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Luke is 4 years old and he does the oddest thing. He absolutely fears (dislikes?) one specific person we know. First, he's an odd duck in that he's a bit too robust in his greetings when anyone comes over. He's an in-your-face greeter. Loud barks, then he quickly runs to find a toy to bring the guests to play keep away. Same routine every single time, no matter who comes over. He's the same with men and women. Then, after the initial bark, he'll eventually come to the person for pets or gives them a lick on the face. Except for one friend. His reaction is so extreme. She comes over and he barks nonstop at her. If I show him the spray bottle, he'll back off. But then he'll stay as far away from her as possible, and yesterday he did something he's never done, he went upstairs by himself and stayed there for an hour or so. We were all downstairs. If she walks to him, talking sweetly, he barks and backs off and will run into the back yard. He won't take treats from her. He'll even do that thing where he will peek back around the corner at her. There's absolutely nothing wrong with her. She's a total animal lover and has had huge dogs and currently has cats. Our other dogs love her. We thought we had a breakthrough the other evening. I'd had enough, so another friend and I sat with her on the living room floor and sort of patted her and tried to entice Luke to come to us. He balked and barked and ran, but after about 15 minutes or so, he cautiously came over, several times and even liked her face once. He also seemed to sort of butt her a little with his snout, but I'm not sure of that. He doesn't growl or seem to threaten to bite. (He's not vicious, seriously, but at 120 pounds, he's intimidating.) When she came to take photos of the three dogs a couple of months ago, each time she came closer, he would sort of bark and puff out his cheeks and blow like a horse. Anyway, after our "breakthrough" the other day, I thought it would help, but when she came by yesterday, it was the same thing all over again and that's when he went upstairs. I suppose we can pet her and play that game each time she comes over. Anyone have a dog who behaves this way toward one person? Thanks.
 

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Rogue fears my Dad and he hates my Aunt.

Sinister loves everyone and he doesn't fear anyone or anything.

Biff is friendly towards everyone, he acts tough but he scares easily.
 

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My last boy(big red Dobe I had for 12yrs), couldn't stand one "acquaintance" of ours, and sure enough my GSD girl shares the same opinion of him. Probably my fault though as I don't think highly of him, and wouldn't lose any sleep if I never saw him again.
 

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I can't think of one particular person but in general Stosh can't stand teenage boys. Anytime one tries to pet him, he puts his fur up and backs away.
 

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I can't think of one particular person but in general Stosh can't stand teenage boys. Anytime one tries to pet him, he puts his fur up and backs away.
Stosh, are you working on this?

Reason I'm asking is there are some people Kelly does the same thing with. I'm working on this and wonder if there is anything you're doing that's working you could share with me.

Thanks.
 

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No I really haven't tried anything. It's usually in a setting like a store or someplace where we're not going to be for very long. He's really big so when it's obvious he doesn't want someone to touch him they don't try a second time. Not sure what I should do or if I should do anything about it.
 

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Not sure what I should do or if I should do anything about it.
Considering how much of our training is based on positive reinforcement, would/could not doing anything be seen by the dog as condoning/promoting that specific behavior? And could that behavior than exacerbate into genuine aggression towards that group of people?

* I'm just asking, not judging :)
 

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You're probably right because I haven't corrected him or tried to change how he was reacting. Maybe next time it happens I'll see if the kid will give Stosh a few treats and see how he reacts to that.
 

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I correct Luke when he does it. I do believe that if we had this friend over everyday for a while and worked with him, he'd eventually stop. I think...
 

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No I really haven't tried anything. It's usually in a setting like a store or someplace where we're not going to be for very long. He's really big so when it's obvious he doesn't want someone to touch him they don't try a second time. Not sure what I should do or if I should do anything about it.
I see. Well, I'm taking it really slow. She has no issues with anyone that's ignoring her and talking to me. After this, she's okay with greeting. That's my approach. Give her time, and discourage people from walking up on her fast but still working on socialization overall by discouraging and correcting anything that remotely resembles fear aggression. I think you have to lead and let them know you are there to protect them, not the other way around, IMHO.
 

