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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, if you could offer and advice I would really appreciate it. I live with my two Standards a 6 year old and 2 and a half year old. Two years ago despite being in my early twenties I became unwell and now live life in a wheelchair. My youngest was not even one when I got poorly and I think it may have made some issues?

After coming home from hospital I tried to do normal things, socialising and exercising but it began to be difficult to get out. I payed one of my brothers to walk them for me but I don't think he was really interested so they'd go days without walks. I employed a dog walker but she told me she'd dropped my dog's leash on a busy road and struggled to get him again, so she wasn't allowed to walk them again.
I have since moved and found an excellent dog walker but I think the year that my youngest wasn't constantly going out and having new experiences my have been damaging.
This morning I took my boys out, they have a long strong lead with suspension just while they go out and have a wee because where I live now is a communal area, for elderly and disabled so I can't just let them off.

A man was posting things in doors, I thought it was the mailman and I didn't expect any letters so I didn't bring my dogs in, anyway I was busy with cleaning up. He made his round and came up to my area, he was posting leaflets about Covid and some helpful numbers to call if anyone needed it. He was wearing a see-through mask on his face. My youngest began to bark at him, which he does to strangers and I'm working on it, he is a lot better than he used to be. I told him to sit and was going to grab his leash and control him, but before I could do that the man walked into his range.
My dog ran up to his leg REALLY excited, I didn't really think anything from it, just to continue to try and grab his leash when I could. The man was trying to hand me a leaflet and explaining about it. I was still trying to control my youngest dog, but when he raised his arm to give me the leaflet my youngest jumped up and it looked like he was trying to grab the mans arm. He never did but his mouth definitely opened.

The man said "Oh I'm not good with dogs." but continued to walk forwards up to me, in hindsight I probably should have probably told him to stop and wait. I finally grabbed my dogs lead, putting my brakes on I can control him. The man walked away with a "stay inside!" and left me feeling so guilty to what could have happened. The man is trying to help the community and my dog almost bites him.

When I used to live with my brothers they played rough with my youngest, letting him grab their arms and mouthing, I always told them to stop but now it's always his default play game, I never indulge in it, always redirecting him with a toy.
Could he have been overexcited in meeting a new stranger that he began playing rough with him?
Does it sound like pure aggression?


Please if anyone could let me know what I can do to stop this behaviour. While covid is going on I haven't been able to get the dog walker here, so dog trainers are out the question too.
I can't take him for long walks anymore but i take him out on the field near me to play on a long leash. I give him things to do within the house, he helps me around the house, he can fetch things, brings the mail, closes doors and when I drop things he runs over so he can pick them up and gives me them back.
 

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It is hard to tell, even from your detailed description, how much was excitement and how much reacting to a possible threat, but it is clear it was all too much for your younger dog. A stranger, carrying papers (mailman alert!), wearing a mask (eek!), continuing to approach despite your dog's warning, and finally reaching out towards you - many dogs would find that a lot to cope with.

If you move fast you should just have time to register for Susan Garrett's Home School free dog training course - it is only open for a few more hours so don't wait: Home School The Dog - DogsThat Susan does a lot of work on getting and keeping your dog's focus on you rather than the environment, which may be helpful.
 

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I don't think its pure aggression though I feel he was protecting you. The man shouldn't have approached you or anyone who has a dog with them they should ask first and if they don't you should always tell them to stop and not approach until at least you know you have you dog under control. Wearing a mask could have been scary to make the dog act out some and certainly raising his arm would. I think you have a protective dog but not necessarily aggressive. Mine will at times act out if someone quickly approaches me he will bark. I make him sit and if I spend time chatting I will ask the person if I can allow him to sniff . Some want to pet him but I always say let him initiate it and move slowly. Once they do he is fine.
 

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It’s hard to tell from just a description and without seeing the dog’s body language. Maybe you can watch videos on dog body language and warning signals so you can interpret better next time. Dogs have ways of showing their intentions, it’s for us to learn you to understand their language.

Since your dog is young and excitable, and since your brothers taught him to play rough, and since he isn’t getting as much exercise as maybe he would need, there is a strong possibility that he was just trying to play. The fact that the man, who doesn’t know dogs, had no fear at all of him, might suggest that also.

I hope you figure it out. If you can, one day, we could help you better if we saw a video of your dog reacting.
 

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While I understand your dog problem, they man should not have continued toward you when your dog responded to him. Please call his organization and explain that people delivering fliers should be told how to approach a dog and have some sense about it. Another dog responding the same way may very well have bitten the man.

Also, you really don't know the man's intention. His handing out fliers could have been a way of getting close to you for nefarious reasons. Your dog may have done the right thing. Just the same, work with him on "sit". Use a clicker.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for your replies, I feel a bit better. I'll keep working with him, when Covid is over in hopes he will find strangers boring and uninteresting in the future. In reading your replies and sitting down to think about it I would also agree that it was probably excited play rather than full on aggression, but maybe could have escalated, so something I will have to be mindful of. I think the face mask played a huge part too, as it took me by surprise when I see it too. Maybe I'll try and make a game of sitting whenever strangers are near? Thank you for the link I've signed up and looking forward to learning something new!
If it's safe and I'm able I'll definitely take a video of his behaviour, a good idea thank you.
 

