CHAT Met with a fellow TBer this morning - and a Hairy story

Dennis Olson

Chief Curmudgeon
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This morning, I drove down to Buda to meet a fellow TBer who had business there. We met at Cabela’s. I brought Hairy with me because I didn’t want to pen him up for two hours or more. Anyway, we chatted in the parking lot while I left Hairy in the car a few feet away. I then leashed him up and let him out. He ran up to the person (I’m leaving him nameless for his privacy unless he might choose to post on this thread) and begged for attention like he always does.

We both petted him while we talked of the current state of affairs in this country. After a bit, we headed into Cabela’s because he wanted to buy some ammo. I kept Hairy on a very short leash as we wandered the aisles. The selection of ammo was the absolute worst I’ve ever seen at a Cabela’s. A single 8’ shelf, when they used to have a 30’ long aisle dedicated to ammo.

We stood next to the ammo chatting some more, with Hairy standing next to me. An older clerk came toward us to ask if we needed anything. He put put the back of his hand toward Hairy as he approached, but was headed directly toward me and made eye contact with Hairy, who without warning jumped at the guy snarling and tried to bite him. I yanked him back. I don’t think he made contact, but he might have.

I apologized for his behavior and told him that Hairy was intensely protective of me. After I pulled him back and reprimanded him, he sat in front of me, once again perfectly happy and calm. A few moments later, he actually stood and went over to the clerk sniffing politely. In retrospect, he made two mistakes. First, he came directly toward me. Second, he made eye contact with him. Had he simply walked up and stood with us and ignored Hairy, all would have been well. Come to find out, the clerk was ex-law enforcement and said he had trained dogs. That last made me wonder why he approached the way he did. What did Cesar Milan always say: “No touch, no talk, no eye contact.”

Anyway, we stood the together for about 15 minutes talking about stuff. Here’s where it gets odd: the clerk couldn’t understand why people collected large quantities of ammo. Coming from a former LEO, that position was hard to believe. It was time to go, so my TB bud paid for his two boxes of 10 millie and we left. The entire time, Hairy showed not a bit of aggression toward him, instead being a constant pest for attention.

We talked for a time in the parking lot and went our separate ways. I always enjoy meeting fellow TBers, and wish I could do this more often.

Now my question: what the heck can I do with Hairy to get him to stop doing this? As long as another person isn’t coming directly toward me he’s fine; happy and begging for pets. But if they come at me, he’ll attack. This is very disturbing to me. It makes him a ticking bomb. Before Covid, I used to take him out and about so he could interact with people, but for the past year that really hasn’t been possible. Any thoughts on how I might train this out of him?

And to my TB bud, I had a great time. Thanks for the meet!
 

jward

passin' thru
First, well done re: efforts to introduce the babies to nearbye others. You did good.

I never "trained" but when working with a chow chow who wasn't the warm and fuzzy sort, I had her lay in the at home meditation sessions with me, with follow up walks. I saw measurable reductions in the respiration/hr/bp #s, but had no clinical way to measure lowered aggressive responses, though subjectively I felt that metric had been met too. First to admit that piece not scientific and could be tied to any # of things though.
continued good wishes 4 yas.
 
Dennis,
We bought a border/lab cross from death row when we had children still at home. She was such a blessing to the children’s and our broken hearts - healing us all from the loss of two puppies that contracted parvo. So we called her, Bess. I have had many dogs, Bess was the smartest. But she was a cat killer. I had to solve this. I talked with my friend who trained bird dogs. He told me what the problem was and how to solve it - he allowed me to use his professional training shock collar and remote control. This was 1995. He said DO NOT allow her to see the remote control. I hid it in my jacket. I went for a walk down the street and there was her first test, a big black cat sitting on the front step. She went for the cat. I said, NO!, and release a 8/10 shock to the collar around her neck. She let out a yelp and buckled a bit and then came back to me. I rewarded her for obedience with a pet and voice affirmation. We continued down the block and turn around and walked back. The cat was still there. She looked at the cat but made NO movement at all towards that cat. She strode along confidently with her head held high. We never had a problem with her attacking another animal again. She was the best dog we ever own. She responded instantly to a voice command in all situations.

Some folks don’t like this type of training method, but she was a wonderful dog with children and I knew I had to cure her of killing cats. So, I talked with someone who was a professional dog trainer. There probably are other ways of re-training bad behaviour I am sure. But for Bess, she was a very intelligent dog, it only took one jolt at 8/10 for her to decide that her killing cat days were done.

I wish you well Dennis, I know you will find the help that works. As you know, dogs look at us as dogs, not humans, they understand us best when we talk their language.

Admiral Halsey
 

zeker

Veteran Member
I think muzzles are made to fit a little looser nowadays.

