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Old 03-02-2012, 12:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Barking and lunging AFTER meeting people...??

Ollie has sporadic outbursts of aggression, and I'm trying to figure out how to handle them. I was just reading the fear vs. protective sticky, and I'm still not sure what's going on with him.

First off, he's only 9 months, so he's a puppy, but I'm trying to nip this behavior in the bud, as I live in a populated area. I walk Ol every day, and take him to the park etc, because I have a backyard that's smaller than a postage stamp.

When he was younger, Ol would bark at pedestrians walking by, mostly out of fear. He has since stopped this, to the point where we can walk past most people without a problem (I can tell if he's too interested in someone by the perk of his ears so I'll call his attention over to me instead). Last night he barked at a jogger who ran right at him and scared the He$% out of him, but I can't say that that was entirely his fault.

However, sometimes he'll bark and lunge at people AFTER they've said hello, let him sniff their hands etc. I'll be chatting with the person and everything will be fine, but then he'll just start barking. I immediately correct him and I usually turn and walk into him to tell him to knock it off. Again, doesn't happen every time, just sometimes.

I can't really figure out what sets him off, and I'm trying to keep a close eye on him to see what sets him off. Has anyone else had a similar experience? After reading the sticky I'd say it was fear, but fear of what exactly? The people we meet aren't displaying any kind of aggressive behavior.


Any ideas guys??
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This sounds really bad. I hate to say it, but if I were you I would have this dog put down. I don't mean to hurt your feelings or anything, but this dog seems unsound in the head. Also, bc this aggression manifests towards PEOPLE, this is a dog that is an accident not just waiting but begging to happen. I know it sucks but you need to seriously consider that option.

I came to this conclusion because of these things:

1) He is only 9 months old and he has been like this.
2) You refer to his aggression as "sporadic outbursts".
3) This dog has terrible nerves. No dog with a good temperament should shy away from a jogger and freak out.
4) You have no idea what sets him of.
5) He wants to attack people after they are not only neutral, but friendly.
6) You live in a densely populated area

These are all BIG RED FLAGS. Not just things to pay attention to, but biiig red flags.

Again I"m really sorry to say it but...this dog should probably be PTS. Either that or you are going to have quite a management issue. Not to mention that this sort of behavior is a terrible representation of the breed.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow - not really what you expected, I bet - Ollie's mama - huh?!

Pretty drastic...

Hmmm, maybe we should have ours PTS as well, for she does the same thing - sometimes.

Hogwash.

Ollie needs more socializing, IMO. As does our Ziva. We never know what or when something / someone will set her off. I joke that maybe she sees aliens where we see humans or dogs (like in 'Men in Black'). Sometimes she'll bark & fuzz out after seeing a human - sometimes as we approach, sometimes as we pass. Same with dogs. On the way home from work yesterday, we must've passed 12 people & 6 dogs - she only barked at 1 (a police K9) & that was AFTER we passed him. The day before? Just the opposite.

Both our vet & a close friend suggested she needs more socializing. And that we need to learn to re-direct quicker - which means us learning to read her better. I would say maybe Ollie doesn't like the scent he picks up...heck, Ziva even barks at diesel trucks. (scent or the noise?!)

PTS a reactive puppy? IMO - even suggesting that is not only irresponsible, but totally uncalled-for...I really can't stand the psychoanalyzing of a dog no one has met. IMHO only.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Wow - not really what you expected, I bet - Ollie's mama - huh?!

Pretty drastic...

Hmmm, maybe we should have ours PTS as well, for she does the same thing - sometimes.

Hogwash.

Ollie needs more socializing, IMO. As does our Ziva. We never know what or when something / someone will set her off. I joke that maybe she sees aliens where we see humans or dogs (like in 'Men in Black'). Sometimes she'll bark & fuzz out after seeing a human - sometimes as we approach, sometimes as we pass. Same with dogs. On the way home from work yesterday, we must've passed 12 people & 6 dogs - she only barked at 1 (a police K9) & that was AFTER we passed him. The day before? Just the opposite.

Both our vet & a close friend suggested she needs more socializing. And that we need to learn to re-direct quicker - which means us learning to read her better. I would say maybe Ollie doesn't like the scent he picks up...heck, Ziva even barks at diesel trucks. (scent or the noise?!)

PTS a reactive puppy? IMO - even suggesting that is not only irresponsible, but totally uncalled-for...I really can't stand the psychoanalyzing of a dog no one has met. IMHO only.
Just wondering if you (or a family member) has ever been bitten by a 9mo "puppy"?

Sounds like you cured your own dog in only 1 day? That is terrific for you!
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ollie_leyna View Post
Ollie has sporadic outbursts of aggression, and I'm trying to figure out how to handle them. I was just reading the fear vs. protective sticky, and I'm still not sure what's going on with him.

First off, he's only 9 months, so he's a puppy, but I'm trying to nip this behavior in the bud, as I live in a populated area. I walk Ol every day, and take him to the park etc, because I have a backyard that's smaller than a postage stamp.

