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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
hey guys in the shelter i work at there is this one fearful bordercollie mix that is always in a very hypervigilant state and almost always barks at me like when im in the play yard. He gets along with most dogs ok but humans not and can be a biter. With him ive been doing what i do with most fearful dogs that come in, which is ignore them, not make direct eye contact, be gentle and slowly gain their trust as they gain more confidence, this has worked pretty well with fearful dogs i come across. But not this one he just doesnt trust me always sees me as threat for some reason, and today i was in the yard he was barking at me some as usual didnt pay attention to him than as i was leaving the yard he approached me from behind and bit my leg, snap and retreat kinna bite. Hes been in the shelter for like a month now and is not getting better, please any advice much appreciated. thanks
 

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what ive seen in cases like these is that each dog is different. you need to find out where this dogs 'safe place' is and start from there. when is the dog most comfertable? is there a place or situation that the dog isnt barking, or barking less?

once you find that, then you can start working up from there. it may be that the dog is more reactive in the kennel because he feels trapped, and he is better outside. do you notice anything like that?
 

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If he is barking you have pushed him over his threshold already and it is no wonder he is biting. Do not get close enought that he is barking because at the point you are a threat and far to close.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
the dog is just barking when i enter the yard area, not sure there is any place where she is comfortable really as she is always in a fearful hypervigilant state and has run away from the shelter once. taking her for walks outside, she doesnt bark or attack me, she sort of stares at me the whole time and keeps her distance, again never really relaxed. getting her into her shared kennel is challenge sometimes as i cant approach her because she will run away but if i call her and get my body position in certain way, she will run into the kennel. lately she will take real meat from my hand so tryed for past few days using this to maybe help get some trust. Can be hard giving in the yard with all the dogs there so have to single her out and she approaches everytime takes the meat and retreats, but came in today and still barking at me when i entered so not sure if working... really hope can help her as the way she is at the moment very little chance of getting adopted. thoughts?
 

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Unless you can work with her on a one on one basis using desensitization and counter conditioning, she may not be a good candidate for adoption. It's not a popular opinion with many but not every dog can be rehabbed in a shelter setting and the effort might be better spent on a dog that doesn't bite. A foster home with someone who knows how to work with a fear biter would be the best option.
 

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These are some of my favorite resources for shelters:

How To Interact With Shy or Fearful Dogs

Using Treat Buckets To Create Positive Associations With People

Managing Quite Time with Fearful & Shy Dogs

This Is Something We Use On Our Kennels of The Fearful & Shy Dogs

This is a FULL Training, Management, & Enrichment Plan for Fearful & Shy Dogs


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This Is An AWESOME Handout To Provide The New Adoptive Parents Of This Fearful Dog

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Resource Library

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Anxious Body Language Examples

Fearful Body Language Examples

Aggressive Body Language Examples


@scopus NOTE: The fact the she is staring at you the whole time is not a good thing she is tracking you, one wrong move from you could lead to a bite because she is waiting for you to make that wrong move. She is in a state of hyper-awareness and is prepared for you to make a mistake please read the links I have provided this programs has really good science behind it and has worked well for many dogs.
 
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Unless you can work with her on a one on one basis using desensitization and counter conditioning, she may not be a good candidate for adoption. It's not a popular opinion with many but not every dog can be rehabbed in a shelter setting and the effort might be better spent on a dog that doesn't bite. A foster home with someone who knows how to work with a fear biter would be the best option.
I agree with this unless you can implement a program like the one I linked then she will never be a good candidate for adoption and always be a HIGH bite risk.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
wow thanks so much for the great advice and links! imma try my best to impliment as much of i can of that program towards her :)
 
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