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Hi I need some help with my dog.

I have a beautiful 4 year old dogue de Bordeaux, he is a very big and powerful dog and because of this he makes people afraid.

Since the dog was roughly 1 he has been an outdoor dog, this is simply due to the fact that my family were nervous of his size and there were kids around, not because he ever gave us any reason to fear him.

He has never bit or chased anyone, was fully crate trained before he moved to his heated shed outside and is a very loving dog, however there is a problem.

I am moving to America in a few months and I am the only person that is comfortable around George, my mum isn't too bad with him but is defiantly afraid of him due to his size, below I will tell you the fears she has and hopefully you can tell me ways to train him to either get him to stop or what else I could do.

He is a very very nervous and protective dog, he was very territorial of his crate as a puppy and would growl if someone would go near it

He is afraid of most people, I think this is because he has only ever been given attention by 2 people, but it has also only been since he was in the vet of 2 weeks when he was 2 when his spleen almost burst, ever since then he has been a very nervous dog and that's when people started to fear him. he is a very loved dog but if we are walking in the street I have to be sure to tell people he is nervous, if someone tries to touch him he will run or bark, keep in mind when we are walking it's only if people actively try to touch him, he always try's to avoid people apart from me and my mum.

He is a very playful dog which is bad due to his size, when we are going outside to give him water, give him food, clean up after him or leave out the bins he will jump up and playfully bark, this doesn't scare me but is does scare my mum, also when we are opening up the back gate he will try to escape to the closed off courtyard at the back to run around but he always come back.

So basically I need help with:

-Stopping him from jumping up and barking when my mum is outside

-Stopping him trying to get outside to the courtyard as I'm nervous someone may have left the gate opened

-Stopping him being nervous of people touching him

-When we are on walks the first 20 seconds he pulls a lot but then he stops, he is a very good walker, it's just when he first gets his harness on he pulls

- I am thinking about getting a dog run (sectioned space in the garden for him to call his own) but I'm nervous he will get territorial of that like he did his crate and not let my mum into it to clean or give him food and water.

Any help you guys can give me would be great, I am willing to try anything as I really am nervous of giving my mum full control over him as he is so big and powerful, thanks for reading.
 

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Honestly, if you can't take him with you I would look for a different home, one that truly loves the breed and can provide positive training and an active lifestyle.

I don't think your mother will ever get over her fear, and while there are some behavioral issues here, he also sounds undersocialized and starved for attention. If your mother keeps this dog and doesn't give him up herself, I fear he will get even less attention, get worse behaviorally, and lead a very sad and lonely life.

Just my two cents.
 

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Honestly I don't think your mom should keep the dog after you are gone, she's fearful of him and is likely not going to be able to work on any problems, once you are gone, due to the fear. If your mom is not willing to work through her fears then it's going to become a very real problem, since dogs such as yours need a confident handler. For that reason I think you should rehome the dog before you move.

If your mom is able to work through her fear...

-Stopping him from jumping up and barking when my mum is outside
He's doing that because he's excited and has not been taught how to properly greet people. Try training him an alternate behavior, like sitting, and completely ignore the jumping and barking. When he sits properly then give him a good treat and lots of attention and love. If he jumps and barks then ignore him completely, don't talk to him, don't look at him, pretend he does not exist. After practicing that for a while it should become his default behavior since you've been rewarding him for doing it and he should stop the barking and jumping since he doesn't get anything by doing it.

-Stopping him trying to get outside to the courtyard as I'm nervous someone may have left the gate opened
For that you need to teach barrier manners, and teach him to wait. You can do that a number of ways, by having him just stay behind you, or by teaching him to go to a certain spot, again reward him when he obeys, if he's on leash the reward can be going for a walk, if you're trying to let someone in or go out by yourself you can toss him a food treat. For when he tries to get past, body block and close the gate, before trying again. It'll take a while but he'll learn that rushing past you get's the gate closed, but waiting is rewarded.

