I have a 5 month old Pit puppy and when new people try to approach her, she puts her tail between her legs and growls. I'm afraid she'll bite someone. What can I do?
By Dellylah from Las Vegas, NV
She sounds scared to me. Don't just train your dog, train the strangers. How do strangers approach her? There are a few things that some people do and don't realize that it can be a sign of aggression from the person.
I have a now 2 year old pit bull that was not scared but was aggressive towards strangers as a baby. A leash was our best friend. I think that people really need to learn not to just walk up and try to pet a strange dog, but as a pit owner the dog has to be taught to sit and accept other people. I taught my dog this by keeping her on a leash when introducing her to new people and letting them give her a treat. I also taught her that when I say "okay" it means that the person is alright for her to be friendly towards. She has also been taught "enough" dogs sometimes get worried by some people and there is nothing to be done about it, but if it someone that is going to be in their life they must learn not to growl. When she is told "enough" she will stop growling and lay down. Pits are bred to be protective and usually, all they are doing is looking out for their people.
Time to get a trainer for your dog and you. These behaviours must be nipped in the bud ( pardon the pun) Speak to your Vet read dog books but correct it now while he's a pup. Remember a well trained dog is a dog you can be proud of and take places with you. An untrained dog is a liability.
Don't waste your time with obedience classes, they don't do a lot of good. Better to go to leerburg.com and in my opinion, strangers don't really have any business petting your dog. The dog is scared. I would keep treats on your and when someone comes up to the dog like family.....or friends. I would let the person drop the treat at first no matter what the dog does, and then later only drop when the dog is behaving nicely.
Sometimes, dogs don't see strangers as a pleasant experience and they really have no business coming up and handling your dog. I would tell them please don't pet the dog, it bites.(whether it does or not...)
If it is a family member have them marker train the dog by calling and dropping a treat. Marker training is covered in leerburg.com and you should have a lot of success with it.
If the pup thinks you are not protecting it from others, it will not see you as trustworthy and not respect or see you as the (kind yet firm) leader. Love and kisses to the pup and go to leerburg and look at the articles, podcasts and ebooks. They are free. Remember when playing with the dog not to get it overexcited. Also have fun with marker training, and clicker training. I make the click sound with my mouth. I like to train the first clicker training session to target my hand. This is done by calling the dog and when it comes to you then let it touch your palm of your hand with its nose, or if it does not do this gently put your palm on its nose and say yes at the moment it is done and one second later no more no less, drop a piece of the 20 pieces of treat cut into little pieces that you have on you. :) Repeat about twenty times or so.
The treat should be a piece of soft jerky like treat that the dog can eat in a hurry, cut into about twenty or more pieces that you can drop and the dog can snarf in a second or two. Whenever Shadow my GSD gets in trouble he knows to run to me and put his nose on my hand. Since he runs to me and targets my hand, then I praise him for it since he abandoned the previous bad behavior. He was a slightly scared rescue too, as far as German shepherds go. Pit bulls are really sweet, but all dogs have their own personality and we can train around those. Feel free to write me for any more comments or concerns.
I had a pit bull puppy and he and she did the same thing don't let them be around people that aren't regularly going to be around! If someone does come over that is a friend or someone that just stopped by but the puppy in another room or in a cage don't let just anyone touch her or pet her pit bulls are protective!
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