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Skittish Dog/Growling

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
Silas

Loco
 
 
Barked: Sun May 5, '13 6:38am PST 
I adopted Silas yesterday, and he is extremely skittish. I know he needs time to settle in and get familiar with his surroundings, but some of his behaviors worry me and I was hoping for some advice on how to deal with them. I have done some reading, but I would like to see what others say. I am going to be taking him to basic obedience classes.

Just a little background on Silas: He was given to the rescue by a Backyard Breeder as “leftover stock”. He is approximately one and spent most of his life in a barn with other dogs. He is good with other dogs (although annoying to older ones).

Within the day, he has become my shadow and follows me everywhere. However, he will run off if I approach him when I am standing up, and he will not go near his food bowl until I have left it. When I am sitting or lying, he will come and sit next to me or in my lap and likes to be scratched/ cuddled.

The bigger problem is that he doesn't like anyone else in the family. I live with my parents and sister. He runs away if they are near (expect if my mom is doing laundry; he like to watch). If I am sitting (even if he’s not necessarily next to me), he growls if they approach me/him. I try to interrupt this behavior, by saying ‘no’ and sometimes giving his a small nudge in the side. The rescue told me, he has tried to nip someone that approached him while sitting in someone’s lap once.

Any advice would be great.
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Silas

Loco
 
 
Barked: Sun May 5, '13 7:00am PST 
I thought I should clarify something. My parents and sister are ignoring him for now... when I say he growls when they approach him, I mean it as a more general: they are walking into the area he is.
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Jax (earned- her wings- 5/30/12)

Give me your- toy.
 
 
Barked: Sun May 5, '13 3:53pm PST 
He is "guarding" you. Have your family be the only caregivers for a while, feed, play, walk and treats. Have him completely dependent on them. It is up to you to control his behavior while he's on your lap. If he growls while he's on your lap or the couch, take him off. Growling will NOT get him what he wants. You can find some really yummy treats, something he will die for, and have your family feed them to him. Don't you feed them to him because he apparently bonded with you which is not a problem but he needs to understand your family is good too. Good Luck!
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Silas

Loco
 
 
Barked: Sun May 5, '13 6:47pm PST 
Thanks for the advice Jax!
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Jax (earned- her wings- 5/30/12)

Give me your- toy.
 
 
Barked: Thu May 9, '13 3:59am PST 
How's your new pup settling in? Is he doing any better?
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Silas

Loco
 
 
Barked: Thu May 9, '13 12:50pm PST 
Silas's getting better and worst. Lol. He no longer runs off is I approach him; I can basically do anything to him.

He is less skittish around my mom and my sister, but growls and barks when someone is being too loud or walks in the door (mainly my dad) -- apparently he never barked at the rescue. When he does this, if he is sitting on the couch, I will take him off the couch. I also tell him no. He is fine sitting in other people's laps if I put him in there. He does not like people approaching him. I took your advice and have my dad feed him and my sister walks him in the morning.

He has some separation anxiety though. He hates it when I leave and will poop (though he is not technically house trained, but he hasn't gone in the house unless I was gone). He doesn't whine, but will bark and growl if he knows I'm still in the house or wait by the door. I try to leave something to chew, but he won't chew it until I return.

I hope he will grow more comfortable, as the week goes on.
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Jax (earned- her wings- 5/30/12)

Give me your- toy.
 
 
Barked: Thu May 9, '13 5:34pm PST 
He's probably still settling in. Some dogs take longer than others. Sounds like your making progress which is a good thing. As for the potty training, have you thought about crate training him? My dogs are crate trained and they eventually graduated out of the crate. Just something to think about. Sounds like your doing the right things. Good Luck!
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Silas

Loco
 
 
Barked: Thu May 9, '13 6:55pm PST 
I am slowly working on the crate, as he goes crazy inside of it; I don't want it to become a negative thing. I'm going to have my sister take him out for a walk when I leave and see if coming back to an empty house is easier for him.

Thanks again for all the advice! smile
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Jax (earned- her wings- 5/30/12)

Give me your- toy.
 
 
Barked: Fri May 10, '13 3:41am PST 
No problem. Good Luck! way to go
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