When he was younger, Ol would bark at pedestrians walking by, mostly out of fear. He has since stopped this, to the point where we can walk past most people without a problem (I can tell if he's too interested in someone by the perk of his ears so I'll call his attention over to me instead). Last night he barked at a jogger who ran right at him and scared the He$% out of him, but I can't say that that was entirely his fault.

However, sometimes he'll bark and lunge at people AFTER they've said hello, let him sniff their hands etc. I'll be chatting with the person and everything will be fine, but then he'll just start barking. I immediately correct him and I usually turn and walk into him to tell him to knock it off. Again, doesn't happen every time, just sometimes.

I can't really figure out what sets him off, and I'm trying to keep a close eye on him to see what sets him off. Has anyone else had a similar experience? After reading the sticky I'd say it was fear, but fear of what exactly? The people we meet aren't displaying any kind of aggressive behavior.


Any ideas guys??
One idea that you might want to consider is to get and use a good muzzle when you are out in public and working on training your pup! Better safe than sorry while working with him.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Ollie has sporadic outbursts of aggression, and I'm trying to figure out how to handle them. I was just reading the fear vs. protective sticky, and I'm still not sure what's going on with him.

First off, he's only 9 months, so he's a puppy, but I'm trying to nip this behavior in the bud, as I live in a populated area. I walk Ol every day, and take him to the park etc, because I have a backyard that's smaller than a postage stamp.

When he was younger, Ol would bark at pedestrians walking by, mostly out of fear. He has since stopped this, to the point where we can walk past most people without a problem (I can tell if he's too interested in someone by the perk of his ears so I'll call his attention over to me instead). Last night he barked at a jogger who ran right at him and scared the He$% out of him, but I can't say that that was entirely his fault.

However, sometimes he'll bark and lunge at people AFTER they've said hello, let him sniff their hands etc. I'll be chatting with the person and everything will be fine, but then he'll just start barking. I immediately correct him and I usually turn and walk into him to tell him to knock it off. Again, doesn't happen every time, just sometimes.

I can't really figure out what sets him off, and I'm trying to keep a close eye on him to see what sets him off. Has anyone else had a similar experience? After reading the sticky I'd say it was fear, but fear of what exactly? The people we meet aren't displaying any kind of aggressive behavior.


Any ideas guys??
Also get some pro help - behaviorist or good pro trainer. make sure that he/she has worked with (successfully!) big aggressive dogs like GSD's.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Just wondering if you (or a family member) has ever been bitten by a 9mo "puppy"?

Sounds like you cured your own dog in only 1 day? That is terrific for you!
1. Never by a "puppy" - just a 3-yr-old 88# GSD - I know what a dog bite feels like.
2. Never said our dog was cured.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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When he was younger, Ol would bark at pedestrians walking by, mostly out of fear.
No clue why a puppy was so fearful, but this was the time to work on things.

There's some things you can do now - your dog is still fearful btw. But you're going to need to address it by doing more than turning and "walking into him". You're going to have to get him over/past his fears. Or, failing that, keep him home and manage him. Or, failing that, do the muzzle. That'd be my last resort, not because I don't believe in them, but because...well, to give up and get one means you aren't going to be working with the dog but merely managing him from now on.

Fearful Dogs | Positive help for fearful, shy & anxious dogs Start here.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ollie_leyna View Post
However, sometimes he'll bark and lunge at people AFTER they've said hello, let him sniff their hands etc. I'll be chatting with the person and everything will be fine, but then he'll just start barking. I immediately correct him and I usually turn and walk into him to tell him to knock it off. Again, doesn't happen every time, just sometimes.
HOW do you correct him? Personally, I am not a fan of corrections for this kind of thing because most people aren't versed enough to issue one properly and usually just reinforce that the dog's initial reaction is correct... people are scary and I get "corrected" when they are around so I don't want them around any more.

I agree with getting a good trainer that has successfully rehabilitated dogs before to assess the situation and work out a training plan with you.

In the mean time, The Language of Dogs would be a good video for you to watch. It is entirely possible that you are missing signals.
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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So I tried working with him as a puppy when the issues started, and he's gotten better, as now it's only once in awhile. Today we walked in a big park and he's was fine with joggers going by etc. We walked around my neighborhood as well, walking past kids that were playing street hockey etc, and he was fine. I feel like I'm missing a key signal.

I've had him in obedience classes since he was 4 months old. He's socialized with dogs-on leash he's interested, for off leash socialization he's avoidant and skittish--He follows me around with his nose in the back of his knees.
In class he's completely fine with people approaching him--we've done exercises where people approach him, and he's totally fine. I've emailed the obedience school trainer about these problems, both when he was a young pup when the problems started and recently. He's suggested an in-home visit. They're really pricey, but based on the responses here, that's the route I'm going to go.

He hasn't tried to bite anyone ever. He just barks at them. It's not his "scary" bark, so it's definitely fear. I think I'm just missing the indicator.

Also if a jogger was running straight at me, I'd have a wth response as well. Like I said, I don't fault him for that one--maybe others disagree.

For correcting this behavior: usually I will correct him with his prong collar, pull him back from the stressor or force him back by walking into his space, and make him sit. Usually after he barks once or twice he's fine. Is that a better description?
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