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Discussion Starter #1
It's a little strange, to be quite honest. Her name is Sugar, and we adopted her from the shelter I work at. She was found wandering in an apartment complex with a too-tight wire digging into her skin -- they had to sedate her to remove it -- and she was very much pregnant. She's also blind in her right eye.

We (neither our family or the shelter) don't know much about her life before she was found, of course, but she's generally good-natured. She gets easily agitated with children, and she's picky about the dogs she meets -- outside of the home. Yes, that's correct. She is aggressive when she meets them outside of our home, but if they come into our home she welcomes them with love and kisses.

She's completely different with people, though. Outside of our home, she loves people and will greet them happily. But, when she meets them inside of our house, she's extremely aggressive towards them and will only stop growling and approach them when she sees one of us interacting with them. Separately, though, she stays mostly on our second level, and we keep a baby gate up to keep her from going downstairs. When someone comes home, and she can't see who they are immediately, she panics. She darts around the room, trying to find a place to hide, and she whines.

It breaks my heart to see her like that, but I just can't . . . help her. I've tried giving her treats when someone comes in the house as a sort of positive reinforcement -- "humans bring good things and we won't let them hurt you" sort of thing. She hasn't taken to it, though.

I'm willing to try anything. I don't know what kind of past she's had, but it's clear it wasn't a happy one.
 

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It sounds to me like your going to fast. By the time the people are in she may be to far over threshold (the point that she starts reacting negatively) to learn.

Do you have people that are willing to help you work with her? If you do you can try something like this. Have them make some noise outside your apartment door, Right when they make the noise feed her treats (high value treats like real meat, bits of cheese, bits of hot dog) until they stop making the noise. Do that a few times a day until you notice that she's very happy to hear noise outside your door. When you reach that point have them knock on your door as soon as they knock feed her treats, keep feeding until the knocking stops. Do that till she's happy hearing someone knock. Next either you or a helper open the door while the other person stands back a bit feeding treats. At that point you can either have the person come in if she's reacting good, or if she's nervous close the door. Again work at that till she's happy seeing the person. The next step would be the person coming in and sitting down, you can have the person drop (do NOT have them hand feed her yet) treats for her as they head to sit down and toss her some once they are sitting. You can then offer her a Kong stuffed with something very tasty to keep her busy while y'all visit.

Some important things to remember is that you need to go at her speed. If you go to fast she'll get overwhelmed and start reacting. Using high value treats that she'll only get when you're working on the reactivity will be very helpful, she'll pair visitors with the yummy treats and learn to happily anticipate people coming over. Tell your visitors to completely ignore her, she does not exist, unless she solicits their attention, sniffing shoes does not = wanting attention. Keep her below threshold, if she goes over it then just quietly and calmly remove her from the situation or end the exercise, once over threshold dogs can't learn, they are in flight or fight mode and acing on instinct.

Fearfuldogs.com and Care for Reactive Dogs are two great resources for people with fearful and reactive dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
She's very hesitant with the training, but I didn't expect her to respond well immediately....

We have a close family friend (Nadia) working with us, but she's not very assertive with dogs, and they usually pretty much walk all over her. Is that okay? I thought it might help. We do the training in the middle of the work day, when there's the least traffic, so Sugar will focus solely on the task.

We're using hot dog bits, and we thought she was doing well, and had Nadia drop as treat as she walked in (ignoring her like you'd said). Sugar sniffed it, but didn't eat it, so we went back to having Nadia knock on the door, and giving Sugar treats.

Once Nadia's in the house, Sugar doesn't go near her until I greet her and speak to her :/ She doesn't bark or growl at her, though. We sit, talk, walk tv and Sugar gets a kong. She's usually doing well by this point, and only gets up to make a fuss when Nadia is leaving.

I'm a bit hesitant to try it with anyone who isn't family or Nadia, though . . . .
 

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Good advice so far....... but, remember, if you act like a fearful and skittish person the dog will adopt your behavior.......be strong and a leader......
 

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She's very hesitant with the training, but I didn't expect her to respond well immediately....

We have a close family friend (Nadia) working with us, but she's not very assertive with dogs, and they usually pretty much walk all over her. Is that okay? I thought it might help. We do the training in the middle of the work day, when there's the least traffic, so Sugar will focus solely on the task.

We're using hot dog bits, and we thought she was doing well, and had Nadia drop as treat as she walked in (ignoring her like you'd said). Sugar sniffed it, but didn't eat it, so we went back to having Nadia knock on the door, and giving Sugar treats.

Once Nadia's in the house, Sugar doesn't go near her until I greet her and speak to her :/ She doesn't bark or growl at her, though. We sit, talk, walk tv and Sugar gets a kong. She's usually doing well by this point, and only gets up to make a fuss when Nadia is leaving.

I'm a bit hesitant to try it with anyone who isn't family or Nadia, though . . . .

The guest not being assertive it fine, in fact it's better that they are not assertive. You want them to pretend Sugar is not there, unless she solicits attention from them. It's what Sugar wants.

If she's not eating the treats that Nadia is dropping it might be that she's overwhelmed, and it'll help to go back to either you giving her the treats, or with Nadia knocking, dropping the treats, then walking off or your closing the door.

As Snownose said, it'll help if you act calm and fearless. It's perfectly alright to pet her but don't act like it's a big deal that she's upset. Stay upbeat and happy.

It's fine to keep training with Nadia but sooner or later you're going to have to start practicing with other people. What does she do if y'all meet people on the walk and go back to your house with them?

I'm wondering if it's not so much that she's terrified of the people but that she's resource guarding the house. It's still a behavior based in fear and you'd handle it the same, people coming to the house = great things happening, and not your home being taken from you.

Here's a thread that may help you
http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/reactivity-leash-aggression-barrier-frustration-12538/
 

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What Rain said. And also, it takes time ... lots and lots of time. If Sugar won't take treats from Nadia, or ones she's dropped on the floor, will she take them from you? Or will she take them from you if Nadia is way across the other side of the room?
 
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