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Hello,

Frankie is a 1 year old male miniature pinscher. He is VERY lovable to family and friends. The only issue I am currently having with him is his behavior while we are on walks. He will growl and lunge at ANY stranger that walks by us on walks without provocation (trying to pet him/walking close to him). After we walk passed the person, it takes him a bit to calm down. He will bite at the grass and sprint around (I think that is just him getting the energy out). I am pretty sure he wouldn't actually bite the stranger, but I have to restrain him, take him on different routes to avoid people, or just wait until there is not so many people on the sidewalk to walk him.

I would appreciate any tips/suggestions on what I could do in order to stop this behavior because I don't want him to scare anyone or possibly bite. :(

Here is a picture of him.

 

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This is a common problem. I'm going to give you a method used in a booklet called "Feisty Fidos" so if you really want a more in depth explanation you can get it on amazon too.

First I think you need to try and avoid walking him where there's a lot of people, and if there is anyone, tell them not to pet him. You need to teach him an alternative behavior like "watch" which means looking at you. You need to first practice this in a quiet place indoors with no distractions. Have a treat in your hand and hold it by his nose, then bring it up to your face saying "watch". When he looks at you, give him the treat. Repeat this over and over until you can use your hand without the treat, to get him to "Watch". Then try to get rid of the hand signal and have him look at you as soon as you say the word "watch". Once he masters it inside, do it outside in the yard or another quiet area. He might backslide a bit with more distractions but just keep trying. Continue working on it in the yard, then try on a quiet street on a walk. Then once he does well with that work up to a normal street to walk. Make sure not to move up a level unless he TOTALLY masters the level below that. Otherwise he'll struggle too much.

You'll have to keep treats on you during walks too. Maybe as soon as he sees another person distract him with a treat and move in the other direction too. Hope this helps!
 

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Take lots of high value treats on the walk with you. Every time you see a person coming throw a few treats on the ground so the dogs attention is on the treats. The idea is that seeing people = treats. You will have to do this every walk until your dog stops acting negative towards the people and looks forward to seeing them. Make sure you use very high value treats like real meat, maybe use these only for walks so they are very special.
 

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First determine what kind of reactivity you're dealing with. Distracting a dog does nothing to change how they're feeling about the approach of another person. It could be he's a frustrated greeter or he could be reacting out of fear. Neither scenario will be helped, long term, by distractions.

This site will be of help. The person who developed this method is a trainer who works with this type of dog in a professional capacity.

Care for Reactive Dogs
 

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My dog does the same thing. However it's only if there is one or two people. If it's a larger group, he ignores them. My big dog doesn't care. He ignores everyone unless you get close to him, then he just sniffs you and goes back to sniffing the ground.
 

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Dont let people touch or feed your dog. He is scared. Let him socialise more naturally. Treat him around people. Dont let people touch him.

You build confidence slowly. People may be spooking him, just by being too big and too nice. They are moving too fast towards him, or being too loud. Or just being too close. Find a comfortable level, where dog is not reacting, and reward him for being around those situations. Make it normal. (you reaward! not the other people.... This is very important).

Make the people around him just 'there'... And maintain a distance the dog is comfortable with.
 

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My dog does the same thing. However it's only if there is one or two people. If it's a larger group, he ignores them. My big dog doesn't care. He ignores everyone unless you get close to him, then he just sniffs you and goes back to sniffing the ground.
Ever wonder why?

Its because the larger group are more often than not, not paying attention to him, or being more touchy feely. Needs more intelligent socialisation.

Now if the larger group is going towards him. And being overbearing... Then he is too scared to react. There is even more stress.
 
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