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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you are familiar with Simon, you will know that he has some real issues concerning men. Yesterday I had a male guest over to pick up some rescue cats. He was here for a few hours (I fed him lunch) and I had Simon confined to a room with a gate and wearing a muzzle. The transporter asked that I let him out while he sat at the table eating. Low and behold, Simon (with muzzle) just sniffed around him a bit and then lay down by me. I. was. stunned. No barking, growling or lunging like he had done with my son for 6 months, every dang day. (could it be my son's anger issues and obnoxious personality that trigger the dog?)

I would love to take steps to continue with Simon's confidence around other men (my son is no longer an option) My brother will be coming sometime this week to stay for a couple of days, so that is one step closer. I have asked both my brother and transporter not to talk to, look at or try to touch Simon, just let him do his thing.

My question. Since my brother will be here more than a day, how should he proceed if Simon is the cool cucumber that he was with the transporter? I don't want to undo anything that is occurring, but would like to keep going forward.

Advice and suggestions, as always, are greatly appreciated.
 

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I would continue with the same thing that was successful when the rescuer was present.If and when Simon makes a friendly gesture your brother could offer him a treat or maybe a gentle scratch under the chin or stroke on the chest.No staring into Simon's eyes or trying to touch him from above or leaning over him.If Simon prefers to keep his distance and remains calm that still is a very big step forward!
 

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I agree with Terri -- I would add one thing: buy Simon's favorite, high-value, meaty treats, stuff a treat pouch full, and let your brother randomly, silently drop them as he walks through the house near Simon. He's not "offering" -- he's just a human treat dispenser leaving a trail of nibbles. The goal is for Simon to make an association between your brother and "good stuff" -- some classical counter-conditioning.



My DH does this with our foster dogs that are afraid of men, and it really helps. It can take a while for them to want to take treats out of his hand, but they start to look forward to him coming into the room quite quickly, expecting treats from him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Stuffing a treat bag with dehydrated tripe right now! Brother is gonna love that, lol. I am so excited, this step is huge and who knows? maybe he is just selective and can sense the good, the bad and the ugly. I had hired random people, before the mange, to meet me in open spaces and walk with me to see if I could hand him off (I was still seeking rescue at that time) Several of the people were lunged at. Now looking back, they were the seedy type, likely users of some sort, there for a few bucks. So, obviously, he can sense a 'bad' person. He did go with, but kept looking for me, a few others, mostly women, but didn't attack them like the others. I think there is hope and that makes me more than happy.

My brother is an experienced GSD person, had 3 up until a year or so ago. I think he is the ideal person to help Simon through this.

Thanks guys.
 
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Great progress and good advice. Do not let your guard down when things are going well though. Someone can make a move that doesn't mean anything to us but can trigger a button you didn't know existed. I would certainly keep him muzzled for a long time (months even) in the presence of people he could potentially have a problem with.
 

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I agree with Terri -- I would add one thing: buy Simon's favorite, high-value, meaty treats, stuff a treat pouch full, and let your brother randomly, silently drop them as he walks through the house near Simon. He's not "offering" -- he's just a human treat dispenser leaving a trail of nibbles. The goal is for Simon to make an association between your brother and "good stuff" -- some classical counter-conditioning.



My DH does this with our foster dogs that are afraid of men, and it really helps. It can take a while for them to want to take treats out of his hand, but they start to look forward to him coming into the room quite quickly, expecting treats from him.

I've heard of this technique from one of the trainer podcasts I listen to. They call it The Leaky Toddler. It is not a for-sure thing to do but works more often than not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The leaky toddler, that is funny :) Any suggestions in the event that he should so after my brother? The transporter only got up once, after he was done eating and Simon didn't do anything, but if my brother, who has more freedom in my home, decides to willy-nilly go to the bathroom or lord forbid, the refrigerator for a refreshment and Simon lunges, what do I do? His recall is good, should I just call him to me, if he heads in brother's general direction? Should I confine him after the misdeed? His stay is good. Should my brother ask permission to move, so I can give the stay command? Or should Simon just be dragging around a line and I just react to a move on his part?

I really am out of my element, but so excited by yesterday's developments. I do not like square one and would rather not return to it.

It is so great having so many wise (and patient) people to turn to on this forum.
 

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Use your best judgment.If Simon has his muzzle on and your brother is willing to help (and doesn't startle easily!) He should just go about his business and ignore him.Simon may begin to understand his lunging will not drive away what makes him uncomfortable.
If you decide to keep a line on him you will have to be diligent and time the corrections carefully,before he gets wound up to lunge.
 

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Just my novice thought but if your brother is going to be dropping tid bits here and there, there is a pretty good chance that at some point Simon may get up to follow him to the fridge or bathroom etc. if your good at reading Simons expressions and body you should be able to read Simon's intent and since your brother has experience with GSDs and Simon will be muzzled, If the facial expression and body language is relaxed, I would trust your brother if he is ok with Simon approaching.

I wanted to add this from one novice to another, Mine isn't aggressive to humans but he often had the serious look in his eye that made me wary, I found that the more relaxed I was and if I smiled often, my boy relaxed. If I was nervous or uptight, my boy stayed serious. It's just something to keep in mind as you work through this.
 

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I've heard of this technique from one of the trainer podcasts I listen to. They call it The Leaky Toddler. It is not a for-sure thing to do but works more often than not.

I've never heard that name for it, but I love it! Do you mind linking the podcast? I'd love to have an online resource to send new foster volunteers to!


I think we got the idea on treat dropping from one of Patricia McConnell's books, or maybe one of her blog articles. I feel like most of what I've gleaned about about CCC I learned from reading her stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update: My brother has been here for 3 days, dropping treats and Simon is doing great. Exception is when my brother gets near me, then all bets are off. Simon goes after him, trying to bite, but is muzzled. He barks furiously, lunging and it really unnerves me, my brother has nerves of steel and doesn't even flinch. I tell Simon to 'leave it' and he does. How should my brother address the dog and what can I do to prevent this reaction so Simon knows everything is cool? Brother is leaving in 2 days and I would really like it if I could get some practice in before he does. So I can work with other people who don't possess the bravery of my brother. Much thanks in advance.
 

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Quick suggestion with the treat tossing. Rather than doing it randomly, ONLY reward Simon when he has soft eyes, and relaxed body language. You can easily see a dog go from chill to hard, if you know him. Your brother should be able to read dogs well enough to know the difference.

Taking it one step forward, only acknowledge the dog or give him any attention when he is relaxed/soft in his body and mind. If you are really consistent in this, you will see a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think the word 'unbalanced' should have a picture of Simon next to it in the dictionary. It's been a week and this dog will approach my brother, get petted, will sit when asked by him. The the next moment go after him, like white on rice. Trying to bite him, repeatedly and barking furiously.

I am completely exhausted, watching every move by this dog, and so is my brother. It's been an unpleasant experience for both of us.

I think the only recourse is to keep Simon confined when I have guests. He doesn't seem to be bothered by being gated in a separate room and that would certainly offer me and my guests some peace of mine.

Thank you for all the input. I truly think Simon is as far as he is going to go with socialization. The breeder of this dog does not want to meet me in a dark alley....
 
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