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tortienutmeg

adopting a 5 year old male that is people aggressive

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He is people aggressve with those he doesn't know. He does not like to be looked directly in the eyes. How can I get him to trust people. He is fine with kids,just adults. I will be his 3rd home and after a while of me sitting down he came around and took treats from me. How can I make this move into our home easier for him?

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Get thee to a behaviorist - ideally a CPDT (certified pet dog trainer), a veterinary behaviorist (vet degree w/ behavior specialization), or a certified applied animal behaviorist.

 

Given the potential for human aggression to result in bites to the public, you need professional help.

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I agree - find a behaviorist who knows what he or she is doing! Someone who's worked with dogs like this before... not someone who will tell you to flip the dog over or yank his chain.

 

Staring in the eyes is rude in dog language. When I first got my dog, I had to tell everyone to just not do that. I still have to tell them that if they're big people, or wearing strange glasses. The best person who ever greeted my dog early on squatted down, facing away from the dog, and held her hand out behind her. Buddy immediately went to her with glee. She took away all the scary things - eye contact, face-to-face greeting, quick approach.

 

Take things slowly. Don't force the dog to do anything right now. My behaviorist walked with us, and trained me to watch for calm behavior from Buddy and to reinforce it with treats and a practiced "good job" happy phrase.

 

Something that worked really well with Buddy early on was walking 10 - 15 feet BEHIND strange people and dogs. He doesn't feel scared or threatened when he's behind, and once he knew and trusted the shape/smell of someone, he could be near them without reacting.

 

Read "Bringing Light to Shadow," and all of Patricia McConnell's books.

 

Good luck!

 

Mary

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Sorry I don't have time to respond fully at the moment. If you use the search function on these boards, and also check the archives you'll find plenty of past discussions on the subject of aggression. I concur with the advice about reading Patricia McConnell's books on the subject. She has also written a brief, step by step manual called "The Cautious Canine" that will give you a game plan going forward. Her book, "The Other End of the Leash" offers terrific insight into the mind of a dog.

 

In the mean time I suggest you never allow your dog to be in a situation where he can hurt someone. Get him a crate, this will be his quiet place so he has somewhere to go when strangers come over where he can feel safe and unmolested. When you feel confident enought to allow a controlled situation to occur with a stranger let him be the one to decide make the approach. Don't allow a stranger to initiate the first contact. That will let him control his comfort zone.

 

One year ago next week, I brought home a half starved un-neutered 4 year old male aussie that I had found abandoned in the National Forest. Immediately after bringing him home he wouldn't allow anyone near me. After a few false starts, with so-called trainers (one with dreadful consequences) I sought help from a veterinary behaviorist. She outlined a positive and detailed approach to his aggression. She also put him on a mild anti-anxiety prescription to raise his threshold for reacting. And the first thing we did was begin Karen Pryor's "Protocol for Relaxation" . Try doing a web search for it.

 

This weekend I'm going out of town and leaving a petsitter to stay at my house. This will be the first time I've been able to take a trip since Boo came to me. This is a huge milestone. I've worked on introducing Boo slowly to the petsitter over the last 3-4 weeks. On monday, I left the house, leaving Boo with his muzzle on while she came and let herself in. It was kind of a dry run... and he did great. If you do seek professional help (and I highly recommend it) be sure the individual is qualifed. Anybody can say they are a behaviorist. You want someone who is credentialed and uses a positive approach. Good luck!

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He is neutered and when he came into my house he was muzzled. I feel confident in adopting him. I already have a border collie and they got along great. His current owner said he is fine after a few mintues with new people. He does have a crate and I do plan on using it.

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Here is a link to the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists:

 

DACVB Site

 

You might be able to get some good help in forming a behavior plan if there is someone near you.

 

Best wishes from us.

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Aarrgghh. What is it with people adopting dogs with serious agression problems when they know little or nothing about treating these problems? No offense meant to the OP -- I'm sure you have your reasons -- but it just seems like the border collie world is overflowing with dog-human matches like this. Rescues don't make such placements. Responsible breeders don't make such placements. Why do they happen so often?

