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Old 04-07-2014, 07:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Red face How should I prepare myself. Kind of long.

I'll try to make this back story as short as possible. We adopted Barrett at six months old. I made sure to show him my dominance and he never questioned it. As long as my husband or I brought someone into the house he was perfectly fine and never reacted aggressively. Out of the home he never even barked at people just out of the blue but would occasionally bark at people when they would try to pet him. I generally just didn't allow people he didn't know to pet him and called it a day. About seven months ago me and my husband decided to end our marriage. I gave Barrett to him and I took the rest of the pets, it broke my heart but it was for the best. My husband ended up moving into an apartment and with him being in the military and gone a lot he had no one to watch Barrett. So in October of last year he decided that the best thing for Barrett was to have his mother take him until he was in a better position. My husband and I have since worked out our issues and decided to stay together. We haven't been in the position to get Barrett back until now. We're moving closer to his mother and will be able to have our boy back in less than two months. Here's the issue. Since Barrett has been living with my in laws he has developed aggression whenever people come to the door or into the house. It's not everyone but it's a mix of people with no common traits. He does his "Big boy growl" and has taken it as far as snapping at people. My plan so far has been to reinforce that I am the alpha and that it is my job to pick who is okay to come into the house and who isn't. I plan on having strangers come to the house and having Barrett on a leash in a laying position by my side. I want them to ignore him as long as he is reactive then once he is calm have them start by tossing him treats from a distance eventually getting to the point where they can hand him treats as long as he remains nonreactive. He is my first GSD and I'm not sure if this is the best course of action and wanted to get more experienced owners opinion of what I should prepare to do when we get him back.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First off, I congratulate you and your husband for trying to work things out.

Good luck to you both.

As for your pup. Start first with re-establishing your relationship. No visitors at first. Enroll in an obedience class, get him out on walks, reinforce basic obedience, and do a strict NILF program. I would do this for easily 4-6 weeks before having him loose in your house when people come over. If you are having people over before that period, crate him in a separate room.

During the no visitor time, teach him "place" and make him go to a bed or mat when given the command. Then you can start by desensitizing him to people at the door. You or your husband ring the doorbell. He goes to his "place". Then you can have a neighbor or family member do the same. He goes to "place" the other spouse opens the door while one enforces the command.

Once he is doing that well, then people can start coming in, have a leash on him and keep him busy with a known command, down or sit. I would have zero interaction with guests for a while. Until he can prove that he is listening and attentive. So don't have them throw treats, talk, pet, look at him.

It may take a long time. It may take no time at all. He may revert back to the dog he was before being at your inland.


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Old 04-08-2014, 05:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What gsdsar recommends is right on point!
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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What GDSAR said...and what you said. Put them together.
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