|Barked: Sat Mar 30, '13 6:48pm PST |
|I notice you say on his profile that he's part Pyrenese. They're not necessarily known for being social with strangers and strange dogs. They're bred to be otherwise so they can protect livestock. So.. That in itself has me wondering if part of it is in fact genetics.
However... I do feel it's a combination and that it IS something you can train and socialize him out of(if nothing else, get him tolerant of those situations and looking to you for guidance instead of just reacting). He may never be social with people and dogs that he doesn't know, but you can probably get him to the point where he tolerates those situations better.
Maya was a combination of neglected socialization, bad training and genetics. Her sire was a very protective, territorial and even aggressive Rottweiler who was not handled well at all. I was able to get her(at six and seven years old!) to a point where she tolerated situations where new people came in(she was always good with other dogs though), whereas she USED to lunge, snap, growl, bark and even tried to bite on a few occasions when new people would come into her personal space. After over a year of training, combined with management and making people a positive thing, I got her to the point of tolerating those she wasn't comfortable with, asking for affection from those she was more comfortable with, and obeying me to go lay down or leave it when they made her nervous or scared. But it took a lot of daily work to get her that way.
I do think a trainer or behaviorist is your absolute best bet though. Do you have him trained and accustomed to a muzzle at all yet? If not, I would start desensitizing him to a basket muzzle and make a muzzle a really good thing for him - more as precaution than anything. If you end up having to use it, it'll be good to already have him accustomed to it, but it's something where you would be the one to gauge whether or not it's needed.
Keep in mind, you have two strong breeds mixed together, both of which have a tendency towards a protective, territorial response with strangers(both people and animals), so socialization is an absolute must, even if it comes a little later. Be diligent, manage interactions with your dog safely(just in case) while he's in training and being properly socialized, and you should be well on your way to changing his response.
What you ultimately want, is to change his response/reaction to strangers and the underlying cause of it too.
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