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Hello, if you could offer and advice I would really appreciate it. I live with my two Standards a 6 year old and 2 and a half year old. Two years ago despite being in my early twenties I became unwell and now live life in a wheelchair. My youngest was not even one when I got poorly and I think it may have made some issues?

After coming home from hospital I tried to do normal things, socialising and exercising but it began to be difficult to get out. I payed one of my brothers to walk them for me but I don't think he was really interested so they'd go days without walks. I employed a dog walker but she told me she'd dropped my dog's leash on a busy road and struggled to get him again, so she wasn't allowed to walk them again.
I have since moved and found an excellent dog walker but I think the year that my youngest wasn't constantly going out and having new experiences my have been damaging.
This morning I took my boys out, they have a long strong lead with suspension just while they go out and have a wee because where I live now is a communal area, for elderly and disabled so I can't just let them off.

A man was posting things in doors, I thought it was the mailman and I didn't expect any letters so I didn't bring my dogs in, anyway I was busy with cleaning up. He made his round and came up to my area, he was posting leaflets about Covid and some helpful numbers to call if anyone needed it. He was wearing a see-through mask on his face. My youngest began to bark at him, which he does to strangers and I'm working on it, he is a lot better than he used to be. I told him to sit and was going to grab his leash and control him, but before I could do that the man walked into his range.
My dog ran up to his leg REALLY excited, I didn't really think anything from it, just to continue to try and grab his leash when I could. The man was trying to hand me a leaflet and explaining about it. I was still trying to control my youngest dog, but when he raised his arm to give me the leaflet my youngest jumped up and it looked like he was trying to grab the mans arm. He never did but his mouth definitely opened.

The man said "Oh I'm not good with dogs." but continued to walk forwards up to me, in hindsight I probably should have probably told him to stop and wait. I finally grabbed my dogs lead, putting my brakes on I can control him. The man walked away with a "stay inside!" and left me feeling so guilty to what could have happened. The man is trying to help the community and my dog almost bites him.

When I used to live with my brothers they played rough with my youngest, letting him grab their arms and mouthing, I always told them to stop but now it's always his default play game, I never indulge in it, always redirecting him with a toy.
Could he have been overexcited in meeting a new stranger that he began playing rough with him?
Does it sound like pure aggression?


Please if anyone could let me know what I can do to stop this behaviour. While covid is going on I haven't been able to get the dog walker here, so dog trainers are out the question too.
I can't take him for long walks anymore but i take him out on the field near me to play on a long leash. I give him things to do within the house, he helps me around the house, he can fetch things, brings the mail, closes doors and when I drop things he runs over so he can pick them up and gives me them back.
he only did what he feels is natural to protect his family. the man obviously had not been trained in delivery protocols or he was correct, he doesn't get along with dogs and he shuddva backed off. sounds like pure doggie.
 

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I'm not impressed with the man's handling of the situation. A large excited dog pulling at the wrong angle could easily have spilled you out of your chair. His lack of dog savvy put you in harms way.
 

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If your dog is stressed around strangers, asking him to sit (an unnatural behaviour) will intensify his discomfort and potentially ratchet up his excitement until he explodes.

Try scattering treats on the ground paired with a command to encourage him to sniff, or ask him to touch your hand in exchange for treats. You can also look up the game "Look at that."

The idea is to focus his attention on you when he's anxious, and then reward reward reward. Eventually he'll look to you automatically when he's unsure, while also equating scary things with fun yummy things. :)
 

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I'm really sorry you had to go through that. I agree with what most said, that the man was very wrong in his handling of the situation. When he saw your dog was upset and out of control, he should have simply backed up and let you take control of your dog. Anyone with any tiny bit of dog sense would know better than to step and reach into the situation taking place right in front of him. I, personally doubt it was play at all. The strange mask on the man's face, dressed in kind of uniform look, and the fact the man didn't back off at all when your dog was obviously telling him to just made matters worse. I don't think he was being aggressive either. He loves you and wants to protect you, and that's exactly what he was doing... and what a good boy for doing his job. I also agree he needs to be taught more appropriate responses, and listening to you in stressful situations. Sounds like you've got great thoughts to follow up on already. Your dog sounds awesome!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If your dog is stressed around strangers, asking him to sit (an unnatural behaviour) will intensify his discomfort and potentially ratchet up his excitement until he explodes.

Try scattering treats on the ground paired with a command to encourage him to sniff, or ask him to touch your hand in exchange for treats. You can also look up the game "Look at that."

The idea is to focus his attention on you when he's anxious, and then reward reward reward. Eventually he'll look to you automatically when he's unsure, while also equating scary things with fun yummy things. :)
Haven't thought of it that way, maybe asking him to sit isn't helping. He isn't very food orientated so I'll teach him to touch my hand and we'll work from there then, thank you for your advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm not impressed with the man's handling of the situation. A large excited dog pulling at the wrong angle could easily have spilled you out of your chair. His lack of dog savvy put you in harms way.
It's sad to say I'm really used to bad responses from people, four or five times before while I've been walking Darwin down a street someone will stop to admire him across a road. While cars are going past, they'll call to him and be really exciting. Darwin, being really excitable around people begins to pull into the road, pulling me and the chair, luckily I'll just put on my brakes until the person gets bored and walks away.
The first time it happened I was shocked that someone would encourage a dog that was attached to a wheelchair into traffic
 
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