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I was taking Miracle outside today, and when bringing her back into the apartment, there was a man right by the staircase. It was a surprise to both of us because I did not see him through the window. I did not have a tight grip on the leash, and she pulled away and latch her teeth right on his ankle and growled. I also fell right into him. He told me he wasn't bleeding and he was very nice about it, but I am very concerned. He might contact the landlord (hoping he doesn't), but I am more concerned about Miracle's behavior. This is the first time she has done this to someone outside of my family. She did (I thought playfully) go after my dad's ankles when she first met him, and she also went after my brother-in-laws foot. Now she is fine with both people.

I have taken her to public spaces and she is fine, but in and near the apartment complex, she wants to lunge at people's feet. I thought it was just with males, but she has done this with females as well. Right now, after this incident, the only solution I have is to carry her in the hallways because I don't trust the leash not slipping again. If I didn't live in an apartment, I wouldn't worry, but people are constantly in the hallways. Any advice on this situation? Just a reminder that she is a rescue, and I have no idea what her life was like for the first 6 years. She never goes after the ankles of people she knows well.
 

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If I were in your situation (and I was when I had my Maltese in a condo), I would just pick Miracle up and carry her in the hallways and put her down where she has space and feels more secure. I think she's acting out of nervousness/insecurity with all of the people around and getting startled. I certainly think she could be trained out of this behavior, but if she's easy to carry, I'd do that.
 

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I'm totally with ZM on this. Carry your dog if it's easy. Also, take your dog to places where you can people watch and offer very high value rewards as people walk around. Make sure the people are close enough to be interesting, but far enough not to be scary. Look at that man in the hat. Two treats for hats. Look at that girl with the braids. Girls are worth five treats. Chatter happily, narrating the scene around you, giving out random amounts of treats for looking at people. Don't interact with anyone other than your dog. Look at that boy. Boys are worth six treats. Running boys in groups are worth 15 treats.

If your dog won't take a treat, you're too close to the people. People watch and chatter happily about the world, and work on basic obedience with sit and stay. Like you said, you don't know the dog's history, but you can work on creating a peaceful future, and that matters.
 

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I agree with the others, I'd just pick her up. She sounds afraid and when started ankle bites. Click had some good ideas to work on too. My pup has been a little fearful of things, people dogs kids. I just lay back in the wings now he is doing much better. Being a rescue you never know what she was put thru so sometimes you have to make accommodations.
 

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Count me in on pick her up too. Some problems can be trained away and some just need to be avoided.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
She hates being picked up, but I started doing it last night and now she is accepting it....even kissed me a few times today when I was carrying her outside.

Miracle only pulls on the leash and shows that she wants to "go after" people (sometimes people with other dogs) when she is in or near the apartment building. I have taken her other places and she is absolutely fine and didn't show this type of behavior at all...so it seems to be about "her" territory and being around people she hasn't seen before or doesn't know well when in this space. For example, she has seen the german shepherd and her owner numerous times and no longer reacts as strongly to them, but the man who came outside with his dog this morning when I took her out to go to the bathroom is a different story. She was pulling hard to try to go up to them. When we are outside, she won't accept treats.

There is a class in my area for reactive and anxious dogs, and I am going to enroll her in that. She went through a basic class with me, but this behavioral issue wasn't a challenge at that time.
 

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Oh certainly just carry her in and out of your apartment. Once you are outside then put her down. You might try Look At That (LAT) training for the reactivity outside.
 
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