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1st time Dog Owner Needs Advice

1257 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  JudyG

I adopted a 3 year old rat terrier/dachshund mix yesterday at an adoption event. When I first met her last weekend she was the friendliest dog I've seen. She loves people and dogs. So I decided to adopt her this weekend.

When I got home with her, she was doing fine, a bit nervous but nothing extreme and I was relieved. However, my best friend came over later that day, while she was sleeping under the blanket on the couch. I opened the blanket up to introduce my friend to her and she immediately started barking and even bit my friend (thank god she is a small dog so she didn't hurt her). and the whole evening even though i tried to give her treats to associate visitors with positive things she keep growling at my friend.Did I spook the dog?

It really caught me off guard because I wasn't aware of the aggression she has. Even her foster mom said she's one of the easiest,friendliest dog she's met.

Am I doing something wrong? what should I do?
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Give the dog her space and let her settle in before trying to work on teaching her anything. Several things seemed to have happened all at once:
1. she's nervous/unsettled in a new environment (totally normal) with a stranger (you)
2. she was sleeping & you woke her up suddenly
3. you startled her awake with *another* new stranger

I would give her some space, let her get her bearings for a few days/weeks, and slowly introduce new people in a calm way (i.e., making sure dog is awake and cognitive and let your dog approach them not the other way around until she's totally relaxed with strangers). Most likely, this will be an isolated incident if the foster mom's experiences are true and you just pushed a bit too much too quickly. It's doubtful that irreversible damage has been done.

Any dog will become aggressive if scared enough, and some dogs outward signs of fear/nervousness are more subtle. As you get to know her better, you'll become more in-tune with those signs. In this situation it sounds like no signs were even give since it all happened so quickly, which definitely indicates startled fear. Until she's really confident in her surroundings, I'd avoid any quick motions towards her or startling movements (waking her quickly included).

Also give her 2 weeks or so of no visitors. I know it's hard, but she first needs to learn that you and the apartment are her home and to build those relationships before you start introducing visitors.

Good luck with her, she sounds like she'll be a wonderful pet once she's settled :)
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I have the most gentle, submissive dog ever, if I accidentally bump into her, she will 'apologise' to me!! However, if she's in a deep sleep & I or my husband touch her she will snap a little or growl, I think it's just an instant reaction & she is unaware she is doing it. I think that's what's happened here. I also agree with @travelingswift, this is all new to her, take your time to introduce her to new things & people. Let her get used to you & her new life before you bring others in to the mix. Keep up the positive reinforcement though, don't mollycoddle her like some small breed owners do. Enjoy your new pup!!! :thumbsup:
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