Dog Biting/Growling At Strangers. Advice Needed.

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by sunny & the 5 egg layers, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. sunny & the 5 egg layers

    sunny & the 5 egg layers Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 29, 2011
    My 1 1/2 year old 45lb border collie is scared of strangers. If a stranger is around she gets low to the ground, extends her claws and growls. She has also nipped at strangers before. She is fine with non strangers though. She is lovable, and I can do whatever I want to her (including having her off leash) when there is no strangers around. I really need help with her. I would love to take her out in public but I can't because she is so nervous around strangers. How do I fix this problem?
    Thanks for all and any input. [​IMG]
     
  2. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2011
    First, let me say that you don't want to push her. It sounds like she has bad nerves and is reacting out of fear - that is the most common cause of dog bites. Each time she is put into a situation and reacts this way, it kind of reinforces the fear, especially if she is corrected/punished for biting.

    This isn't really something that anyone can help with online. She is going to have to be evaluated in person by an experienced professional. You might be able to start by taking her to empty public places and getting her comfortable away from home. I wouldn't risk letting her near people, though, until you know what is triggering her response and how/if it can be worked with.
     
  3. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State
    sunny & the 5 egg layers :

    My 1 1/2 year old 45lb border collie is scared of strangers. If a stranger is around she gets low to the ground, extends her claws and growls. She has also nipped at strangers before. She is fine with non strangers though. She is lovable, and I can do whatever I want to her (including having her off leash) when there is no strangers around. I really need help with her. I would love to take her out in public but I can't because she is so nervous around strangers. How do I fix this problem?
    Thanks for all and any input. [​IMG]

    The best thing you can do is find a trainer who is comfortable with aggression (surprising how many trainers will not even speak to you if you say your dog has aggression issues), set up a behavior evaluation that includes your house and going out of your house to a lightly busy area so the trainer can see the behavior (other than with her/himself). Ask the trainer if he/she has worked with fear based issues and what the outcomes were in those cases, and be sure to ask what behavior modification plans they use. If they cannot answer that question do not hire that trainer. References are a must for any trainer that says he/she deals with severe behavior issues.

    There's systematic conditioning that must happen with fear and aggression problems, and a trainer that hasn't successfully done this with clients is not going to be able to help you. It is a long process and involves a lot of time on the owners part as well as being very very honest about progress and doing your homework assigned.​
     
  4. sunny & the 5 egg layers

    sunny & the 5 egg layers Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 29, 2011
    Thank you. I contacted a trainer a few months ago. This particular place takes your dog away from you for a certain amount of days and then brings it back and it no longer will be aggressive towards strangers.... After hearing that it got me kind of wondering what they actually do to the dogs? [​IMG] I never did get a reponse from the place. Is this typical for trainers who specialise in aggressive dogs (to take them away from their house, and owners)?

    I will continue to look for trainers in my area. Thank you all for the input thus far.
     
  5. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State
    sunny & the 5 egg layers :

    Thank you. I contacted a trainer a few months ago. This particular place takes your dog away from you for a certain amount of days and then brings it back and it no longer will be aggressive towards strangers.... After hearing that it got me kind of wondering what they actually do to the dogs? [​IMG] I never did get a reponse from the place. Is this typical for trainers who specialise in aggressive dogs (to take them away from their house, and owners)?

    I will continue to look for trainers in my area. Thank you all for the input thus far.

    There's a LOT of varied opinions regarding a trainer taking dogs to a kennel or in the trainers home for training and/or behavior work. There are a lot of trainers who have never done it and say it is not a good idea, there are even more owners who have had bad experiences.

    My opinion? Depends on the circumstances. I, personally, have a board and train program at my house that has been extremely successful. Here is why it works though: the owners come and train with me as many times as they want to after the 10 day mark. That means if an owner wants to come every day after the first ten days they are more than welcome. I encourage clients to come and participate as much as they possibly can. This ensures the client and dog are both used to the commands, the routine and what to do in all situations. That is why my program works.

    A program that takes a dog for x amount of weeks and then you pick him up with nothing more than a private lesson at pick up time is a person who is just doing it for the money and doens't care about their clients or dogs-- and doesn't care about the quality of the training either.​
     

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