Dog suddenly started snapping at strangers

I've had my dog for about three years. When I got him, the pound told me that he had been abused by the owner before me, and as a result he is super shy around strangers, especially men and dogs. He is super loving to me, and sticks to me like glue. Whenever we go for walks and a stranger or dog approaches him, he usually backs away and hides behind my legs. However, recently (like the past month or so), he's suddenly taken to snapping at strangers who try to touch him (I always warn people not to pet him but they do anyways), and at dogs who approach him.
Nothing has changed about his daily routine: he gets a minimum 90 minute walk per day (usually longer), we play fetch when I first get up and after dinner, and one or more car trip per week (visit my mom's house, go to the park, take a hike, go to petco, etc). I live alone, so it's not like he's being mistreated behind my back. He is a big dog, and I don't want him hurting anyone, or for anyone to try to say he's vicious. Thank you!

Asked by Member 970825 on Mar 5th 2010 in Fears & Phobias
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It seems like you are giving your dog lots of exercise, which is great! It is also good that you are telling people he is not people friendly, and I am sure it can be frustrating when they don't listen. But as you know dogs with abusive pasts still can have behavior issues that need to be worked through beyond just a good workout. The one thing that stood out was your saying that he sticks to you like glue and is super loving. The loyalty of your dog and the bond you have should be strong, and it is great, but you want to make sure he still knows you are the boss. Have you noticed that he gets aggressive with people when they try to get near you or touch you? If so, he may see you as his possession and as such feels the need to "claim you". If so, I think you should work on making it clear you are the leader. He needs to know that you are in charge, not him. And you should continue to work on him learning to trust others, which just takes time and patience. Hope this helps!

Penny answered on 3/5/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Don't let people pet your dog, be confident and tell them he was abused before by his previous owner and he is shy.
I wouldn't let anyone pet him because of his abusive past. It is good you saved him thank you.
But, really i don't blame the dog he has no reason to trust anyone again.
He is biting out of fear be his protector and tell people no. He is your dog and you say who pets him, if they don't listen yell.
They can lie if they get bit and say you said it is ok to pet him.
It is only setting you up for a fine or worse.
Just tell them no and mean it. You might get some feedback but I think it is rude that people are not respecting you and the dog.
sorry, but I would be rather upset at these people.

Dieta answered on 3/6/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Check out This is the Dog Whisperer's website. He offers great tips, tricks, and videos on how to deal with different behavior issues. You will learn a ton from his website!! Once you recognize the signals to look for, you can work on stopping the behavior before it starts. Good luck!

Wyatt answered on 3/8/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer