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I have a one year old male basset hound. I got him as a puppy but unfortunately it was late fall when I got him. After being stuck inside during a brutal winter he lacked a lot of socializing! In an attempt to help him become comfortable with the outside world I started taking him to our local dog park. I also have involved him in road trips, neighborhood events, and visits to our park. I thought he was making progress with these outings but I fear now I am wrong.

My problem I need help with is...as long as I am with him he does ok with other dogs, cats, and people. He will shy away still but he will warm up after a few minutes typically. However, I recently boarded him for 4 days and it was a HUGE disaster. He did ok with the other dogs in the facility during group time but he was incredibly fearful of the workers. He even went as far as to chase one worker out of his room and bit the guy. My dog has never bitten before or showed signs that he would.

Again he is OK when he is with me but the moment I pass him off to someone else even someone he is familiar with he becomes overly scared and as we now know aggressive. I want my dog to be confident and friendly whether I am with him or not. What should I do to break him of this fear he has developed?
 

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It's unfortunate that he's now been pushed to the limit and responded with aggression -- once that barrier is broken it's a very slippery slope.

At this point, I would bring in an experienced behaviorist trainer to work with you. It's going to be a long road requiring A LOT of repetition and small steps on your part. In the meantime I would condition him to accept a muzzle so that in an emergency situation he can be handled by a stranger safely.
 

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I agree with @travelingswift in that now that he knows how to get people to back away is to chase and bite it is more likely he will again. My dog is a growl/bark dog when afraid, when he does this I always make sure to back away.

@bpatetn91 Remember dog's don't bite at random or without warning signs unless they have been taught to suppress them. You and the worker probably missed the warning signals as some dogs do this very minimally.

You don't break a dog of a fear, you Desensitize and Counter Condition them. I would start with conditioning to wear a muzzle as he is fear aggressive and has shown he will bite. Check out The Muzzle Up Project.

Once it is safe to work with him, I would start by getting him used to other people when you are not around. A good way would be to place him in a crate or pen and have another person just be around the area (not interacting with him and below his threshold), while you are in another room.

I would also contact a behaviorist but these steps are a good start.
 

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Thanks for your replies- The owner of the dog boarding facility we used did suggest I take my dog back occasionally for doggie daycare. He is a dog trainer and thought that interacting more with them might help his fear of strangers and help ease any stress for future boarding trips. My question is could this be beneficial or could it potentially do more harm then good? Its a tough question to answer I am aware.

I also feel like I need to in some ways lessen the attachment my dog has to me specifically. The dog trainer at the boarder noticed that my dog represented himself as a velcro dog. He sticks by my side and when I am out of sight he can show some signs of anxiety.

Here is a typical day in our life (perhaps someone can lend suggestions )

My dog typically sleeps in his crate (door open), his dog bed, or the couch. If its colder he will hop in bed and get under the covers. Once he hears the alarm go off he will come jump in bed and rest his head on me until I get up to take him out.

Once back inside he will usually pull out 3+ toys and sit outside the bathroom door playing while I shower. Once I am done he follows me around while I get ready carrying his bone. When I stop in a room he stops to chew..when I relocate he picks up his things and comes with.

When its time for me to leave I get a treat and he puts himself in his crate and waits for me to bring him a toy/treat. He does get the tv on while I am gone. I always come home on break to let him out. When I get home in the afternoon he goes out to play, follows me around with his bone, plays with my daughter, and when weather permits we go on walks and to the dog park.

I have also noticed if I step outside he will sit at the door and howl until I return. When we are not home I always crate him since he can't be trusted out alone. As far as I can tell his crate is his safe place and when I do return home he is always fast asleep.

I'm wondering if more exercise and having "strangers" toss treats his way might help open him up to new people. I will definitely try the crate option with new people coming around. I think its clear my dog has an unhealthy attachment to me thats holding him back from having positive relationships with other people. :(
 

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Thanks for your replies- The owner of the dog boarding facility we used did suggest I take my dog back occasionally for doggie daycare. He is a dog trainer and thought that interacting more with them might help his fear of strangers and help ease any stress for future boarding trips. My question is could this be beneficial or could it potentially do more harm then good? Its a tough question to answer I am aware.

