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Oscar is great with me and people he knows well. He's definitely a mama's boy and if we are anywhere unfamiliar he will follow me around constantly. The problem is, when I have friends over or we go out he will growl at anyone who comes near him. He is better with women and perfect with children but I still worry. He is worse when people are in my home as I guess he sees it as his territory. He will hide behind me and is only comfortable on my lap when strangers are around. It doesn't seem to matter how many times he's met a person though, he has the few he loves and that's it. My friends complain that Im babying him which is making it worse but I don't want him terrified and cowering in his own home! Advice and ideas would be great. I'm making a huge effort to socialize him and put him in new situations but he still seems wary of pretty much everyone. He rarely snaps unless he pushed way too far my someone getting in his face after he has growled to warn them off.
 

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In the house, what happens when the doorbell rings/door knocks? Is he over excited?
Then what happens when the stranger (i will say stranger as thats how oscar feels) comes in?
I am in the same situation, Honey is god-awful with strangers! I have been doing a LOT of training with her. Doorbell training - to teach her not to react so much to the doorbell. She is better at this and will do a sit-stay for the most part.
When a stranger comes into my house, i get them to ignore Honey, no matter how barkey she is being! I get them to casually throw treats to her, so she is learning to associate strangers with treats. She has got better as she will stop barking after a few minutes 9 times out of 10. Once she has stopped barking, she generally wants to investigate, so if she is playing nice and coming for a sniff, i hand the stranger a bigger treat, and tell them to put it down by their side. At this point, Honey is generally ok and i can ask the stranger to hand Honey the treat, still ignoring her though, no speaking to her. (We are just carrying on talking as normal so Honey realises its a normal situation!)
When we go out, i generally do the same thing, strangers = treats!
She is still a long way off being comfortable, and like Oscar, she is better with women and kids. But i will keep working on it, as i dont intend for people to stop coming round, or for me to stop taking her out, so she has to get used to it. I dont baby her, dont pick her up at all. She will also snap if pushed too far, too soon. So i try and limit anyone coming close to her without doing the above first.
A happy tale - i took Honey to my best friends house last night, she goes there a lot, this isnt a problem. However, the doorbell rang (Honey in a quick sit-stay), and a man was standing there, wanting to come inside and read the meter.
Eeek i thought! A strange man when we're at another house - not good! Yes she barked her head off to begin with, and luckily the man was a dog man, so i quickly asked if he would mind ignoring her and throwing her a few treats. After a couple of mins, she came over for a sniff and i got him to hand her a bully. Ooo she loved that, after burying it for later, she started trying to get his attention! So he knelt down and she came towards him for a stroke :) i was very happy! Not 100% i know, but hey, she's my baby and she is doing the best she can :) x
 

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Sounds like we are in a similar situation. If the doorbell rings, or if he hears something he will bark but not for very long. Oscar isn't really much of a barker. If anyone comes into my house ( a man especially he will growl and cower behind me). I only let him on my lap when he starts shaking and is clearly terrified, although maybe I shouldn't. He will sometimes take treats from people he doesn't know but very rarely. If a stranger goes to pet him he will growl (usually, but it depends on the size of the person strangely enough),. He will not snap unless multiple attempts to warn and get away don't work. We believe he was abused in the past and I really don't want to push him. I do however, want him to comfortable with people and realize humans are generally nice. I don't expect him to be ok with people he doesn't know grabbing at him of course but I'd love him not to be so obviously frightened. Also, I hate the looks I get when people go to pet him and he growls to warn them off.
 

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It's irritating too when he growls as a warning and people laugh and make jokes about the tiny "attack chihuahua". They don't take him seriously because of his size which is frustrating.
 

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Mandie, I couldn't agree with you more! Angel is pretty much the same way. we socialized him with everyone that was in agreement.

We take him to work with us. After he was neutered, he became "nasty!" People don't understand that if you ignore the dog he will go away, lie down and be quiet. Instead when he barks they feel compelled to talk to him, "in baby talk!!" So he doesn't stop. We had a new repair man coming to the shop and I panicked. But he did exactly as I suggested - completely ignore him - and toss a treat or two. Starting with the second time he came, Angel is so fine with him. He actually waits for the UPS, mailman, and a few of our business neighbors. There is on occasion, people he doesn't like! One of them is the husband to one of the other business owners! he absolutely will not stop barking at all!

I guess it's up to us to educate our friends? I can't think of any other way but to teach them not to talk to or look at the dog!

It's a tough situation. But it could just be Oscar's genetics. With Angel, I know it is because his father was like that! But my husband still wanted him!!

Just keep working with him. I believe he will come around.
 

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I am soo thankful Oscar doesn't bark much. The only time he barks more than one "woof" is of someone that he is nervous of is in our house. People seem to have a hard time ignoring him which makes it more difficult. I have had multiple people tell me that not being more angry when he growls is making the situation worse. Umm he's a resue, is not at all aggressive, and is just warning people that he is uncomfortable. Would I love it if he trusted everyone? Of course. That being said, based on his past, I understand that he has a hard time trusting humans. I just hope he stops with the growling and becomes more comfortable. I want him to get the pleasure of
My friends adoring him lol.
 

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Also, Ive found, when I ask people to keep their distance and toss him treats and not make eye contact, they look ate like I'm crazy. I have heard multiple comments stating that I'm spoiling or babying him.
 

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OK, im not too sure about the cowering, I haven’t had to deal with that as Honey doesn’t do it. She is fearful, but not to the extent of cowering and hiding behind me. I would imagine theres lots of info about frightened dogs out there, so you could try implementing some of that training with this.
Honey will definitely growl if somebody just reaches out to pet her, I have to quickly tell them that she is training at the moment, and could they please not touch her! I hate the looks too, like ‘control your dog’ or ‘silly yappy, snappy chi’s!’ – but hey, im doing all the training so one day, people wont think that!
You definitely aren’t spoiling him by asking people to keep their distance – you are doing the best thing for your dog, so you should feel proud. Its not nice when people look down on you for it, but you just got to grow a thicker skin – I have!
I know that Honey is such a beautiful dog, inside and out, she is my princess. So just these few things that need to be worked on with her, that’s the price I pay! No dog can be 100% perfect, and all these people that think bad things about our dogs probably think their dogs are angels – they are deluded!
So…. Keep on with the training, strangers = treats! Don’t let anyone touch him without following the right process! If he is showing signs he is uncomfortable, try and make the situation better (i.e. if a person is too close, get them to step back or if he doesn’t like the look of the dog walking towards him, cross the road) try not to let him onto your lap until he is cool and calm, he might see it like ooh mommy will let me snuggle on her if im a shaky baby :) Don’t give into his fear, just carry on as normal, so he can see there is nothing to be afraid of. I’m no expert, this is just whats working for me. x
 

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Simcha remains somewhat unpredictable in his reactions to strangers. Our irrigation system guy was around yesterday for a couple of hours. When he walked through our garage while Simcha was on the steps that go upstairs thru the garage, there was no reaction although he passed within a couple of feet of him. A couple of minutes later, the man passed by again, and extended his hand to pet him, which resulted in a lot of barking - though no growling or any attempt to snap. Very territorial behavior from a neutered male dog.

If anybody passes by in the street, and he sees this from one of our front-facing windows, loads of barking ensues. Last night, furious barking when something (either a moth or a squirrel) appeared in the upstairs skylight window. He seemed to want my acknowledgment or approval that he was protecting us from whatever threat he saw. Took several minutes for him to calm down.
 
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