I am no dog person

I dont run away from them

but I avoid them but, I have been known (many times) to pet them

but only after 'reading' them

if I saw a dog with a muzzle

I would immediately leave the vicinity

the muzzle tells ME, aggressive dog.. ymmv

sry about the pooch Dennis
 

Peanut

Resident Pit Yorkie :)
the muzzle tells ME, aggressive dog.. ymmv
Many times a muzzle is used to keep a dog from eating random things it finds on the ground while out...at least in the beagle world. lol A muzzle doesn't always mean aggressive. Also a muzzle indicates an aware owner who is doing what is best for the dog. I would feel much more comfortable with that person than an oblivious owner.
 

greysage

Veteran Member
Boss you need to research muzzles and find one Hairy can't even get a little nip with. I'm sorry but if he gets a hold of someone it's all over for both of you. And with your health, back problems are you really going to be able handle restraining him if things get crazy (it's too late at that point.) Think of it for Hairy's safety.
 

ginnie6

Veteran Member
Great Pyrs are protection dogs, whether its a herd of sheep, flock of chickens, or a human. They read situations and respond accordingly. My Bandit (full pyr) was that way. Some people he was fine with and others he let know real quick not to come any closer. He also was VERY tuned in to my feelings. If I was stressed he was more protective. I think that you can socialize Hairy more (I know this stupid virus makes it hard) but I don't think you can train that instinct out of him.

And a Bandit story.
The relationship with my mother was tenuous at best. After an incident with my handicapped sister we decided that it wasn't the safest thing for her to be around the kids and stopped her coming here. She still showed up on occasion and one time she did that she sat in my living room and actually growled at Bandit....... I was holding his collar thankfully, because he had immediately picked up on my stress. It's not the smartest idea to sit and growl at 110lbs of dog. He let her know real quick what he thought of that by growling and snarling back at her and firmly placing himself in front of me and the kids, at which point I asked her to leave for her own safety. He never made a move towards her but he let her know she wasn't getting near me or "his" kids. And Bandit never met a child that couldn't hug him. He loved kids. I have a picture somewhere of our first great nephew barely able to sit on his own sitting with Bandit curled around him. I was nervous about that because he had never been around a baby but it became obvious really quick that he was fine with it and loved babies.
 

kyrsyan

Veteran Member
Muzzle for now while you work on the training. The muzzle will stop any bite and leave you to just focus on control.
Find a good trainer that has worked with protective, reactive dogs and start there. They will help narrow down triggers and then help train the behavior out.
But always be aware that when the chips are down, if he is stressed, Hairy will revert to this behavior.
 

Terriannie

Has No Life - Lives on TB
The clerk behaved just like my 12 yr. old GD did with DS's 2 pit mix dogs who just recently came to live with us. (Divorce :( ) The both bark when anyone comes to the door or inside until we fuss to let them know it's ok but with her, she just walked up to Buddy and he snapped at her. No skin was broken and I was just about to tell DS the dogs are "gone pecans" when he settled down and sniffed her.

Because the breakup was so traumatic with him and the dogs are his only "loves" right now, we agreed to try a few things.

First we tried a muzzle but Buddy got so frustrated with that he clawed and clawed to get it off.

The he bought a zapper that worked at first then for some reason they stopped reacting to it. Which makes me wonder if we should have used it like admiralhalsey said, to hide it.

Right now, they are still in the barking/warning stage at any one coming but they at least don't rush. DG is always told to back off and just let them decide to come and sniff if they want to.

I agree that Hairy needs more stranger-danger training before you bring him to the store or outside. Until he gets trained, maybe a special coat covering would prevent people from rushing up to your handsome dog?

dog-warning-jacket-blue.jpg
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
You don't walk up to a dog unless invited .
You know this, and I know this, but an awful lot of people don't seem to know this. I just had an incident here the other day -- apparently my young LGD (Great Pyrenees cross, not sure what she's crossed with) got herself stuck in a fence out of my sight but in sight of our one neighbor. This nice gentleman decided to try to get her unstuck by himself, and got a small bite for his pains. Maggie is pretty good about staying home and out of his yard, so he was essentially a stranger, and ought to have known better than to try to handle a big dog that didn't know him and was probably feeling rather helpless at the time. Especially since he has my phone number and could have called me, or even just shouted at my house.

So the thing is, you can not count on other people knowing things they ought to know!

Dennis, hopefully someone will have some training ideas for you, but if Hairy really is part Great Pyrenees, my experience with them is that they are always going to be very protective of their person or their family (or their flock/herd). You can't train that out of them; it's been bred in for at least two thousand years. I have a muzzle that I got for my older LGD, Cameo (who has gone to the Happy Hunting Grounds). She never needed it, but I wasn't sure when she was younger and figured better safe than sorry. She didn't seem to mind wearing it.

