Dog Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 4 year old Aussie is (very long story short) reactive (from growling, lunging to snapping) towards people. His biggest triggers are unfamiliar people in the house and being touched/handled. He even gets sketchy with people he knows with sudden movements sometimes or if they touch him and he's anxious. I am really the only one who can do anything with/to him.

We've gone through a variety of trainers (some good, some terrible). We are now working with a behaviorist and he is medicated (he was seen by a vet behaviorist). The professionals have all told me that a lot of improvement can be made and we've seen a lot of improvement but there is still a long way to go.

I'm looking for support, advice and tips from other people that had similar situations with their dogs and saw progress. I will gladly go into more detail if needed.

Please - no negative comments. I'm reaching out to help me feel like I'm not alone in this.

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,910 Posts
You're not alone. My one year old Cocker mix is much the same way (though he doesn't bite - I count my blessings every day that he doesn't bite).

I was lucky in that I found an awesome trainer right off the bat. We've worked with her for five weeks, and he's made some progress but still has a long way to go.

Other than medication, what kinds of behavior exercises are you working on with your dog? LAT, BAT, counter conditioning? I've used a mix of the three, just kind of tailoring it to the situation based on what my boy seems to need right then.

The thing about reactivity is that it's very much three steps forward, two back. You'll have really awesome days and days that feel like no progress has been made at all. Just keep pushing! :) I had a really awesome day with Chisum yesterday - we walked at the lake and he didn't bark at cars, did some off leash stuff and his recall was perfect, and when my father drove to close to him in the Ranger and made him uncomfortable he ran right back to me and sat down --- yayyy!

But..we have setbacks too :)

Feel free to come here and vent or ask questions or whatever you need. The people here are great and have fantastic advice. And best of luck with your boy :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
You're definitely not alone. My oldest boy came to me extremely reactive towards strangers (howling, snarling, etc). He is just over 80 lbs, so I've often gotten some really nasty looks.

Working with a behaviorist and doing a daily amount of counter conditioning (and a little LAT and BAT) has really done wonders. We can now go to the park, the beach, and even sit down at a restaurant. He can handle seeing people walk directly by as long as long as they ignore him completely. I am on guard with him and I still don't allow anyone to pay him any attention unless we are specifically training. He still cannot handle anyone new coming into my home, but I've honestly done less work on that as I don't often have anyone over.

Its been about 4 years and I still see improvement regularly. We can now go to the vet and he will happily (!) allow the vet and technicians to handle him, draw blood, etc.

In the beginning, it was definitely frustrating and at times embarrassing. But positivity and consistency have really done wonders. So has allowing him to control how quickly is training goes on a day to day basis. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,643 Posts
it is not unusual for an adult dog to not be overly happy to be touched by strangers.
That it totally normal, and as long as he's not acting offensively (i.e. "stalking" or attacking), I wouldn't force them to have contact.
Sancho also doesn't trust strangers, so they're allowed to pet him, but when they touch certain bodyparts (tail, hips, butt, paws, armpits) he growls it would probably do a airsnap when we don't get the person away from him.
If you know that he doesn't like strangers, it is your job as its master to protect him and keep strangers away.
If i were with him in a big group of people I'd definitively let him wear a muzzle though. better safe than sued.

Even for that breed it is not unusual to be a bit aloof and sceptic towards, as far as I know. I'm not that much of a pro when it comes to this breed, but the ones I met weren't exactly keen to have contact with strangers, dogs and humans alike except for the dogs in their own family and their own attachment figure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the support.
I know in general what we should be doing and have made a lot of improvements (also with the help of medications), but sometimes I get lost on the specific step-by-step process for certain situations. We work with a behaviorist who is great but over an hour away so that makes it difficult to meet regularly. I am talking with him tomorrow about emailing/calling more often to keep us on track.
Jack has become much less reactive in general but there are still some huge roadblocks. He is very anxious/excited in the car and quick to lunge/snap with sudden movements or noises. My mom is the only other person who can be in the house alone with Jack (and lets him out/watches him when I’m away) but she is still nervous about leashing him or touching him too much. I have a fenced in yard so she doesn’t have to leash him to let him out. He is still very reactive with anyone coming into my house other than my mom, dad and girlfriend. I want to get him used to more people but it’s difficult to find people who can consistently work with him (and won’t get freaked out by his behavior) and then find time that works with everyone’s schedules.
When it’s just me and him in the house, nearly all of his behavior issues have been drastically improved or “fixed”. He will bark sometimes if he hears a noise outside but other than that I really don’t have problems with him.
I want to integrate him more into my life and the people in it and also be more comfortable that other people could handle/take care of him safely when/if I’m not around.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,599 Posts
Don't feel bad, there are lots of people on this forum who also have reactive dogs and are working through it. :) It also should be noted that this happens fairly frequently in Aussies.

You can always come on and vent on the DF, we have something we wish could be better with our dogs. Neither of my dogs are reactive, but Levi absolutely drags me around on leash, and it makes me sad. My new puppy is also a Resource Guarder with other dogs. Sigh.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mathilda
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top