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Reactive Behavior in Rescue Dog

  1. #1

    Reactive Behavior in Rescue Dog

    Hi there! We lost our 14 year old yellow lab last year who we had since a puppy. He was sweet, calm, completely non-reactive. We have recently (2 months ago) rescued a 4 year old lab mix named Rizzo. We had visited him, had him visit us, etc several times before adopting him. We never saw any reactive or aggressive tendencies and his foster said the only reactiveness he showed was at the vet, and I do believe her. Our first two weeks he would let anyone in the house and anyone pet him. After about 3 weeks we noticed he was fear aggressive with any strangers. He will bark and then lunge and snap if they try to approach him/stand up. He has to be leashed while a visitor walks into the house and when they are in the house. The only person he's ever not done this to is my mom who sees him often. He never is reactive to her. We have a trainer friend who has come over several times. He made seemingly good progress with him (Rizzo would allow him into house, he was able to bring his wife and child in, and we were able to have him off leash). We practiced with some visitors and had success. Yesterday, one of our neighbors wanted to meet him so she came over to the front yard. I had a treat for her to give him. He was fine at first but then started barking and lunged at her and her husband. He was on the leash so nobody got hurt. But I was so upset because I felt like we were making such good progress. He never barks or lunches at people who he sees on walks but might if they approached him. He's amazing with us and our kids who are 6 and 11. Very gentle. Never has snapped. But I teach my kids to watch body language and keep faces away. We always leash him out in front and have a fenced in yard. We always put him in our bedroom when kids friends come over. He does not bark or scratch to get out. My question is are there any other suggestions? Does he sound trainable? Our trainer said he will make process if we work at it. Should we use his basket muzzle when walking him? He lets me put one on. Some people have told us to get rid of him and he's a danger. Some have said he'll get better and to be patient. He was chained in a backyard his first year of life. So no socialization as a pup. But in his other rescue home he had no aggression and was fine around people--they had to get rid of him due to living arrangements. He does seem protective of us, too. We have fallen in love with him and I would hate for him to be bounced around more. Help.....what can we do????

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    New Hampshire
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    5,870
    he is now feeling comfortable in his new home and to him its his territory and he's guarding it. I have a shepherd that will not let anyone on the property or near me, she won't chase people walking down the road as long as they don't approach the yard or my house. You are NOT going to take this out of him, the best you can hope for is to control it. For generations dogs have been bred to guard and protect their "pack" they can't help it, its genetic. You don't know whats in his bloodline, he could come from a line of dogs that were protective.

    Your trainer may get him so he may let people in but be aware he is a loose cannon and a bite happens quickly so to be on the safe side keep him leashed to you or put him in another room when you have visitors.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  3. #3
    I'm wondering why he wasn't like this with the owners he had after being chained up for the year. They have come to visit him and I sincerely believe they are telling the truth.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    New Hampshire
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    5,870
    they probably are but dogs pick who they want to guard and protect, maybe he felt he didn't need to protect them. Who knows what goes through their minds. Mine loves my son, she goes crazy when he gets home from work, yet if I'm in my room and she is on the bed and he comes to the bedroom door she will growl at him. He ignores her and she never tried to bite him but she doesn't want him coming in my room.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  5. #5
    Do you muzzle for walks?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    5,870
    no, she doesn't even need a leash, she stays right beside me and never bothers anyone, if another dog approaches her she looks at me and I say no, leave it alone and she just backs away. She has to be muzzled at the vets and at the groomer but otherwise no
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    5,870
    this is phoenix with her best friend my bengal when he was a kitten

    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

Please reply to this thread with any new information or opinions.

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