Pretty much all of the LGD breeds were developed to work more or less independently on wide-ranging pastures, sometimes not even seeing a human being for months at a time. They bond very strongly to their flock or herd, which includes their person when they are kept as pets, and it is their intrinsic nature to be extremely protective of what belongs to them. That protective nature is what made them so valuable to the shepherds who bred and used them, but around strangers it's rather like having a loaded and cocked gun that can go off on it's own.

Kathleen
 

bbbuddy

DEPLORABLE ME
My two GPS are both actually "mixed breed" but you'd never know it, as they both look pure GP.
One is a GP/Anatolian cross, the other is GP/Maremma/Anatolian cross.
Anatolians aren't as "user friendly" as GPs, they are much more hard-core, so even if the mother looked GP, she could have been a cross.
 

summerthyme

Administrator
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This is where you really need to work with a trainer for a couple of sessions. Yes, his genetics will make him protective. But I disagree that you can't train him to behave better, even under MILD provocation. (Meaning, clueless idiots who invade your/his space... nothing is (or should!) going to stop him from going for someone who is actually posing an open threat or attacking... what Hairy hasn't learned is that many common human interactions MUST be allowed, even if he doesn't like it.

I also suspect that you were at least slightly distracted with having company, etc, and you missed his body language telling you that he didn't like the guy coming towards you. And I suspect even more strongly the guy was showing off... striding right up to a really big dog, holding his hand out (correctly, with the back of the had offered for the dog to sniff... but its supposed to be an OFFER, not a demand!)... he was expecting sonething like, "wow! Thats amazing! Hairy doesnt usually like people, but he took to you right off!"

Oops... he might not know as much about dogs as he thinks!

Summerthyme
 

Con-tractor

The Mad in Genius
This is where you really need to work with a trainer for a couple of sessions. Yes, his genetics will make him protective. But I disagree that you can't train him to behave better, even under MILD provocation. (Meaning, clueless idiots who invade your/his space... nothing is (or should!) going to stop him from going for someone who is actually posing an open threat or attacking... what Hairy hasn't learned is that many common human interactions MUST be allowed, even if he doesn't like it.

I also suspect that you were at least slightly distracted with having company, etc, and you missed his body language telling you that he didn't like the guy coming towards you. And I suspect even more strongly the guy was showing off... striding right up to a really big dog, holding his hand out (correctly, with the back of the had offered for the dog to sniff... but its supposed to be an OFFER, not a demand!)... he was expecting sonething like, "wow! Thats amazing! Hairy doesnt usually like people, but he took to you right off!"

Oops... he might not know as much about dogs as he thinks!

Summerthyme
Yea sounds like there is still some alpha going on with Hairy. Just do more training with him being the usual calm assertive blah blah blah.
 

BadMedicine

Would *I* Lie???
Also if I remember correctly, this dog is still young, like around a year or two? A lot of dogs have an aggressive bent when they go through the end of the teen in to adult years, they start feeling their oats and wondering "now" is when I become pack leader, or AT LEAST an elevated member and not the "DOG/ Omega."

They will start to test their owners, even things they were good at before (in public with strangers) and make sure you are up to "pack leader" snuff. Make sure you are IN CHARGE and remind him frequently in public, and aggression OR EVEN INTEREST in anything but you and he needs to sit, (maybe even turn back to the distraction for the sit, if he's very 'driven') make him look at you, eye contact, and then get a treat.. he'll remember, you are in charge, reactivity makes me sit and get calm, dad still has the snacks.

The main thing I've found with my reactive dog is to watch him constantly, look AT HIS EYES to see where he is looking, and then when he des make a slight glance in my direction, we make eye contact, so it seems my eyes are always on him. Often when they react to something they'll do a quick glance at the leader... if he's distracted, it's "on" if he's looking you in the eye and acknowledges the distraction.. "oh, dad knows.. and he's watching me... i be good boy."


Also I always watch to people walking up, most are SO DOG DUMB, to walk right towards you and corner the dog between you. How about stopping (ESPECIALLY IF DOG IS ON LEASH) some distance away and introducing or asking if you need help.. If you had turned, saw the guy, and answered a question or begin chatting, I doubt he would have lounged. He prolly thought you were distracted and didn't see the threat..
 

summerthyme

Administrator
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The main thing I've found with my reactive dog is to watch him constantly, look AT HIS EYES to see where he is looking, and then when he des make a slight glance in my direction, we make eye contact, so it seems my eyes are always on him. Often when they react to something they'll do a quick glance at the leader... if he's distracted, it's "on" if he's looking you in the eye and acknowledges the distraction.. "oh, dad knows.. and he's watching me... i be good boy."
Absolutely! Dogs like that require the owner/handler to be in constant Condition Orange,... but without putting off signals the dog reads as "we're in danger". It's not easy! I had to learn to temper my automatic (Pure INTJ) reaction when certain neighbors would visit... he would "feel" my disgust or frustration at the interruption, and decide to "solve the problem".