-Stopping him being nervous of people touching him
That one is going to take the longest and he may never want people to touch him, it can take months to see real progress. What you are trying to change the way he feels about people, and, just like people, it takes a long while to do so. Sometimes all that an owner can hope for is to have the dog tolerate people being close to them so long as they do not touch them. Think of it this way, do you enjoy random strangers patting you on the head, shoulders, or back? Here's a link that has a lot of tips for working with a fearful dog Fearfuldogs.com

When we are on walks the first 20 seconds he pulls a lot but then he stops, he is a very good walker, it's just when he first gets his harness on he pulls
Try putting his harness on then playing with him in the yard for 5 or 10 minutes, then give him a couple minutes to settle down, before taking him for his walk. It may help to drain his energy and be less excited. You can also try taking him out, the second he pulls go back in the yard, close the gate and wait for him to settle down before trying again. Over and over until you can get him out the gate without him pulling.

- I am thinking about getting a dog run (sectioned space in the garden for him to call his own) but I'm nervous he will get territorial of that like he did his crate and not let my mum into it to clean or give him food and water.
I'd not get the dog run, or if I got one I'd only use it if I needed him to be in a secure area while something was being done in the yard. I'd worry about the resource guarding that you mention, but I'd also worry that it'd make his over all behavior worse since he'd have less space to drain off some of his energy.

With all the training your mom must participate. Dogs are not good at generalizing and what often happens when only one person trains a dog is that the dog learns that the cue only means the action when the person who taught the cue says it. The dog does not generalize that the cue means the action no matter who says the cue. If only you do the training then there's a pretty good chance that the dog will not obey your mom, it won't be because he's stubborn, but because he simply does not understand.
 

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Honestly, if you can't take him with you I would look for a different home, one that truly loves the breed and can provide positive training and an active lifestyle.

I don't think your mother will ever get over her fear, and while there are some behavioral issues here, he also sounds undersocialized and starved for attention. If your mother keeps this dog and doesn't give him up herself, I fear he will get even less attention, get worse behaviorally, and lead a very sad and lonely life.

Just my two cents.
Hi, I can see why you would think that George lives a sad and lonely life based on what you have said but that is far from the case, he is walked multiple times a day and is also played with multiple times a day. He is a very loving dog but again his size frightens some of my family members and that's something that needs to changed before I leave in January.

I don't think that she is afraid of George I think she is afraid of him knocking her over while she is cleaning the yard, that's why I want to stop him from getting over excited when people go out to him.

I appreciate your opinion but George is my best friend and a part of the family and I don't think I could rehome him, I will do whatever it takes to train him before I leave.
 

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Honestly I don't think your mom should keep the dog after you are gone, she's fearful of him and is likely not going to be able to work on any problems, once you are gone, due to the fear. If your mom is not willing to work through her fears then it's going to become a very real problem, since dogs such as yours need a confident handler. For that reason I think you should rehome the dog before you move.

If your mom is able to work through her fear...

-Stopping him from jumping up and barking when my mum is outside
He's doing that because he's excited and has not been taught how to properly greet people. Try training him an alternate behavior, like sitting, and completely ignore the jumping and barking. When he sits properly then give him a good treat and lots of attention and love. If he jumps and barks then ignore him completely, don't talk to him, don't look at him, pretend he does not exist. After practicing that for a while it should become his default behavior since you've been rewarding him for doing it and he should stop the barking and jumping since he doesn't get anything by doing it.

-Stopping him trying to get outside to the courtyard as I'm nervous someone may have left the gate opened
For that you need to teach barrier manners, and teach him to wait. You can do that a number of ways, by having him just stay behind you, or by teaching him to go to a certain spot, again reward him when he obeys, if he's on leash the reward can be going for a walk, if you're trying to let someone in or go out by yourself you can toss him a food treat. For when he tries to get past, body block and close the gate, before trying again. It'll take a while but he'll learn that rushing past you get's the gate closed, but waiting is rewarded.