 

To be sure, there are people on these boards who have started from scratch with such a dog, worked hard, learned a lot, and reached a point where they were content with the situation. But I would venture to say that they are in the minority. It's not easy even when you do know what you're doing (read "Bringing Light to Shadow" for a good example). Don't expect it to be easy. And don't expect to transform your pup into a happy go lucky dog who can go anywhere with nary a care. It *could* turn out this way, but odds are that no matter how much work you do, you will always be responsible for managing interactions with your dog to some degree.

 

One of the people on this board whom I most respect is "KJ", who took in what turned out to be a dog with some serious aggression problems, came here for advice, listened to all of it and tried a lot of it, and is still hanging in there with Shep ,where a *lot* of people, quite possibly including me and you, would have thrown in the towel. You can search for KJ's posts if you're interested in her story. She recapped it last summer in this thread.

 

If you do a search on the word "aggression" on this board, you too will find tons of advice.

 

Okay, done ranting. This was not a rant at anyone in particular, and especially not at the OP. I'm just frustrated that there are so many dogs out there who need significant behavior modification to live among us, and so few of us who have much of a clue about what it takes to achieve that.

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Aarrgghh. What is it with people adopting dogs with serious agression problems when they know little or nothing about treating these problems?... I'm just frustrated that there are so many dogs out there who need significant behavior modification to live among us, and so few of us who have much of a clue about what it takes to achieve that.

 

It is frustrating... and I think perhaps not all the faults of us adopters!

 

I deliberately turned down adopting a little dog who had been adopted out and bit a kid. This dog was pound-centered, and had decided that the rescue/shelter she was in was her home. I knew she was too much for me.

 

Buddy, on the other hand, was "sweet," I was told. Just shy. I wasn't told that he could be aggressive with men and other dogs. I signed a paper swearing to work on whatever behavior problems he might have. The shelter "contract" said that they gave me the dog without making any promises about him, and that it was my job to try to fix him.

 

I took my "vows" very seriously! But for the first couple weeks I had him, I thought I might have to have him PTS, because I knew if my quiet, calm, 1-person, female home couldn't help him, probably there wasn't a better place waiting.

 

I also think there's a societal message that we hear from the time we're babies: LOVE and KINDNESS can fix anything. After teaching 8th grade long enough, I think that's probably not true with humans who've been through too much, too soon. And why should it be any different for dogs? I was lucky that my guy was still young enough to relearn trust of humans... but four or five years down the line, it probably would have been very different.

 

Mary

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Where are you at?

I've got a couple of REALLY good lists I can refer you to...Trainers on the lists can refer you to

appropriate places in your area... PM if you like.

 

Tara

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I am not an ignorant person. His current owner got him at 8 months old from another couple that were divorcing. When I met the dog he was cautious but okay. I didn't feel threatened. He did have him in for obedience and the trainer handled him well,as well as the groomer,this was as long as his *owner* was not around. He has a strong bond with his owner. He has not bitten anyone and his owner is being very honest with me. I was just wondering how to make it easier on the dog when he is left here in a couple of days. I feel he will be fine,that there will be no real problems.

 

Even in the past with his owner being around and him showng aggressiveness,he NEVER did that here at my home,and rather he sat behind his owner and the owner was very shocked saying he has never done that. I wouldn't adopt him if he has bitten and he was a real suck when he was here,drinking,taking treats,running around.

 

I am not expectng him to become a perfect dog,I realize this. I can protect him and others by muzzling him when giong for walks,which currently is what is being done now. I am also going to talk to the vet about the behaviour too.

