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HI my name is Ashley and we just recently adopted a beautiful Irish wolfhound mix named penelope. She is roughly around 10 months old. In our home she is relaxed and has a heart of gold. We could not ask for a sweeter dog. But she has a fear of new things. I'm not sure if it is natural or if she wasn't properly socialized. I have been in contact with her previous owner and she says that she has never seen aggressive behavior from her before.
Like I said in our home she is perfect. But I brought her to work with me and one the firemen tried to win her over and she snapped at him. It seems to just be certain noises and bigger men with deep voices that scare her.
My question is: has anyone ever had this with their dog? And is there any tips you can give me to help correct or improve the behavior? We love penelope aND don't want to give up on her but we are definitely in over our heads.
 

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Intense fear is very often the first step towards aggressive behavior. The quickest way to push fear into aggression is to force the dog to interact and rush her in her acceptance of new things, and I'd say right around 10 months is the age that I would expect a dog to naturally start becoming more aggressive in their fear, because that's around when defensive drives start kicking in in most dogs.

The biggest thing at this point is not to rush her. Fear is a very powerful thing, and a dog that is afraid and is pushed to confront that fear and has no way to escape it is very likely to turn towards biting. That she only snapped at the person she was afraid of and didn't all out attack or bite is actually a good sign, that shows she was warning him away instead of just attacking. Did she growl before she snapped? Did you watch her body language and notice she was anxious? If she didn't growl at all, that's less good, as it shows she for some reason no longer sees growling as a warning worth being given. It could be she isn't a dog that growls, though it could also be growling has been corrected in the past and so she no longer uses it as a vocalization. That's the other thing: correcting any of her behavior at this point is not likely to get the right message across. If you correct a snap or a growl, you may be trying to say "don't do that, this person isn't a threat", but the message the dog gets may be "if you try to defend yourself from what you are afraid of, bad things happen", which makes the fear worse and removes the warning behaviors from her behavioral repertoire, making a bite that comes seemingly from out of nowhere more likely.

When working with a fearful dog, you need to let the dog tell you how fast to go while showing her there is no reason to be afraid. You always want to work below their "threshold", which is the distance they can be to something that triggers them (scares them, makes them act aggressive, etc) before they start to react negatively. Working with her should be about lowering that threshold distance and teaching alternative behaviors to aggression. The best way to help her learn alternative behaviors in this case is to just change the way she feels about the trigger (big men with deep voices)- sometimes you train the alternative behavior you want separately of changing the way she feels about the trigger, but in this case changing the feelings will change the behavior, so long as the fear doesn't continue to slip into aggression. I would guess, given by what you say about her past behavior, so long as you don't push her to the point that she feels actually threatened and listen to her when she lets you know you're going too fast, this won't happen. I would go about this by having the people she's afraid of give her food. If she can only be five feet away without reacting, then they need to be throwing it to her. Don't pull her over so that she can accept food, let her stop where she wants to stop. If she is so afraid or stressed she will not accept food, then you are too close. If they are too far to give the food to her themselves, then you give it to her for looking at them and then looking away and for calm behavior. Use very high value treats for this, like hot dog, pepperoni, chicken, etc.

This is "counter conditioning" and "desensitization", which you can read about here: Desensitizing and Counter-Conditioning: Overcoming Your Dog?s Issues

I would highly, highly recommend seeking the help of a professional. It sounds very simple when explained over the internet, but successfully modifying fearful behavior is much harder than it sounds and doing so safely and with the minimal amount of stress to the dog really requires someone with a knowledge of dog body language. You should definitely educate yourself on dog body language, but true understanding of it is really something that comes with experience and not effort, unfortunately. In a case like this, run far, far away from anyone suggesting you use force or correction to "teach her what is and isn't OK". If the dog is afraid, she needs to learn not to be afraid, not learn that she can't tell people around her she is afraid by growling or snapping when they won't listen to the other signals they're sending her.

This is written as a business page for a doggie daycare, but I think it gives a good explanation of what stress and calming signals are and how to modify people's behavior around them to make a dog less stressed. I haven't read it in depth, but from skimming it I would say it would be a very good introduction: Canine Calming Signals and Stress - Dog Behavior and Training - Green Acres Kennel Shop

Youtube has a lot of videos about calming signals and stress signals, and I would look there are well for videos of these things.
 

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We adopted a dog 2 months ago and at the time she was approx. 9-10 months old. She seemed fine to us at the shelter but then she was displaying so much anxiety/nervousness around people and other dogs. Within a few days she was fine with us (me, husband, 5 year old and 7 year old) but still nervous. We are working with a trainer to build her confidence. Mostly letting her have positive experiences with people of all sorts. Basically taking her some place (we mostly do the farmer's market. Usually no other dogs, small crowd and friendly people). When people give her attention we have them get on her level and give her a treat. She's really warming up to people. Now, when we have guests she does not seem nervous at all. She still is unsure around other dogs. We tried taking her to a doggy daycare but they would not let her stay due to her fear reactions being aggressive. Again, we are trying to have many positive dog experiences as possible. Let the greetings be on her terms and VERY VERY short so it ends on a positive note. Sniff and leave. I felt very apprehensive about this because I thought, what would I do if she hurt another dog. So far no more than some barking at our neighbors dog because I couldn't get my neighbor to understand the anxiety and that I needed to go.
 

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Moonstream gave you some excellent advice.

If you decide to look for a professional trainer, I would recommend starting your search with someone who is certified with the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers. (CPDT).
They have a trainer search on their website, so you can find someone in your area.
 

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But she has a fear of new things. I'm not sure if it is natural or if she wasn't properly socialized.
Don't mistake fear for uncertainty. You have a wolfhound mix, the wolfhound was bred to be fearless - to hunt wolves.

Any dog is going to be uncertain or unsure with new situations, and if not socialized, then there's your problem. If she's snapping, I would suggest muzzle training for the time being and take control of the dog - take the lead. Muzzles used properly can have a calming effect on the dog, you need to show her that she doesn't need to be unsure in situations.
 
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