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  #1  
Old 23-12-2013, 09:52 AM
Susieann Susieann is offline
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Rescue Dog

I have had my cross staffie rescue dog now for about two months. She is lovely with other dogs, great in the house, affectionate with myself and husband but with strangers she is very wary and has snapped on several occasions. She goes up to them for a fuss then when they fuss her she snaps. She hasnt bitten anyone but I honestly think she could. I love her to bits but just dont know how to deal with this behaviour. Any advice please.
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Old 23-12-2013, 10:01 AM
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Re: Rescue Dog

A dog will only bite if you give them reason. The same goes for snapping. Their is possibly a languege barrier here perhaps she is telling you she wants something else rather then a fuss??

Does she lean her head back away from you when you make a fuss before snapping?
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Old 23-12-2013, 10:15 AM
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Re: Rescue Dog

I'd say not let strangers fuss her (which she's clearly not comfortable with), but provide them with a treat to give her instead. That way, any interaction with the stranger would be positive in her terms, but over with quickly so she's not being pushed beyond her tolerance of interaction.

It could be that she's had previous bad experience of being loomed over, which many dogs find threatening in the first place, when a stranger bends down to fuss her. It might be worth seeing what she's like if the person is at her level - but obviously test with a known person first, and perhaps a muzzle to be on the safe side.
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Old 23-12-2013, 10:38 AM
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Re: Rescue Dog

If she's happy with you, then when strangers approach, I'd suggest YOU feed her. This way, it builds up trust that the new on-comer is ok, because you're not worried, therefore she shouldn't be worried, then once the dog's body language has gone into relaxed mode, the "stranger" should offer her a tit-bit, but only once the dog is relaxed, and just one, not force them on her.

A stranger offering food to a nervous dog can, in some cases, make the dog more wary. The dog's confidence needs to be built up around new people IMO.
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Old 23-12-2013, 03:31 PM
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Re: Rescue Dog

Sounds like she's tense and nervous when strangers approach. I would ensure nobody tries to touch her other than you and your husband - for now.

There are some sites online where you can get vests which read 'DO NOT TOUCH' or something similar. Might be an idea to get one, especially as you feel she could bite, potentially.

With rescue dogs it can take a long, long time for them to really relax. I know that my Lab didn't really relax properly for an entire year; he could accept affection a bit, but he would constantly air snap and growl the rest of the time. I had to learn to give him space and let him set the pace.

So take things nice and slowly with your girl You may at times have to physically stand between her and strangers to prevent them from approaching her. Don't be apologetic or awkward about doing this - you are her protector

Hopefully once she starts to get more confident and settled, she will relax more. If not, you might want to seek the advice of a good behaviourist or trainer. But do make sure you ONLY use someone who employs kind and positive methods. Run a mile from anyone who even mentions 'dominance'!
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Old 23-12-2013, 04:00 PM
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Re: Rescue Dog

My last dog was not happy around strangers although she never snapped. She would bark at strangers coming into the house if she was there to witness it, but if they had come in whilst she was out, then she was quite happy with them.
I let her approach people on her own terms asking them not to reach out and stroke her, let her come to them. She would usually sniff them over, then nudge a hand to be stroked which she would allow for a while, then take herself off. When we had the another dog with her, that one was very friendly and happy to meet and greet. I used to pull Jodi back and let her see how Tora was getting stroked and made a fuss of, then Jodi would push Tora out of the way and demand a petting.
Let your dog decide what she does and does not want. If she doesn't wasn't any strokes from a stranger, then don't let them, not even to try and encourage her over, the strangers need to ignore her. She is still settling in with you and lacks confidence in all the changes that have happened. If she starts to relax with strangers in the house because they are ignoring her and making no demands, then reward her with praise and a treat so she sees that people in the house are a nice thing. She will gradually accept that it happens that random people will come and go and will become more confident.
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