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I took in a Chi /Doxie male dog from a couple who couldn't keep him any longer. He came to me with some issues:

He is very aggressive with people at first-snappy, bitey, etc.. If you offer him a treat and approach slowly he does good, but if you make a fast movement at any time during the greeting he will attempt to bite. He barks at strangers, and other dogs.. (But he loves other dogs and has enjoyed playing with the other foster dogs who have come through my home)

I realize that I have to work harder at training him and making him an adoptable pet and I know that starts with socialization. He has had two meet n greets and completely failed at them. I do not want that to happen a third time.

He loves treats, and once he gets to know you he loves you. He is completely in love with me and is very cuddly. I know that he can be that way with another person as well. I just need help in making him more approachable.

Perhaps in the past strangers have not treated him well? I noticed he was good with the adults once they offered him yummy treats, but when the child approached and turned away from him he nipped.

I have had experience working with many scared and unsocialized dogs (my own dog is a perfect example- she is lovely with children, absolutely loves people and is very very approachable. She has SOME issues with other dogs but generally ignores the other dogs if she doesn't like them.

When I got him the first night he ran into the crate and when I attempted to take him out he tried to bite me. I was careful and know that with time he can be a perfectly happy boy in a good home.

If anyone has any helpful links they could give me that would be great. I have been reading articles, watching videos, etc. Now, it's just time to take it to another level.

I love this foster dog and know that he can be incredible. :) His name is Freedom.

 

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Patience is key. Join the Yahoo Shy K9s group (shy-k9s : shy-k9s), the trainers and owners on there have so much great information and tips on how to rehabilitate dogs with all kinds of phobias.

Make a list of what you think Freedom's triggers are, and what his favourite things are. Rank them in order from scariest to least scary, and from most favourite to least. Then for each trigger, try to associate it with something he likes. So, if he's super-scared of strangers, make sure that every stranger throws some super-delicious treats.

Try to keep him away from situations you can't control for the time being - recruit a friend to serve as a stranger so you can tell them what to do. Have them stand far enough away that Freedom doesn't get scared, and face sideways. Then throw a whole bunch of amazing treats. If Freedom eats them and doesn't freak out, have your friend move a little tiny bit closer and repeat. Go slow! It's okay to take baby steps, you're working with his limits, not your expectations. The most important thing is that Freedom doesn't get scared, so it might help to refresh your knowledge of dog body language. This site helped me identify behaviours I didn't realise were related to anxiety: Calming Signals Community.

The idea is eventually you'll have created a new positive association between strangers, and because the old fear association won't have been triggered for a long time, the new one will replace it. It might be that you have to repeat the process for lots of different kinds of people, and it might be that Freedom is never going to like being approached on the street, but you can manage that by telling people not to do it. Tell them he has an infectious skin condition, it totally works!

This book helped me with Edie's agoraphobia: http://www.amazon.com/Cautious-Canine-How-Conquer-Their-Fears/dp/1891767003/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1361361587&sr=8-4&keywords=patricia+mcconnell. Good luck!
 
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