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Alaska, I understand your thinking. However, the fact is, there simply isn't enough homes for the dogs with NO issues, much less trying to find homes for the ones who do. Sometimes, it just isn't possible to get a "knowledgeable" person to take in the dog. So, sometimes, a "green" person does, and comes to places like this to seek advice. If a person understands the issues, and tries to take advice and work with them, it is a good thing. Otherwise, the dog will be PTS. Or go even more nuts, sitting in a shelter. I suppose you could say that, if the person takes the dog with issues, the dog without issues sits and waits. Perhaps, but still, the ones with no issues gets adopted quicker. Then you get dogs with no issues and is adopted by a "green" person, and because of that is allowed to develope issues. Life is a roller coaster. You can't draw a line in the dirt and expect to stay on it. Because something will come along and toss you off of it! IMO, there are too many who wish to make issues out of ordinary things. So she took in a dog with aggression. She came looking for help and got it. And was willing to try some of the things. This dog may or may not ever be able to be around people, but at least the dog got a chance. If this person had not taken the dog, where would it be right now?

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Ohh... good points!

 

Also, consider this: Before I got my dog, I had no experience dealing with the kinds of issues he has. Now, after a crash course and two years of experience, I'm much more confident about reactive behavior. And next time I adopt a dog, I think I'll probably use my experience to take in another dog with similar issues, specifically because I've gotten so much on the job training with this one.

 

So, newbies who end up with these dogs might eventually end up as experienced handlers who help more dogs.

 

Mary

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I concur with most of the other posters in regard to getting proffesional help, but have confidence that a new enviorment may in and of itself work wonders. I purchased a started trial dog 7 years ago that had serious aggression issues, hence the bargain basement price. She is still with me and I have had to do very little, other than common sense, to make her a wonderful member of our family. She was known to have bitten several children, and about 10 adults, including the wife of her previous owner. Her seller had to but her in a crate for me, and she showed me her teeth all the way home when I'd look at her. Long story short, we just have never let her get in a position where she feels she can't escape. She loves kids, and when folks come to visit she is usually right there wanting to be petted. I do not let anybody mess with her while she is crated or in a run, as those are situations where she may show aggression. I am a relaxed individual, and when I have a dog on leash I expect good behavior, I don't tense up and worry. The dogs feel this lack of concern, and as a result they don't feel any threat. (I wish I could apply this principle a horseback, but nope, I see all the "boogers", and my tense seat tells the horse to be afraid too.) Border collies are smart enough that if you expect a behavior, that's what you'll get, good or bad!

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Alaska, I understand your thinking. However, the fact is, there simply isn't enough homes for the dogs with NO issues, much less trying to find homes for the ones who do. Sometimes, it just isn't possible to get a "knowledgeable" person to take in the dog. So, sometimes, a "green" person does, and comes to places like this to seek advice. If a person understands the issues, and tries to take advice and work with them, it is a good thing. Otherwise, the dog will be PTS. Or go even more nuts, sitting in a shelter. I suppose you could say that, if the person takes the dog with issues, the dog without issues sits and waits. Perhaps, but still, the ones with no issues gets adopted quicker. Then you get dogs with no issues and is adopted by a "green" person, and because of that is allowed to develope issues. Life is a roller coaster. You can't draw a line in the dirt and expect to stay on it. Because something will come along and toss you off of it! IMO, there are too many who wish to make issues out of ordinary things. So she took in a dog with aggression. She came looking for help and got it. And was willing to try some of the things. This dog may or may not ever be able to be around people, but at least the dog got a chance. If this person had not taken the dog, where would it be right now?

 

Thanks, Dixie Girl for sticking up for us "green" people. I was one of those with our Lady Beam. She quit performing her excellent agility and frisbee skills.

Something spooked her and she no longer cared for the crowd. She need to retire at a young age to be a house dog. We took her in.

Lots of patience and reading up on the issues she had helped me. Lots of love and understanding that she is what she is. I let her be to some extent.

She does not care for other dogs and that's okay. She does not care for people who visit and that's okay. When we do have visitors she goes to her room and comes out when she feels safe enough to come out. After a while she is sitting under the table rubbing on legs and enjoying the company in her own way. Never has she bit anyone. When we walk she minds her own business, not caring to make new friends. At home she loves her cats, her swiming pool and her frisbee play. I love her and all her issues. I cannot imagine her sitting in a crate or cage because she barks too much.

She has her big king size bed, her picture window to look out for her herd (cats), her swimming pool and yard area and she has us who love her no matter what!

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