I also feel like I need to in some ways lessen the attachment my dog has to me specifically. The dog trainer at the boarder noticed that my dog represented himself as a velcro dog. He sticks by my side and when I am out of sight he can show some signs of anxiety.

Here is a typical day in our life (perhaps someone can lend suggestions )

My dog typically sleeps in his crate (door open), his dog bed, or the couch. If its colder he will hop in bed and get under the covers. Once he hears the alarm go off he will come jump in bed and rest his head on me until I get up to take him out.

Once back inside he will usually pull out 3+ toys and sit outside the bathroom door playing while I shower. Once I am done he follows me around while I get ready carrying his bone. When I stop in a room he stops to chew..when I relocate he picks up his things and comes with.

When its time for me to leave I get a treat and he puts himself in his crate and waits for me to bring him a toy/treat. He does get the tv on while I am gone. I always come home on break to let him out. When I get home in the afternoon he goes out to play, follows me around with his bone, plays with my daughter, and when weather permits we go on walks and to the dog park.

I have also noticed if I step outside he will sit at the door and howl until I return. When we are not home I always crate him since he can't be trusted out alone. As far as I can tell his crate is his safe place and when I do return home he is always fast asleep.

I'm wondering if more exercise and having "strangers" toss treats his way might help open him up to new people. I will definitely try the crate option with new people coming around. I think its clear my dog has an unhealthy attachment to me thats holding him back from having positive relationships with other people. :(
It could be good or bad it depends if they are keeping your dog below it's threshold.

Your dog sounds like it has pretty severe separation anxiety.

Learning to be left alone for more advice on preventing separation-related behaviours. It contains a step-by-step guide to teach your dog that it’s all right to be alone by gradually increasing the time you are apart and showing them that they shouldn’t be frightened when you’re away.
Preventing separation-related behaviour - Prevention - Separation related behaviour - Company
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Our dog will start "doggie daycare" Monday with the trainer over seeing him. I opted to do a half day first to see how he handles it before we go forward. Obviously this will take a while but hopefully a few half days to start with followed by some full days can help burn energy, work on his socializing, and maybe help with his separation anxiety. My ultimate goal is to at least get him comfortable with the facility so I can board him again in the future.

Our hope was to eventually get a second dog in the future. Our current dog loves to interact with other dogs and we thought having that companion for him/and us could be nice. BUT before that can be a healthy wise choice to make we clearly need to get his needs met. I know this will take a lot of time an patients.

I've been trying to have other people in the house do his treats for good behavior and when its crate time. He will take the treat but he always looks or comes back to me for the next direction. Is there anything I should be doing or not doing so that he respects ALL people and not just me.
 

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It's completely normal for a dog to have 1 or 2 people that they know are "their" person. And it's not unhealthy to have that. I wouldn't expect your dog to look to a stranger for their next direction if you'r standing right there, I don't think that's a productive goal to work towards.

What you should work towards is that your dog can be safely managed when you aren't around. So can be approached, a leash attached, told to sit, and respect the holder of the leash.

I do think having people coming in and doing this with him when you are around is a good start, and then slowly slowly phase out your presence. Having a friend come to the house, leash him, pet him, walk him around on the leash, ask for a sit, etc while you are first there, and then with you coming in and out of the room, and then with you just there for the leashing, and then them taking the dog out of the house on the leash. Just building each step up slowly and not moving to the next phase until he's showing comfort in the current phase.

Dropping him off at doggy daycare for a half day and just disappearing my be too much for him. You may need to spend some weekend afternoons there with him while the owner does all his handling (since it sounds like he can be handled fine when you're there) and again slowly phasing your presence out.

Keep us updated on how the doggy day care trial goes, just try not to push him out o fhis comfort zone too quickly as that is when he'll resort to negative measures on his own (charging, biting).

ETA: is he going to be muzzled for the initial doggy day care trials?
 
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