How to train people?

trianglejohnNovember 11, 2011

So I adopted a cranky dog. He has a history of biting, snarling, snapping and being destructive. Most of the time he is charming but a little reserved. I don't mind. I believe he will get it with proper training and a firm hand and I have the time. My problem is "those other people". I don't have a busy household, no children, a big yard out in the country, few visitors or neighbors. All of this is why I took on a challenging dog (I doubted anyone else would want him). But now that he is here and I am working him through the problems the few people that come over have all sorts of conflicting ideas about how to manage a dog. They are "dog" people. What they do works fine for their pets but this guy is a different kind of animal. I can't find the words to correct these people and their ideas of how to behave around this dog. What do you say besides, "That's exactly how you get bitten" or "I'd prefer you NOT do that with my dog!" They don't take my warnings seriously until they get snapped at and then they tell me to send this dog back, he isn't worth saving. It's exasperating.

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What a gift you have given to the grumpy guy! So sorry you are having such a hard time with the people that do come over. Maybe you could post a set of rules at the front door for when they do come to visit so there is no question as to what is expected of them when they visit while you are working through your pup's issues?
I know I had to do that at one point when we had some conflicts in our, then, pack of four. I realize sometimes people just don't listen but maybe if you emphasize the need to respect your rules to help this guy work through things they would listen?
Hoping for the best for you. I know there are alot of times when I definitely prefer my dog(s) to people.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 3:38PM
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Grumpy Guy is very lucky to have found you. I know someone who adopted a grumpy, BIG rottweiler and in a few months he was a puppy dog. Grump to sweetie pie.

Since it was probably people who made him grumpy you may want to keep him away from dumb people who can make him worse. I am certainly no dog expert but I have seen the miracles that Cesar Milan pulls off with cranky dogs. He often puts a leash on them and keeps them under his control when they are around clueless people. Energy seems to be everything with dogs and Grumpy Guy needs good, positive energy. You can't change the people but you can have a wonderful, positive effect on G.G.

Whatever you decide to do please keep us posted. Everyone here loves a good dog adoption story. By the way, what is Grumpy Guy's real name?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 5:45PM
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Have had the very same problem with a little llhasa we rescued as an abused adult dog and also with our registered schnauzer who just was bred so tight he was almost literally his own g'pa.

The first dog was grumpy and frightened and bit my husband the first day we brought him home from the shelter. I told my spouse the buck ended here, because he had been in and out of shelters and the pound repeatedly because of his temperament, and if we took him back one more time, he'd probably be put down. Yeah.......we pretty much just learnt to work around his issues until he was with us long enough to heal in his little soul. It was a long haul, but so worth it. Because if you didn't hit his triggers, he was precious and loving. But, like you said the problem was with outsiders who 'knew' dogs.

The second dog never really could be trusted. We loved him passionately and 9 times out of ten, he was fine. He had a low threshold however, with anxiety overload. It's just the way he was wired. His big issue was children and their noise and movements. He was caged when my g'kids came over because you just never knew when he'd make the lunge. He was so handsome that adults inevitably would stick their faces down within range and totally ignore my warnings, all the time squealing and making wierd noises. If they kept their distance, he was fine and non-aggressive. People just don't listen and they need to when they are on your turf, in your house and are guests.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 5:49PM
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Well this little guy is a busy little Basenji, got him through the Basenji Rescue folks (wonderful organization) because I wanted a smaller dog and the partner always wanted a basenji. I found the first dog who is now an ancient Dobie/Vizsla female who practically reads my mind and just does what I want before I ask her to. She is so well behaved that friends have kidnapped her before just to take her along with their families for a day at the beach or park - so they could pretend they owned a dog. She obeys anyone and loves everyone (kinda, she has run into a few problems in the past). But she is too big and getting kinda old (13)and I couldn't stand the thought of being dogless so I demanded that now is the time to adopt. Her name is Tami Faye Barker.

The little crank is named Tsiba D. Badu (sounds like Zeeba Deeba Doo) but I usually call him Zeeb or Knucklehead. The family that gave him up had children and I believe one of them pulled his ears because he gets snappy if you touch them. Mostly he just tries extra hard to be the dominant thing in the room and it is hard to get through to visitors that those cute things he does, like jumping up on people are really dominance motions. And not to pet his head or pull his ears.

I used to rescue llamas and I had the same problem with humans then. You can't allow llamas to push against you or lean on you - it's a sign of aggression. People always wanted to snuggle them which over time can just ruin them.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 8:09PM
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LOL. You are kind to work with this boy, perhaps baby gate him in another room until he's trained and is comfortable with new people around. Have to share though that jumping up on people isn't "dominance." (I hate that overused/misused word. Dominance is simply priority access to resources.) Your dog hasn't been trained not to jump, that's all. And what humans describe as 'grumpy' is fear or pain. Dogs aren't out to take over the world. No dog appreciates having their ears pulled, and dogs do not like being patted on the head either, though many will tolerate it. Pat yourself on the head, it's not pleasant!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 7:56AM
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I tell people we don't have "dogs", we have Welsh Corgis. There is a tendency for people to approach dogs, including service dogs, as if the animal is just waiting for their stupid advance. We have a Pembroke, Corky, who is easy going around nearly everyone. On the other hand, our Cardigan, Allie, is really stand-offish around anyone she does not know. I never, never approach a service dog or the dogs of people walking their's in our neighborhood. IF a dog approaches me in a friendly manner, I ask the owner if it is okay to pet their dog.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 10:11AM
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I sympathize with what you're saying. I have a schnauzer who was abused and neglected by her former owner, and as a result, she does not trust very many people. If there are lots of people around where I walk her, it is always amazing that people will allow their little children to run up to her and start 'petting' her without asking permission first.
She hates pats on the head, but if someone approaches her calmly, she does enjoy a little scratch under the chin. As for service dogs, I never try to pet them. But if the dog happens to be especially beautiful, I'll compliment the owner. People always appreciate compliments on their dogs.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 2:41PM
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I heartily commend you for adopting what others may consider an "unadoptable" dog. But as you say, it isn't the dog who is the problem, but rather the well-meaning human visitors who feel it is their duty to advise you. It reminds me a lot of the childless folks who never miss an opportunity to tell us parents the correct way to raise our children.... And I think your reaction should be similar. Thank them for their concern, then remind them DON'T TOUCH MY DOG!!!!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 7:35PM
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When I do something like that, I simply say something like

"This dog is in rehabilitation training. That means no contact unless I ask you to do something as a part of the rehabilitation."

Many 'dog' people simply just like dogs and figure that is good enough. They really don't understand dogs and tend to miss signs of trouble.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 12:57AM
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