At the very least, he needs a LOT more practice at meeting people. I'd be leery of using a muzzle unless it's unavoidable... it only prevents an actual bite, but does nothing to adjust and retrain his aggressive actions. And in many dogs, it makes them agitated, and exacerbates the whole situation.

Summerthyme
 

Josie

Has No Life - Lives on TB
As the clerk walked up Hairy was fine until he came closer than about 3’ from me. When I come up to someone, I always stop about that distance away. He came right up next to me without pause, which was what set Hairy off.
No dog advise but I have to wonder about a clerk (or anyone else for that matter) who invades a person's personal space. Unless he was wanting something off the shelf behind you, in which case he should have said, "excuse me" and you could have moved out of his way, he was the aggressor and I'm betting that Hairy picked up on that.
 

Intestinal Fortitude

encouraging others
hairy was protecting you from the "sales guy".
I have observed that Cabella's has a habit of hiring assholes to be "sales people"
Hairy could sense it.

Further -- if Hairy could talk he would likely tell you the guy was a lefty.
 

Hfcomms

EN66iq
In retrospect, he made two mistakes. First, he came directly toward me. Second, he made eye contact with him.
Actually you were the one that made the mistake and not the guy that approached you. As owner you are responsible for your dog's behavior at all times and the repercussions from it and the law would say the same thing. You took him into a public store and Hairy reacted negatively to someone and could of bit him and then you would have more trouble than you want.

The other man may not of been educated on how to approach a strange dog but you already know that Hairy is protective of you so you should of been able to foresee a possibility of a stranger walking up to you and Hairy reacting negatively.

Socialization of course is important and most of it takes place when the dog is a puppy and of course as you indicated because of Covid nobody is getting out as much as before and people regress during that time and our dogs probably do as well as far as their people skills. You can probably work that reaction out of him but for the time being a muzzle while out in public if your going to take him around strangers would probably be appropriate as you can no longer fully trust him.

I have a similar issue with my Mal that has cropped up recently. She was well socialized with other dogs as a puppy and young adult and has not looked for fights but within the last few months has turned unexpected aggressive at times towards other dogs. Usually if a dog is very submissive and does the rolling over on the back, etc it won't trigger a dog fight as the alpha feels the pecking order is established. Twice now my Mal has been extremely aggressive with other dogs one that was in full submission to her and the other one a female about her size on a leash that wasn't being aggressive.

In both instances I jumped on both dogs and pried my Mal off and she got an extremely negative reaction from me but for the time being I am not allowing her to socialize with other dogs and I am getting a very stout leather control collar and muzzle for her. I will let her with other dogs if she is wearing the muzzle until I'm sure she is not going to do what she did again. That and when she is with other dogs she will have the electric collar on and I will instantly correct her behavior if it happens again.

If we are the pack leader then the dog will not lash out at another dog or another person without the pack leader wanting them to. I have to work with my Mal as pack leader as to obedience and you will have to do the same with Hairy.
 
As the clerk walked up Hairy was fine until he came closer than about 3’ from me. When I come up to someone, I always stop about that distance away. He came right up next to me without pause, which was what set Hairy off.
Dennis,

Our first dog, Trapper, a medium sized collie cross, beautiful dog. Bit a child once. Dig not break the skin. We had little children at the time, she was a mother to our children. This behaviour didn’t make sense. But regardless, I needed to understand what I could do. I manage to track down a dog psychologist. Her answer was simple. When someone approaches you, always have them stand beside you, shoulder to shoulder. The dog sees you as the lead canine and then sees the stranger “canine” as NO threat when they stand right beside you shoulder to shoulder. I tried this and it worked and has worked with all dogs in our lives since. The dog sees the “new dog” as no threat to you, the “lead dog”, thus your dog will relax. I would instruct folks that were approaching me to come and stand on my left side beside me. The dog watched this and relaxed seeing that the stranger was no longer a threat, but an accepted new member of “the canine pack”.

Admiral Halsey
 

Dennis Olson

Chief Curmudgeon
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HFC, you're right of course. Bear in mind that his reaching out a hand toward Hairy was unexpected, and I didn't have time to say "Don't do that please." It happened so fast I had no time to restrain him before he lunged.
 

packyderms_wife

Neither here nor there.
the muzzle tells ME, aggressive dog.. ymmv
Not necessarily. We had a neighbor who walked her bull mastiff in our neighborhood, which the city has deemed a dangerous breed, so in order to walk him publicly, legally here in town, she had to muzzle him. He was the sweetest boy you'd ever meet.
 
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