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I'm a female college student that adopted a dog from a rescue about a year ago. She's part German Shepherd, part mutt and is very sweet and gentle. She always briefly barks to tell me that someone is at the door and is usually timid with strangers at first but will be asking for pets and bringing them her tennis balls within fifteen minutes.

However, there is one guy that she hasn't warmed up to at all. She hates when he comes over and goes crazy when he's at the door. Once I'm able to get her to calm down a little bit, she will keep watching him and start barking again if he stands up to, for example, walk to the bathroom. I have to hold her back because she acts like she might lunge or bite him.

I don't understand what's causing this behavior. I have tried on several occasions to let him feed her treats but that hasn't helped. I've also tried meeting him outside with her on the leash and letting him walk into our house ahead of us but she still acted the same way towards him. I know dogs have good intuition about people but am not really sure what to think here because to my knowledge he's a good guy. Any thoughts and advice would be appreciated! Thanks.
 

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Is he tall? Short? Dark haired? Anything that makes him "unique" from any other males who visit? Does he maybe wear a particular cologne that none of your other friends wear?

My guess is that something about this friend reminds your dog of a bad experience she had prior to you adopting her. It may be something that you wouldn't even recognize--hair color, smell, etc.

As for getting her used to the friend, hopefully some others can explain a bit better how to do it. But my understanding is that you might have to start a lot "farther back" from him giving her treats. Maybe just him coming close enough that she can notice him while she's feeling safe, and you give her treats just for looking and staying calm, etc. As she gets more comfortable, you can bring him closer (but this would be over several weeks, not one session).

Otherwise, if he's not over often, you may be best just keeping her in her crate or a different room when he's going to visit.
 

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Is he tall? Short? Dark haired? Anything that makes him "unique" from any other males who visit? Does he maybe wear a particular cologne that none of your other friends wear?

My guess is that something about this friend reminds your dog of a bad experience she had prior to you adopting her. It may be something that you wouldn't even recognize--hair color, smell, etc.

As for getting her used to the friend, hopefully some others can explain a bit better how to do it. But my understanding is that you might have to start a lot "farther back" from him giving her treats. Maybe just him coming close enough that she can notice him while she's feeling safe, and you give her treats just for looking and staying calm, etc. As she gets more comfortable, you can bring him closer (but this would be over several weeks, not one session).

Otherwise, if he's not over often, you may be best just keeping her in her crate or a different room when he's going to visit.
Well, he is 6'4 but my ex was about the same height and my dog loved him. He has the same hair and skin color as my ex too (I've been told I have a type, LOL). If he does remind her of a person who was mean to her, is that something she's likely to be able to get over or is it more of a permanent association?
 

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I don't understand what's causing this behavior. I have tried on several occasions to let him feed her treats but that hasn't helped. I've also tried meeting him outside with her on the leash and letting him walk into our house ahead of us but she still acted the same way towards him. I know dogs have good intuition about people but am not really sure what to think here because to my knowledge he's a good guy. Any thoughts and advice would be appreciated! Thanks.
Maybe you should listen to your dog and dump the guy. Dogs are the best at judging character.
 

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Maybe you should listen to your dog and dump the guy. Dogs are the best at judging character.
True, dogs are good character judges, but with an adopted dog, you really never know what their past experiences may have been. Many years ago, when I was a kid we got an eight month old dog from the shelter (dog pound) in those days. He hated anyone in uniform, police, postman, military, even kids in boy scout uniforms. We never knew exactly why, though it was clear that something unpleasant must have happened to him at the hands of someone in uniform. We had that dog for years, and he never did get over that, nothing we could ever do would put him at ease if someone in uniform was in sight. What made it very difficult, this was shortly after WW2 and Korea, and there were many uniformed soldiers everywhere.
 

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Maybe you should listen to your dog and dump the guy. Dogs are the best at judging character.
This has crossed my mind but I've been conflicted because I really have no idea whether she knows something I don't or whether she's just being finicky for whatever reason. If only she could tell me.
 

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True, dogs are good character judges, but with an adopted dog, you really never know what their past experiences may have been. Many years ago, when I was a kid we got an eight month old dog from the shelter (dog pound) in those days. He hated anyone in uniform, police, postman, military, even kids in boy scout uniforms. We never knew exactly why, though it was clear that something unpleasant must have happened to him at the hands of someone in uniform. We had that dog for years, and he never did get over that, nothing we could ever do would put him at ease if someone in uniform was in sight. What made it very difficult, this was shortly after WW2 and Korea, and there were many uniformed soldiers everywhere.
Thanks for sharing this. I'm still holding out hope that I'll be able to get her to come around to him but if she won't then I guess she just won't.
 

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This has crossed my mind but I've been conflicted because I really have no idea whether she knows something I don't or whether she's just being finicky for whatever reason. If only she could tell me.
Since it is one of many of the same type people size, gender that would make me suspicious that is it this particular person.
 
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