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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

My parents will come over to my house in the next coming months to stay over for about 20 days. My GSD is an indoor dog, but he is aggressive to people that he doesn't know yet. In the normal day time while we go to work, he is just a sweet guard dog, so we just let him roam around in the living room. What should I do in this case? My options are:
1. Put him in the pet hotel during my parents stay
2. Muzzle him for first few days until he is comfy with my parents
3. Cage him in the backyard so he won't have to interact with my parents

My expectation is he be friendly to my parents and I understand that it needs some times to be possible.
 

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What do you mean by aggressive?

How would he do in a pet hotel? They would need to be able to handle him and feed him and clean up. Are your parents experienced dog people?

I would consider crating him. He will get used to seeing your parents around the house.

What do you mean cage him in the backyard? Do you mean a fenced kennel? If it is a shady safe spot that might be an option.

I wouldn't suggest letting him roam the home loose with your parents there wearing a muzzle. On several levels this is a really bad idea.
 

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Mia is super excited when people are over, then she calms down after a bit. I would have him in in short periods until he is used to the new household members-maybe a day or so. We had an 8 year old overnight guest that Mia adored...she went in his room when he went to bed and kissed him goodnight! My dad visited and I was really nervous since he is 84 and a bit unsteady on his feet. After he was sitting down we introduced him to Mia and she did fine...she seemed to sense that he was a tad frail. Your dog should be able to read your cues fairly quickly.
 

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Again, I do not what level of aggressive you mean so do not take this as gospel.

Mine was a little uncomfortable with new people (barking, etc) but calmed down if allowed to spend enough time with them. The important thing was to let her in to their room in the morning so they did not all of a sudden pop out after we were gone. You would be surprised how quickly they warm up.

Most important, if you are nervous about your dog when you your dog and your parents are all together, the GSD will pick that up and be more agitated. They will feed off of you.
 

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Think after a few days he will see they are part of the "pack". Just make sure to introduce properly and make them brief. Increase exposure and reward for good behavior. I would probably crate a little more than usual but supplement with more exercise. Take your parents out with you on walks and have them feed the pup.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
In pet hotel, he was just fine with all the personnel, they even groomed him at the end of stay. But I was just afraid like what happened to me over the july 4 th when I took him to my friend's home, firstly I was feeling nervous because there are a lot of my friends in that house and walking around him, so he was still cool until a lady tried to pet him getting closer to his tail area and suddenly he just barked and tried to charge this lady, but luckily I was there, I grabbed his leash and pulled him closer to me. Since that moment, everyone was scared to him and I am getting more and more nervous. Probably I should just introduce him to my parents with muzzle on until I feel comfortable then I can unmuzzle him. Of course, i will not muzzle him for more than an hour, only when i have him interact with my parents.

About the outside crate, it is under the shaded area, I love my dog and I don't want him to get sick of course :)
What do you mean by aggressive?

How would he do in a pet hotel? They would need to be able to handle him and feed him and clean up. Are your parents experienced dog people?

I would consider crating him. He will get used to seeing your parents around the house.

What do you mean cage him in the backyard? Do you mean a fenced kennel? If it is a shady safe spot that might be an option.

I wouldn't suggest letting him roam the home loose with your parents there wearing a muzzle. On several levels this is a really bad idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I really hope that he will see them as part of pack. I really want them to be in the house together, without anyone of us has to leave the house.

Think after a few days he will see they are part of the "pack". Just make sure to introduce properly and make them brief. Increase exposure and reward for good behavior. I would probably crate a little more than usual but supplement with more exercise. Take your parents out with you on walks and have them feed the pup.
 

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The situation at your friends is totally different-lots of people and a new situation-he was stressed and really didn;t know how to act. Your parents are two people, and you can demonstate that they are family. I would try in doses and play it by ear. How old is he?
 

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What you describe could be a stressful situation for a dog. Your parents visit shouldn't be so stressful if handled correctly.

I really would not want to muzzle the dog. Seriously, I just don't see the need and it could cause more problems. Muzzles have their use, but this just doesn't seem like a good option in this situation.

I think you need to let the dog naturally interact with your parents in a calm positive manner. Have them simply ignore him, until he is comfortable. Perhaps the first few days crate the dog but it is almost certain that he will become used to them before long.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
He just turned 3 years old, so what should you do technically when going to stranger's home? Sorry i am a newbie.


