STOP! I’m going to Bite You; Never Mind…I will go Get Help!
This is the dog that threatens to decapitate you when you go to someone’s house, but when you are in the house he is not sure whether he should rush you and bite you, bite your ankles, or run away.
Most dogs need a little help with their doggy door manners but I feel particularly bad for this kind of dog.
And, I feel particularly bad for the people that visit this dog’s house!
I have a new client. He is an 8 month old Shar-pei mix rescue puppy and this is one of the many problems he has in his life.
He rushes the door, teeth bared; hackles raised and threatens to rip my head off when I come to his house.
When I come through the door, however, he is unsure that he wants to challenge me so he rushes forward and barks then flies backwards and tries to get away from me and the situation.
I feel sorry for him. I feel sorry for his new family. And, I feel sorry for ME and anyone else who makes the mistake of coming to visit.
No one wants to feel like they are going to have their eyeballs plucked out, or ankles bitten.
And, I know he doesn’t like feeling this way but he simply doesn’t have the social skills to deal with this kind of stress in his environment.
In his mind….
He has all these instincts that tell him to protect his new home and family. And, because he hasn’t been socialized properly, he is not convinced that he wants to meet new people, or that they have anything to offer him.
So he throws a stinky fit, and barks and growls and threatens people to keep them out of his space.
When people enter his home his confidence is tested and he is pushed to the brink. He wants to continue to threaten to hurt people, but he is afraid to get too close so he runs backwards and tries to get away and out of the situation.
The Biggest Problem, you Ask?
The biggest problem is the sense of confidence the owner of the dog has; because the dog is backing up. He thinks his dog is not being aggressive or will not bite because the dog eventually backs up and concedes space.
However, this is the dog I fear the most as a trainer.
The dog that blatantly wants to rip my head off and spit down my neck is pretty easily spotted by me and his owner. He doesn’t back down or allow people into his home without a leash or restraint.
But, people think if a dog is slightly fearful, he won’t ever make contact with people coming over.
While this is true for me and probably other very dominant people; someday someone who is smaller (children), older (the elderly) or just apprehensive about dogs suddenly becomes someone the dog can dominate and bite.
As his confidence grows in his new environment, he is more likely to bite… and then run!
And, then possibly just bite.
If you have a dog like this, he is conflicted.
He feels a need to protect you, but he doesn’t want to have to get close enough to the new person/persons to do it.
He needs for you to take the stress out of the situation by telling him that you are in control!
Although he tries, he really doesn’t want to be in control! He would much prefer that you step up and tell him to stop and then give him something else to do!
He feels like someone needs to be in control and if you won’t, he has to step up and into a position he is not comfortable being in!
If You Have a Dog Like this…
- Put him on a leash prior to people coming over.
- If someone shows up unannounced, keep a leash by the door and possibly put a sign on the door that says “Dog in Training, Please Give us a Moment to Put him on a Leash”. Trust me, people will appreciate the fact that you are taking control and will not be allowing the dog to bite them.
- Work on obedience in the house prior to company coming over, so you can use it when you have company.
- I have my dogs do down stays at my feet when people visit.
- If they listen to me, they are rewarded with really good treats (like chicken or cheese) and then I also have people toss treats at their feet.
- This way, company is exciting but not too exciting and they are getting the BEST treats from me for listening to my commands.
All Dogs Can Benefit from This Training
- It doesn’t matter if your dog is aggressive with people
- Fearful of people
- Over excited
- Or Jumps on People
By putting your dog on a leash and giving him obedience commands to do, you are controlling the situation. By rewarding him yourself, you are teaching him that compliance and listening to you; is actually rewarding to him.
And, it is really simple to do!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.