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Discussion Starter #1
Our little adult shelter poodle's aggression isn't getting any better. We hired a trainer and so far she has taught us some obedience cues. Ever since we got him, he has been pretty good with learning basic ones. So, usually when she teaches us these things it goes pretty well. However, we have tried redirecting him and he looks at us, but still wants to kill people.
Any time someone comes through the door he goes right for the attack and bites them. Then if we yell at him, he knows he did something bad and will cower away and go lay down, but will come back within 3 seconds and growl. Trying to talk to him calmly, only gets him excited and he will come to us all happy and then circle around growling at the visitor.
He does this to everyone, including our trainer. The last visit with her, she managed to get him to lay next to her and he let her rub his belly. He even pawed for more. Then when she went to get up, he went crazy again. He nearly chased her out of the house. Thankfully, we keep him on a leash when people have come over.
Sometimes he calms down a little when people sit down, but if someone gets up he goes nuts again.
He growls on walks at people and once in awhile tries to lunge if they really creep him out.

I'm upset because this is the second time this has happened to us with a rescue dog. We loved both dogs and they got along great with us. The last time we didn't get a trainer and this time we are trying. We've had him over 3 weeks or a little over now. I'm not so sure he can be helped at this point. We have to get him sedated just to get groomed. We have to have a dog that gets along with family and visitors or at least can stand to be near them at the very least. Unfortunately, he was a stray and nobody knew much about him. It's heartbreaking. I think he might have lived with an elderly person maybe who never had visitors.

From all of the research I gathered between both dogs, I haven't heard good stories about dogs overcoming something like this. However, I want there to be a glimmer of hope since he managed to let our trainer pet him, but our families don't have the patience to give him 40 treats until he starts to like them. Not to mention, he got sick from all of those training treats. Also I could tell my parents were afraid of him. So, I think it's looking like he might not be able to stay with us. We are finally getting him groomed on Monday, but I don't think getting rid of his matted hair will be a game changer. He will probably just feel a little refreshed and look a little less scruffy.
 

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Sounds like you are going way to fast with him.

After getting him groomed what I'd first do is give him a week off, minimum walks if he needs to be walked to potty skip walks if he doesn't. Don't make him see anyone but y'all and give his body a chance to get rid of all the stress hormones. Those hormones will make his reactions 100 x worse and every time he turns into a raging lunatic more are added to his system. He may also benefit from some type of anti anxiety medicine.

After that take working with him very, very, slowly. You need to find a very high value treat that he simply loves and use that to work with him, break it up into little bitty pieces since you will need to use a lot of them. Stay as far back from people as you need to so that he's noticed the person but is not reacting and at that point start giving him treats, I've also found using a marker word (I use yes) to be very helpful with my people fearing dog. I tell him yes as soon as he's noticed the person and give him a treat. The yes gets him to look back at me since he knows a treat is coming. As he's comfortable and happy to see people at one distance you can move a couple steps closer the next time y'all stop someone. If he reacts negatively then you're to close.

When he reacts to someone it's to late to use the treats because he's to upset to learn that the people are good and causing you to give him treats. He's in flight or fight mode and has choosen to fight. The thing to do then is walk him away, I use the Let's Go cue with my boy. Let's Go! and we turn and go in the other direction. It's important to train Let's Go before using it so that the dog knows what's expected. When a walk goes completely wrong and my boy has decided to react to every person he sees we end the walk early and try again later (usually the next day).

Do not reprimand him for his reaction no matter how bad, I know that's a lot to ask. It's counterproductive though, what it does is teach him that people are evil and cause bad things to happen. 10 to 1 he may associate your reprimand with his action, or he may not, but he WILL associate it with the person he was reacting to. When that happens it undoes all your hard work. When he reacts simply get him out of the area and try to figure out how to better manage things so that he does not feel he has to act like that.

Can you confine him to a room with a very nice treat, bully stick, great chew, stuffed kong, while you have guest over? That'll be the easiest solution for now. He'll learn that when guest come over he gets a really nice treat and does not have to face them.

If you enjoy having a lot of guest over, then he's probably not the dog for you. I know that my boy would be perfectly miserable if I was like that and my home would be a very poor fit for him. There's nothing wrong with admitting it and letting him find a home better suited to him. No use making you, your spouse, and the dog miserable trying to make it work.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
One of the problems is that we live in an apartment. The other problem was that we were looking for a dog that would be able to stay with our families if we ever went away..it would be a miracle with him I think if he ever let us do that

Another question is, why have two dogs we have gotten acted in this way? The first two days or so tend to be okay, where they don't mind being around people. After that, they suddenly adore us and hate every stranger that comes anywhere near home or them.
 

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One of the problems is that we live in an apartment. The other problem was that we were looking for a dog that would be able to stay with our families if we ever went away..it would be a miracle with him I think if he ever let us do that

Another question is, why have two dogs we have gotten acted in this way? The first two days or so tend to be okay, where they don't mind being around people. After that, they suddenly adore us and hate every stranger that comes anywhere near home or them.

He may or may not be able to accept your family watching him, only time will really be able to reveal that.

If you are got them from the shelter it may be that they learned that they needed to accept people taking care of them there. Fearful dogs tend to simply shut down at the shelter and it's hard to get a good read on their true personalities. They are so overwhelmed that they are terrified to react. When you first saw the dogs how were they acting? Were they very quiet and subdued? When you approached them did they go belly up but have their tails tucked? Were they glancing away, and licking their lips? Did they approach crouched down? All of those are signs of a fearful dog, and my own boy was doing nearly every one when I first met him, but I did know what I was seeing so I knew what I was getting into. Many people do not, and most people when he goes belly up at their feet think he wants his belly pet when it's the exact opposite.

If you get another dog I suggest seeing if you can get one that's been living with a foster family. Hopefully the family can give you a much better idea about the dogs temperament then a shelter is able to do.
 
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