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Help! Extremely fearful miniature dachshund

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Doxie123, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. Doxie123

    Doxie123 PetForums Newbie

    Jul 5, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Hi all,

    I have a 9 month old miniature dachshund that has a real problem with strangers and especially visitors to the house. We have had him since he was a puppy and thought that we did everything you were 'supposed' to do to socialise him e.g take him out in our arms before he had his jabs/take him on car rides/to other peoples houses etc.

    His problem is barking and growling at strangers, to the point where he will not stop until they are out of sight. This has gradually got worse over the months and now when we have visitors he is almost at the point of lunging and looks like he might bite if they come too close. It is horrible to see and really stresses him out. Obviously we are not having visitors round at the moment as we don't want to put him in that situation, but we are at a loss of how to tackle the issue.

    Does anyone have any tips of how to create a positive association with strangers and visitors? We have been told so many conflicting things from taking him to the busiest place we can do 'desensitise' him - to only taking him on walks where we know we won't meet any people or dogs!

    Any advise is much appreciated.
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

    Feb 1, 2016
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    There is a product called Adaptil, it's an artificial hormone that replicates the one a bitch has after having puppies and acts as a calmative. It comes in a plug in, a spray, or a collar. Use it (a couple of hours before a stressful visit if you can anticipate it) so he is relaxed. Also have a safe bolt hole for him. Somewhere he can retreat to, with a cosy bed. Somewhere like behind a chair or if you have stairs the space under them is often good, but it can be anywhere. If he is crate trained it could be his crate. If a stressful event like a visitor is coming, give him a superspecial long lasting treat in his safe place, like a Kong with a frozen filling (maybe reserve this special filling only for these occasions). He hopefully will associate the treat with the things that were scary and come to realise they mean nice things happen. When a visitor comes, tell them to ignore him. Completely. And be very aware of their body language. Dogs find face to face, direct eye contact quite threatening so the visitor mustn't even look at your dog at first. As they pass your dog (after ignoring him for a few visits) the visitor can drop - not toss - high value treats like pieces of chicken. He hopefully will learn the visitor's presence is a good thing and come to trust them but let him approach the visitor, not the other way round. He may well always be mistrustful of strangers but given time you can progress this. But expect it to take months, not days. Go at his pace.

    I definitely would not recommend taking him busy places to desensitise him - if you were afraid of, say, snakes how desensitised would you feel if someone put you in a snake pit?

    Let us know how you get on.
    #2 JoanneF, Jul 5, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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