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Old 01-10-2014, 10:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Being overprotective?

So I had a little problem this morning..... I'm staying with my folks temporarily while I do some training for work. This morning my dad woke me up to ask me a question, it startled me and I kind of jumped when he woke me up, my dog went.....nuts. Didn't bite or anything (had ample opportunity to) but full on cujo growl, barking, etc. from then until my dad left for work, anytime he walked in the same room or got anywhere near me, dog went full on protective mode. He knows my dad, always been super friendly with him, been living here for a couple of weeks since Christmas time, so its not a totally new situation he's in.


I know the cause of the situation was me being startled at being woken up, so its not totally out of the blue, and I'm totally fine having a protective dog (He's always been wary of strangers), but is there a fix for this problem? I consider my self to be pretty well versed in basic dog training, but this is new to me, I'd rather my dog didn't growl at friends and family members. Thanks in advance.

Edit: I'm a NILIF fan, dog is currently in lockdown obediance mode because of this, is that the correct response?
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Your dog did what it was suppose to do.

Solutions.
Lock your door?

Have you family praise your dog with treats? Do basic obedience, sit stay down.
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Ya I mean I know that's what he "thinks" he's supposed to do, and if it was a stranger in my house, AWESOME..... but it was my dad, who he should know is friendly and not someone to worry about just from having been around him.

Also, add'l info: only here for like 4 more days, but more looking for general info to avoid this in the future.
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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What are you doing, if anything, to correct this behavior while it's happening? Are you just letting him bark?
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lucy Dog View Post
What are you doing, if anything, to correct this behavior? Are you just letting him bark?
A firm no, leave it, followed by sit. he backed off on command and sat down, but kept growling and eyeballing him. (leave it is my command for quit what you are doing).
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If he understand the no and leave it, then that's a good start. I think you need to go beyond that and redirect too. Get him completely away from the situation altogether. Don't give him the chance to stare and growl. Remove the dog completely from the room if you have to. Change what he's focusing on.

A stare and growl can turn into an attack very quickly with an unstable dog and the wrong move. Not saying your dog is completely unstable, but it's not a good sign when he's growling at family members either.

How old is he by the way? Has this ever happened before with anyone else?

And if he doesn't want to be friends with your father, that's fine. The staring and the growling is completely unacceptable though. It shouldn't be allowed. You need to keep his focus off your dad and on you.
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If he understand the no and leave it, then that's a good start. I think you need to go beyond that and redirect too. Get him completely away from the situation altogether. Don't give him the chance to stare and growl. Remove the dog completely from the room if you have to. Change what he's focusing on.

A stare and growl can turn into an attack very quickly with an unstable dog and the wrong move. Not saying your dog is completely unstable, but it's not a good sign when he's growling at family members either.

How old is he by the way? Has this ever happened before with anyone else?

And if he doesn't want to be friends with your father, that's fine. The staring and the growling is completely unacceptable though. It shouldn't be allowed. You need to keep his focus off your dad and on you.
I most definitely would not classify my dog as unstable, and while yes to me my dad is family, to my dog, my dog probably doesn't see him as part of the "pack". Like I said, its a temporary living situation, we are kind of interlopers here for a few more days, aside from this one time he's been very well behaved, par for the course for him.

the dog is 3, never happened before with someone he is familiar with, he's not a particularly barky dog, and never growls. The only time I have ever seen behavior like this was walking him at night and a neighbor standing in between some cars said hi and startled me, kind of did the same thing, but he was on leash. Like I said, I know the trigger was being me being startled, he's just being protective.

I don't think he would ever bite, like I said, he had ample opportunity before I called him off this morning, and just barked and growled, but I guess my main question is how do I make him understand who is in "permanent okay, don't worry about them" status? I'd figured having been around my family occasionally since I've owned him, and living here for the past couple of weeks, he'd get that, but apparently not.

But yes, you are correct, that behavior is not okay, and will not be tolerated. Trust me, I'm not a "mean dog" kind of guy.

Last edited by nhstadt; 01-10-2014 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes, you are doing the right thing. Also get more serious with NILIF. After you woke up and let him know that all is right, he should have stopped this behaviour. Continuing to be reactive to your Father means he is making decisions on his own that he should be deferring to you. My attitude with 'Protectiveness" around the house, is that if anything needs to be growled or barked at, that is MY job. You are welcome to back me up if I need help, but I decide what is a threat, and what is not.

How old is he? He looks like a youngster in your Avatar, but not sure if that is a current picture.
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yes, you are doing the right thing. Also get more serious with NILIF. After you woke up and let him know that all is right, he should have stopped this behaviour. Continuing to be reactive to your Father means he is making decisions on his own that he should be deferring to you. My attitude with 'Protectiveness" around the house, is that if anything needs to be growled or barked at, that is MY job. You are welcome to back me up if I need help, but I decide what is a threat, and what is not.

How old is he? He looks like a youngster in your Avatar, but not sure if that is a current picture.

Thanks, ya That's what I was thinking. been hitting the NILIF hard this morning, I will admit my dog is one of those that needs the structure, and I do get a little lax sometimes because he is generally well behaved, that probably has something to do with it. He's had the occasional outbreak of being slightly overprotective, always been with strangers though, never someone he should be used to. He's about 3 (not sure exactly he was a rescue, that was the vet's guess though), that pic was right after I got him about 2 yrs ago.
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It sounds to me like your dog also has a low threshold - meaning it doesn't take a lot to trigger an aggressive reaction out of him. Low threshold dogs need a lot of management, and their threshold is determined by genetics - so it's not something that he will likely grow-out of, or get used to and not be so reactive. It is the way he was born, and the way his brain is wired.

Low threshold dogs need careful management, and owners need to be careful not to put them in situations that might trigger a reaction. STRONG, SOLID, Iron clad obedience and careful watch over possible unexpected triggers in his environment are your best bet.

The good news is that overall, he does seem to be under good control and you have been doing a good job with him. We all need to guard against complacency, and stay consistent - so knowing this about yourself and your dog, things can be brought under control.
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