way in terms of being slow, but it still seems to work out well in the end. So there is a part of that that is desensitization.

2. I am giving the dog a lot of feedback, verbally, with my body position and hands. Even if someone is talking to me, if my dog does something well - ignores something or makes eye contact with someone, whatever, I will interrupt to tell my dog nice job! using that high and happy voice. If I see they are getting tense, I can tell them easy with that lower, soothing voice. I can put hands on my dog to let them know I am with them, and also, again, use my body to stop them from being able to see something that we need to move away from. But I mark positives a ton so that I am constantly shaping the behavior that I desire from them. It is like when you are learning a new skill - imagine something you've never done and are anxious about - skydiving maybe. And the instructor doesn't say anything while you are putting on your equipment and getting on the plane...that's a lot more difficult for you than if they are giving you feedback.

3. IF your dog will take treats from a stranger (I have had dogs that will not) and it helps, use them. It may just be that they see a person and you give them treats - it all depends on how you are doing the desensitization and work with them. Do not let a stranger tell your dog to sit - tell the person firmly that them approaching you is the behavior you want, nothing else.

4. Look like an idiot for your dog. Be willing to work with them in a way that may look stupid but if it works for your dog, go ahead and do it. For my one dog, clapping and saying Hercules! Hercules! was her reward. I think what it did was take any residual anxiety I might have about a situation and rid it from me - thereby allowing her to relax and enjoy her accomplishments.

5. Consider finding a handler/dog mentor team. An upbeat, smart person and a confident, well balanced dog can show us a lot and help your dog to have behaviors to model.

Managing these dogs well means that when you are out, you are out for them, not for you.
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