The situation at your friends is totally different-lots of people and a new situation-he was stressed and really didn;t know how to act. Your parents are two people, and you can demonstate that they are family. I would try in doses and play it by ear. How old is he?
 

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There are already some great ideas posted; so I won't repeat those; BUT I will repeat; NO muzzle; don't get me wrong; muzzles are helpful in certain instances, but getting to warm up to your parents; you want him to feel comfy and not agitated in his own home; this will cause him to be unruly and irritated, not a good introduction; he's gonna associate your parents with him being restrained and uncomfortable... Not a good thing
 

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My Mom is visiting now. My dogs are in crates. They like her a little too much. She can't always handle the jumping and slightly more forceful nature of their greetings. She loves to sneak them cookies while they're in their crates. She will come out and visit with them in the yard when I have gotten their initial crazy out.

My Mom is not a big dog person (with the possible exception of Argos...he seems to really know how to suck up to her). So I don't force the situation. Since you have some concerns about agression with your dog, I would start out the same way I would bringing a new dog into the house. I would crate in the house...so that everyone can get used to each other being there...then I would go on walks together...then I would let the dog in the house with a leash on so you can have control there...and then if he's shown himself to be trustworthy at all phases I would relax. And yes. Tell the parents to just ignore him...and maybe give him treats when he's well behaved.
 

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But I was just afraid like what happened to me over the july 4 th when I took him to my friend's home, firstly I was feeling nervous because there are a lot of my friends in that house and walking around him, so he was still cool until a lady tried to pet him getting closer to his tail area and suddenly he just barked and tried to charge this lady, but luckily I was there, I grabbed his leash and pulled him closer to me. Since that moment, everyone was scared to him and I am getting more and more nervous.
Most likely he was picking up on your being nervous and that made him nervous.
 

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I'd get some really, really good treats and let your parents
dole them out to him. Pick something he never gets otherwise,
smelly and "high value". Tiny bits of cheese or salmon bits
or whatever you think will work. Let HIM come to them, and
tell them at first not to try and pet him, just hand him a treat
and be very casual, use his name and tell him he's a good boy.

They can even give him commands, sometimes if they think
the person knows them and knows what to tell them (SIT, etc.)
they react better.
 

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When your parents come over I would try to wear out your dogs' energy and calm your own nerves -- for me I would take my dog for a run with me because it would make him tired (although not for long) and it is calming to me. If he's physically tired it may help him be calm when they come over.

The more nervous you are about a situation the more nervous/anxious the dog is going to be as well. So you need to try to stay calm (and not fake calm) and be confident in knowing your dog is not going to do anything. I notice with my dog that when I am feeling agitated/nervous he tends to "act out" more than usual and it frustrates me more...and it just keeps escalating. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to take a deep breath and relax.


And I definitely agree, get his FAVORITE treats and give them to your parents, if you make them his personal treat dispenser's he can't help but like them -- I mean, what dog doesn't love the person that gives them treats! -- even my dog hates the vet, although once the shots have been given and he knows he's finished he'll be their best friends for the treats they give him haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Cool, I usually play ball with him in the big field for about 45 minutes, it usually wears him off entirely, I will probably do that before he meets my parents. Thanks for another good advise.
When your parents come over I would try to wear out your dogs' energy and calm your own nerves -- for me I would take my dog for a run with me because it would make him tired (although not for long) and it is calming to me. If he's physically tired it may help him be calm when they come over.

The more nervous you are about a situation the more nervous/anxious the dog is going to be as well. So you need to try to stay calm (and not fake calm) and be confident in knowing your dog is not going to do anything. I notice with my dog that when I am feeling agitated/nervous he tends to "act out" more than usual and it frustrates me more...and it just keeps escalating. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to take a deep breath and relax.


And I definitely agree, get his FAVORITE treats and give them to your parents, if you make them his personal treat dispenser's he can't help but like them -- I mean, what dog doesn't love the person that gives them treats! -- even my dog hates the vet, although once the shots have been given and he knows he's finished he'll be their best friends for the treats they give him haha.
 

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Might work if you mixed it up a bit. See how he does with your folks. Let him spend time outside, let him spend time in the house (when you can give him 100% of your attention) and maybe even crate him some if he gets a little nervy. Perhaps even letting him spend a day or two at the hotel during the week to give everyone a break if it's needed.
 
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