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Considering how much of our training is based on positive reinforcement, would/could not doing anything be seen by the dog as condoning/promoting that specific behavior? And could that behavior than exacerbate into genuine aggression towards that group of people?
My take on this is that there is probably some fear there. If you're talking about one particular person, who can say exactly why? But an entire group in general? That sounds like he hasn't been exposed to them enough in a positive way so he doesn't trust them. It could just as easily be children or tall men or people wearing bulky parkas or....

Rather than correcting him or forcing him to interact directly (or even letting him for that matter) with teenage boys, it would be better for him to be near but not too close while good things happen - counter-conditioning (pairing good stuff like yummy treats with the presence of a trigger) and desensitization (working at a distance where the dog notices but does not react to the trigger and gradually moving closer over time as the dog relaxes in the presence of the trigger). You want to change his emotional state from fear/anxiety/stress, whatever, to happy anticipation.

Working with him outside the fence, or even further away, such as in the parking lot, while some boys play basketball, or practice softball or at a soccer game would be potential places to start. Only when he's calm and relaxed with them nearby would I even consider letting them close enough to pet, and probably only after he remains that way with them tossing treats to him. And the dog should be able to make the choice of approaching the boy (who would be armed with some treats to hand out) rather than the boy approaching him.
 

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If the dog is a well socialized, friendly dog that only has a problem with a single individual, I would probably believe my dog that something was wrong with that person. If the dog has a problem with a type or group of people, then it's a problem with the dog and needs to be addressed.
 

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If the dog is a well socialized, friendly dog that only has a problem with a single individual, I would probably believe my dog that something was wrong with that person. If the dog has a problem with a type or group of people, then it's a problem with the dog and needs to be addressed.
What she said. ^
 

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If the dog is a well socialized, friendly dog that only has a problem with a single individual, I would probably believe my dog that something was wrong with that person.
I agree, Max has been around all kinds of people all his life, never shows any fear of anything, i had a customer here one day, and he said he had a couple GSD`s at home and would like to meet Max, i let Max out and he came to the guy and snuffed his feet, (thats what he always does) and got away from this guy like he was on fire or something, Max sat on the landing with his ears forward, so i got him out of that situation, I asked my instructor about that and he said, "pay attention to what Max is telling you" that Max did sense something was not right about him
 

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Lola did not seem to like one of my uncles yesterday at first, would not stop barking at him...put all he had to do was throw her tennis ball a couple of times, and she tolerated him, still watch him closely (with everybody else, she loved) I was so proud of her, she met about 18 new people yesterday at my parents house (and she is still sleepy today from running around ALL day on thanksgiving (about 5 am to 1 am).
 

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Stosh certainly has been around a lot of people but his interaction with that age male is pretty limited. I was telling my husband about this thread and he said "I'm not surprised- you don't like teenage boys either"...bingo
 

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My dog Chief hated my daughters friend. She tried everything to get him to like her, but he hated her so much that we had to put him in the other room when she came over.
Wolfie hates the lady across the street at our summer house. I think she taunts him. I have seen her walk back and forth in front of our house with her little yapper, letting him bark at Wolfie, and it drives him nuts. Everytime she comes out of her house, with or without the dog, he goes crazy.
 

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Bianca seems to really not like my neighbors on one side (a husband and wife.) She's not afraid of them, she just does not like them. She goes nuts barking at them whenever they come near our house or walk in their yard. I even tried to introduce her to them once when the wife was outside but as soon as she walked up Bianca started barking so she left. She doesn't bark at the neighbors on the other side. I think it's because the neighbors she doesn't like have their walkway right next to our living room windows and their gangway in the backyard right next to our fence so Bianca feels they are trespassing.
 

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I think my other dog dislikes my half brother. With her though, I think she senses that he is afraid of dogs. She is most likely thinking...whats wrong with you!
 
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