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reacting to dog walker

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Hi, folks--I'm the owner of the BC that wouldn't go outside. We've made great progress with him, thanks to all the good advice we got here. Now I have another puzzling dilemma I'm hoping you can help me with.

We both work during the day and Morgan is crated while we're at work. For the past six months, we've had a neighbor/dog walker come at lunchtime and let him out. Some days he'll go out in the yard; other days he won't and that's OK. But since Memorial Day, he has refused to come out of his crate when she comes by, even for treats. This morning, I suggested she put a small piece of meatball (which he loves) just outside his crate. He came out just long enough to grab it, bared his teeth at her, and then went back in the crate.

I'm really troubled that he bared his teeth at her. Even more puzzling, when we see her away from the house (on the path, for example), he is fine with her, allows him to pet him, etc.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Thank you!

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Some animals - dogs and cats - can be cage aggressive. They bark and carry on inside a crate but do not act that way outside of it. Why that is could vary. Some feel threatened because there is no escape I think, some are territorial...


I would try to have her come when you are home. See if he is ok with her while you are there in the house. Try him on a leash outside his crate and inside his crate. I would put the leash on him put him in his crate and bring him out with her standing there. Then put him back in and out then let her take him out. Since she has a leash you will be able to bring it out without a fuss. I would not make a big deal out of it, make it as matter of fact as possible. If he does something that needs a verbal correction I would still correct but again make it as simple as possible. Let him know there is nothing to be worried about but growling is not acceptable.


You will have to judge his reaction and body language as you go to see if he is understanding and accepting things or more worried but that is where I would begin.

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Excellent advice from Denice. And it bears repeating - keep things as low key and matter of fact as possible. The more 'ho hum, business as usual' you are, the greater the chance you have of your dog having a 'ho hum, business as usual' response.


If it works as far as Denice outlined, the next step might be to go on a walk w/your neighbor and Morgan, with her holding the leash. Gradually drop behind, so that neighbor + dog are walking well ahead of you.


If this part goes well, you probably have a dog that needs slower, step-by-step introductions to changes in his routine. If this part does not go well, (Morgan gets excessively worried, etc) then it's time to get some professional help.


Good luck - for what it's worth, my quirky beasts have always responded to 'thin slicing' of new situations very well.


Ruth and Gibbs

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Any chance the dog walker could just hang out in the house and let the pup come out at his own pace with no pressure and work with treats from there? Maybe leave a trail of treats before opening the crate that lead to him/her sitting in another room watching tv? I found with our timid boy that letting him take his time doing things without pressure was the key.

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Thank you! She has tried the treats trail, but I'm going to suggest that she leave the room after putting it down. That may work. She came over today and we all just hung out in the yard for a little while.

Morgan is about 2 and a half. As I mentioned in an earlier post (about his unwillingness to go far from our gate on walks) he is a rescue from a puppy mill.

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