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  • Overprotective of home and fear issues

    Hello all,
    We rescued a Dane in August when she was 14 months old. Don't know too much about her first year and whatever socialization she received. She is now 19 months old (spayed). When we first got her, she didn't have too many issues, maybe a little separation anxiety from me (she is much more "my" dog than my husband's). We have 4 children, ages 5-10. She is wonderful with them. About 3 months after we got her, she started showing fear aggression towards strangers in our home and my son's friends (ages 7-12). It is actually quite strange as she is much more reactive to boys than girls (a problem as 3 of our 4 are boys). She has never bitten but she has lunged. It was like a switch, one week she didn't have issues with kids and a week later when my son had friends sleepover, she was not ok with them being in the house and I had to keep her in a separate room. I know it doesn't take much to create a fear issue with dogs but there was no significant event that lead to this change in behavior. I'm not sure if it took three months to feel comfortable in our home and now she feels the need to protect? I've sent her to a board and train program which has really helped her become more obedient but didn't help with her behavior issues. We have had one behaviorist come over and didn't help too much and I have another appointment on Saturday with another one. I've tried a lot of different training methods and I'm not having very much luck. I've tried giving her tons of treats when she is around kids/strangers, have had them give her treats when they come over etc... She is totally normal at the dog park, has no issues with strangers or other dogs. She has even seen some boys and doesn't focus in on them the way she does around the house. We have a great dane puppy as well and she is good with him except for some food aggression that I have managed. She is such a sweet dog around my family and our extended family that she knows and it makes me sad she can't be that way all the time. Has anyone else had this issue or ideas that can help her not be so protective/fearful? Thanks!

  • #2
    A "board & Train" is not going to help at all and as a trainer not something I ever recomemend. The dog needs to learn how to behave in YOUR home with YOUR family and YOUR guests.. Having a behaviorist in once is also not going to change things.. it is something that needs to be worked with for however long it takes.. it could be weeks, months.. The behaviorist needs to observe the dog, see the triggers, see the body language, etc, etc... and then enlist ways to help this particular dog in the situations.. They may or may not see everything they need ot see to give an evaluation and helpful info on the first visit.. it is an ongoing process and all family needs to be on board (yes even the kids).
    sigpic
    Dale AKC CGC Evaluator
    Associate Member GDCNE
    Member GSPCA
    Member NAVHDA
    Member Central Maine Kennel Club
    High Hopes Great Danes & German Shorthairs

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    • #3
      Right, I wasn't assuming the board and train would help with behavior issues and anticipated that I would need a behaviorist. I spoke with a lot of behaviorists and trainers through email ( there is not very many to chose from where I live so I sought different opinions from people throughout the country) and a common theme was the first step was establishing obedience. She did really well and has done well with the place command which is helpful when I can tell she is getting anxious as she has a place to go to that will hopefully feel like a safe place for her. The board and train program was recommended by a friend who had positive results. It also gave us a chance to settle our new puppy in our home and socialize him to people and kids without him picking up on her behaviors.

      I realize that I would need to see a behaviorist more than once but I felt the one I had come to our home would not be very helpful which is why I am moving on and have another private session on Saturday. I could tell she was nervous around Marley and Marley picked up on that. She gave me a bunch of packets of training tips to work on. Like you said, I need someone to come into my home and actually witness these behaviors, I'm just struggling to find a service in my area that will do that. There are so many opinions on training styles and it is hard to know what will be effective and what will make things worse as all the opinions seem to contradict each other. A lot of talk of threshold and keeping your dog under it. We live by a school so I have been taking her outside to just watching the kids without being too close. She does just fine but as soon as I try to move a little closer she quickly goes over her threshold so I have to turn around. I have tried this many times with plenty of high quality treats but she quickly loses interest once she is more anxious. I understand this is a very long process and I am very motivated to work through this. I justdon't feel comfortable doing this on my own as we are talking about kids being triggers and I will not recreate the situation if it compromises safety. Not sure what kind of trainer you are but if you happen to have any recommendations for behaviorists in southern wisconsin, please share.

      I'm just hoping someone has gone through something similar and has seen change in their dog (not matter how long it took).

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      • #4
        It takes quite sometime to overcome an issue like yours and to desensitize.. A lot of consistency & patience.. Sometimes it never complately I'm assuming she has had a complete medical exam to rule out thyroid issues, pain issues, etc.. Treats sometimes work but more often then not they don't.. The dog gets too anxious and "shuts down".. If you haven't already study body language, learn what signs to look for so you can see when she is beginning ot show signs of being in a situation that is starting to make her uncomfortable.. Obedience training and making sure she knows she can look to you for guidance is a must.
        sigpic
        Dale AKC CGC Evaluator
        Associate Member GDCNE
        Member GSPCA
        Member NAVHDA
        Member Central Maine Kennel Club
        High Hopes Great Danes & German Shorthairs

        Comment


        • #5
          Are you real far from Madison? There are some behaviorists there that deal with reactive dog's that may be able to help. There is a group on FB called Wisconsin reactive dog support group. The admins there may be able to give you more information as well.
          search CARE Protocol on google as well. CARE is a fantastic tool to use when working with a reactive dog.
          ~Kelsey, mom to~
          Kumah-merle Great Dane 4 years
          Nala-fawn Great Dane 2 months
          Cece- Calico 4 years
          Sammy- Black Domestic Long Hair 3 years
          Tyke- 4 months

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