|Barked: Tue Oct 7, '08 2:40pm PST |
|Hi am am a first time bullmastiff owner but not a first time big dog owner, nor aggresive dog owner, nor problem dog owner. As a kid people dumped strays all the time at my dad's farm. We took care of them tried to make sure they had some basic training then found new homes for them, we even kept a few like my Ziggy a white german sheppard that came to us extrenely aggressive but with patience and continued exposure became my favorite dog as a kid. That explained now on to Sparks, one of our strays was a bullmastiff and I absolutely loved her but my dad thought she was too big so we found her a new home where she stayed until she died or old age. I decided after my siberian husky was stolen from my yard to get a bully (we finally had the space and the money and the time). I got Sparks from Texas (I live in MN) the plan trip tramatized him , his crate was battered and he was hiding under the padding that was with it. It took me 3 hours to gently persuade him out (my car was too small for the crate, but I didn't just want to yank him out, I waited until he was comfortable to be out and stay out before I moved him to the car). His other tramatice experience was we took him camping and a stranger with a large walking staff suddenly lunged at us to pet Sparks, he immedately went on the defensive and started barking and growling. I made the man (stupid idiot) stand there until sparks calmed down (after I said a thing or two to the idot) handed the idoit a treat and had him give Sparks a few treats.
Now the problem Sparks has started growling at people that get into his personal face space, including my 10 year old son. (no tramatic experiences with any of the kids, another son that is 7 and a daughter that is 5, they have always been supervised with him) When he growls at my son I tell him "No" and sit with him and my son while the interact, I have also had my son start walking him so that htey can improve thier bond (again with supervision), he has gotten tons better with my son, but now is growling at other people. I am confused because he goes up to them with all body signs of pet me now but while they are petting him he growls at them. Then when I am gone and my husband is in charge he apparently does a more vicious growl at anyone that tells him to do something. He obeys but the growl scares people. (I have yet to witness that because he only does it when I am not home.) His other growl is a deep throat growl with slight curling of the lips. I have tried positive reinforcement by me telling him to stop them having the people he is growling at give him a treat when they pet him without him growling.
Is there anything else I can do to stop this behavor, we took him everywhere with us, petco, petsmart, long drives, camping ect he has lots of contact with people and other dogs, I am not sure why he started this or how to stop it. But I want to work with him rather then finding him a new home.
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