-Stopping him being nervous of people touching him
That one is going to take the longest and he may never want people to touch him, it can take months to see real progress. What you are trying to change the way he feels about people, and, just like people, it takes a long while to do so. Sometimes all that an owner can hope for is to have the dog tolerate people being close to them so long as they do not touch them. Think of it this way, do you enjoy random strangers patting you on the head, shoulders, or back? Here's a link that has a lot of tips for working with a fearful dog Fearfuldogs.com

When we are on walks the first 20 seconds he pulls a lot but then he stops, he is a very good walker, it's just when he first gets his harness on he pulls
Try putting his harness on then playing with him in the yard for 5 or 10 minutes, then give him a couple minutes to settle down, before taking him for his walk. It may help to drain his energy and be less excited. You can also try taking him out, the second he pulls go back in the yard, close the gate and wait for him to settle down before trying again. Over and over until you can get him out the gate without him pulling.

- I am thinking about getting a dog run (sectioned space in the garden for him to call his own) but I'm nervous he will get territorial of that like he did his crate and not let my mum into it to clean or give him food and water.
I'd not get the dog run, or if I got one I'd only use it if I needed him to be in a secure area while something was being done in the yard. I'd worry about the resource guarding that you mention, but I'd also worry that it'd make his over all behavior worse since he'd have less space to drain off some of his energy.

With all the training your mom must participate. Dogs are not good at generalizing and what often happens when only one person trains a dog is that the dog learns that the cue only means the action when the person who taught the cue says it. The dog does not generalize that the cue means the action no matter who says the cue. If only you do the training then there's a pretty good chance that the dog will not obey your mom, it won't be because he's stubborn, but because he simply does not understand.
Sorry I think I confused you guys and didn't get what I was trying to say across, my mum is in no way fearful of George biting or attacking her, she is afraid of him knocking her over, thank you so much for your reply I will try everything you mentioned and let you know how it goes!
 

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Sorry I think I confused you guys and didn't get what I was trying to say across, my mum is in no way fearful of George biting or attacking her, she is afraid of him knocking her over, thank you so much for your reply I will try everything you mentioned and let you know how it goes!

Thanks for clearing that up. I thought it might be a fear of being knocked over but wasn't certain:) If you'd like to see some videos demonstrating the training I mentioned these links are to some put out by Kikopup, a great positive reinforcement trainer.

Invisible Barrier Training, part one and two. You can try the method in the video, the one I recommended in my first post, or both. The important thing is to use the one that works best for you and your dog.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuTh47i3hOY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNE_WJ1nMu4


This video deals specifically with door dashing (gate manners)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJboalA4oi4

This one is for jumping
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC_OKgQFgzw

If you don't have a clicker, or don't want to use one you can use a marker word in place of it. Pick a word or sound that the dog does not hear often and use that to let them know they got the behavior correct. If you aren't familiar with clicker training let me know and I'll post some articles to help you learn the basics.
 

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Honestly, I doubt you'll be able to train him to the level you want him trained, and expect him to obey someone else, in the months you have left before you leave. If your mother isn't comfortable with him, for any reason, she won't be able to work with him until she overcomes that. You said he's fearful of people -- that takes months, if not years, to improve upon. He may never be friendly with other people. He may never want anyone else touching him without knowing them very, very well. And seeing as he has resource guarding issues, is fearful of people, and doesn't enjoy being touched, I would really look at placing him somewhere else, even temporarily, with someone who has a very thorough understanding of dogs and dog behavior. Ask around. See if there are any breed rescues, or rescues in general, who would be willing to take him on while you're gone. Pay someone to do it, even. But I really don't see him getting better without you there to work with him, and I'd be fearful for both his sake and everyone else's.
 
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You should find a force free trainer ASAP. Look in the training and behavior stickies on how to find the right one.
 

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Hi, I can see why you would think that George lives a sad and lonely life based on what you have said but that is far from the case, he is walked multiple times a day and is also played with multiple times a day. He is a very loving dog but again his size frightens some of my family members and that's something that needs to changed before I leave in January.
Who walks/plays with him during the day? If its not you, can't this other person/people take over the care/feeding of him once you leave?

I appreciate your opinion but George is my best friend and a part of the family and I don't think I could rehome him, I will do whatever it takes to train him before I leave.
You'll leave him while you head off to America, but you love him too much to try to rehome him? You may get him well enough trained by the time you leave in January, but if you are his only or even main trainer/playmate, it's unlikely to last.
 
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