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Aggressive Behavior

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Member Since
12/19/2011
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 19, '11 10:59am PST 
It seems only "Ellie May" has had an issue with "protective" behavior (See http://www.dogster.com/forums/Saint_bernard/thread/621141 )and I am not sure if anyone here can help. I have an email in to a local resource person from the St. Bernard Club and am still awaiting a response.

I don't own a Saint but I now live with one. There have been issues about unfriendly behavior from day one and it has been steadily worsening. The dog and its owner moved in about a month ago - owner is divorcing. The Saint does not accept anyone but the owner - including people who knew and played with it in its former home before the domestic breakup. Long story short, he is having a lot of difficulty adapting - going from a country situation to a close-in suburb, nearly no visitors to frequent comings and goings, no restraints to highly restricted areas of movement. Situation is far from ideal for him - or me. Adding to the normal stress of moving and losing a valued relationship (the other half of the divorcing couple) it turns out he was trained by the other half to drive off visitors, was otherwise provided no training and has a permissive owner who adores him and is inconsistent and/or too slow to respond with the needed corrections. Also sometimes shows poor judgment in handling situations. I am actually afraid to be around this dog. I hate to have to go downstairs and walk past him to get to the kitchen and/or laundry room. He barks wildly, sometimes growling and/or lunging in full attack mode against any restraint. I have been around Saints before and never witnessed anything like this. I am a dog lover who has grown up with dogs and frankly have never had a problem before. I once knew someone who had a dog that had been trained to protect the house and family, but the owner was in complete control and once you were inside and the owner made it clear you were welcome, there was no problem. That is NOT the case here. Plus this dog does not learn over time, even with repeated attempts by the owner to teach him not to bark at me. It's not just me, either - it's anyone but the owner or her mother. Any ideas?
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Member Since
12/19/2011
 
 
Barked: Thu Dec 22, '11 9:35am PST 
Just updating my post to share an excellent post at Allexperts from Shelley Davis, owner of Bed & Biscuit at http://en.allexperts.com/q/Dogs-701/St-Bernard-somtimes-become.htm . It seems full of very sage advice for dog owners regarding aggressive behaviors or potentially aggressive behaviors in dogs.

However, I do not own this dog and, since I cannot control the owner's behavior, I still need recommendations as to what I can do to improve the situation or, if need be, defend myself without worsening the aggression.

Someone suggested using a spray bottle of water, but, while I think that could work coming from the owner (and presumed pack leader), it could make it worse coming from someone who is considered to be outside the pack by the dog. Plus, since I want to avoid escalating the interpersonal strain already developing over the dog's behavior, I would need the owner's permission to do that, and I don't think that would be forthcoming.

As a last resort, if the dog breaks loose and comes at me, I am wondering if pepper spray is effective or not. I have never had to consider such options before in my entire life and have no personal experience to go on at all in this matter.

Also, for some reason my avatar on this post indicates I have been a member since 12/31/1969 - this is wrong. I just joined on 12/19/2011 and don't know what has caused the change from my original post on that date.
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Member Since
12/19/2011
 
 
Barked: Thu Dec 22, '11 9:56am PST 
After my post was finalized and added to the thread, the avatar info was restored to the correct timeline. I guess the date changes temporarily to 12/31/1969 while you are composing and changes back to the right date when your post is finalized and added to the thread.

Just FYI since some will no doubt notice my avatar now has the right date and be wondering what the heck I was talking about 12/31/1969 for!
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