I never had this problem until I reached my late 30’s, but now even my barber is offering to trim them for me!
Tell us about your dog!
He's a 3-4 year old rescue dog, probably not socialised as a pup, as he was picked up as a stray at around 9 months old, and was in the shelter for years.
What kind of breed is your dog and approximately how much do they weigh?
My best guess is a ridgeback/boxer cross, and he's just over 30kg.
How old is your dog now?
About 3/4 years old.
How long have you had your dog?
A month and a half.
How old was your dog when you noticed their reactivity?
The second we brought him home.
What is your dog's energy level?
He's pretty lazy/unfit, but gets very excited for walkies!
Has your dog bitten anyone? If they have, how often and how severely?
Yes, nipped twice and bit (& shook) once, with someone he'd met previously and been fine with, though in a different situation.
How much physical and mental exercise do you do with your dog?
Lots! Minimum 2 hours walking a day, and lots of training and play (which I'm having to teach him how to do).
Has your dog been with you through major life changes? Things like moving, having kids, getting another dog, etc.
Nope, shelter dog, returned twice due to his "issues".
What type of area do you live in currently? Suburbs, urban, countryside? If you're comfortable, you can share the nearest metro area and we may be able to recommend specific trainers/behaviorists.
I'm in the UK. I have a large park with lots of dog walkers nearby, and lots of lovely woodland to walk through. Also urban environments if I want to.
What things does your dog do when reacting? (jump, bark, lunge, stare, whine, etc.) Check out ispeakdog.com for wonderful examples of behavior.
He lunges and bites at strangers in the house, even those he's been introduced to before. He's absolutely fine with everyone outside the house. He is a fearful dog, and will stop on walks if he spots something he doesn't like, though I can't work out the trigger.
What triggers a reaction? Men, women, kids, dogs, birds, and so on.
Strangers in the house. "Something" on walks, though only in urban environments.
Do they react the same everywhere or do they only react in certain locations?
Home for strangers, randomly in urban settings.
Does your dog react the same to their triggers on leash versus off leash? If they react on leash, do they redirect onto you or the leash?
He's always on the leash right now. He will greet dogs outside nicely, then lunges at them, growling. Hard to say if it's play or aggression. He's fine with smaller dogs, just bigger dogs are the issue.
Does your dog react to their triggers behind a barrier? (Like a window or a fence)
He barks if he hears a noise outside, which is rare, as we're set back from the road.
What's their threshold distance? Can they see any of their triggers at a distance and not react?
For other dogs, he'll stop and stare, at about 100m.
What sort of training, if any, have you done so far? This includes counter conditioning, BAT, Look at That game, and many others.
Limit strangers in the home, and have them feed him treats behind a safety gate before bringing him out on a lead, and muzzled.
Is your dog on any medications for their reactivity? Is this something you would consider?
Nothing as yet, but happy to consider.
How much time will/can you commit to helping your dog work through reactivity?
I'm a "kept man", so all day, every day.
What sort of equipment do you have? Leashes, collars, harnesses, muzzles, etc. We generally do not recommend aversives on fearful or aggressive dogs because it can make the reactivity worse.
He has a collar, harness, training lead (halti), recall line (10m) and an 8m 60kg rated retractable lead. He started with a gentle leader as he'd pull like a train, but is much better now with stop/start training.
I just got a rescue dog, who has a (short) history of biting (more like nipping) at house visitors. He was returned from his last home for this reason.
He's about 4 years old, and probably a Ridgeback/Boxer mix.
The shelter gave us instructions for introducing visitors, which are to put him in a room with a safety gate, have the visitors stand sideways and throw him treats, then let him out when he's nice and calm.
So we did exactly this, only he wasn't "bad" at all. He was wagging his tail, and jumping up for attention. No barking, nothing. Still, we followed the instructions to the letter.
Once we let him out, he was fine, wagging his tail and being friendly.
We sat down to talk, and have a drink, and all seemed well, though I did notice the dog yawn (a warning sign I think, but otherwise his body language didn't seem fearful).
After a while, out of the blue, he lunged at the nipped my friends arm. Fortunately he was wearing long sleeves, and it didn't draw blood. It wasn't a bite around the arm, it was a nip and release, which I believe is a fearful aggressive action.
I immediately put him back in his room with the baby gate.
Then another friend, who he'd been playing with, and had taken treats from her hand happily, walked past the gate, and he barked at her.
This is a dog that is absolutely fine with strangers outside of the house, so possibly a territory fear thing.
He did once growl at my wife when she moved his butt off her when we were on the sofa, but now he has lost his sofa privileges, and it isn't an issue.
Otherwise, with us, he's a loving and friendly dog.
The problem is that we often have visitors come to stay for days at a time, so separation, or muzzling, aren't great options.
Any ideas how to get him to accept visitors to the house?
My wife wants to return him, but I really want to give him a chance, if his behavior can be changed.