19 Month Old Pup with Poor Meet n Greet

Posted by Cheryl
Aug 19, 2008
I have a 19 month old neutered English Pointer. He is a total love, very well socialized, already passed his AKC Canine Good Citizen, but sometimes when he meets someone new even if he approaches wagging his tail he jump up and barks very loudly at them which is very scary for people. I have talked to a trainer where he goes to camp and he doesn't believe it is aggression, but it certainly is not acceptable. I can't figure out what the trigger is. I got him so we could do volunteer hospital therapy together and am really worried that I cannot break him of this poor behavior. Is this a youth thing? Is he trying to protect me? I walk him normally on an 26 ft retractable lead, so I can let him out when the space allows, but I also use a 6 ft lead and a gentle leader when in crowds.
I hope you can help me.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 19, 2008
Hi there.

I don't think it is an aggression either. It sounds more like an excitement jump and bark to me.

You and your puppy took the test so you probably remember there is a test (I forgot the number) about meeting people nicely.

When you and your dog get close to the person, make him sit and stay next to you while you and the person greet each other. Then, have the person greet and pet your dog.

I always remind myself that the CGC test is something you can put behind once you pass it but something you and your dog need to keep refreshing from time to time.

Good luck
Posted by Cheryl
Aug 19, 2008
Thank you......I think part of the problem is also keeping myself firmly established as the alpha. If I get lax with him on any of the "alpha" items like letting him sleep with me in bed I get immediate backlash from him.
Posted by Cheryl
Sep 24, 2008
We had another barking at a stranger incident tonight. My boy was on his extended leash playing with a neighbor's dog right outside of our houses. Several strangers walked up and wanted to pet the dogs. He immediately went on guard and started a low growl and barked at the people. Once that happened, even though I walked him several feet away and put him in a sit/stay, he went on alert again as soon as they approached to pet him. He will smell their hands, but immediately start barking. I again walked him away and put on a regular 6 ft leash and his gentle leader and he almost immediate and completely calmed down. At this point, only one of the strangers stuck around and he did greet her and let her pet him once we ignored him a little and he was able to see the other dog getting the pets, but he was not his usual happy and affectionate self. I believe it is the combination of the strangers approaching so close to home, but I am concerned that he may start this behavior outside of his immediate home area too. I need a strong plan to curb this behavior immediately. We have a great deal of time to spend together to make this go away, I just need help with the steps. I started to carry a little water bottle to give him a squirt when he starts barking and am contemplating keeping him on the gentle leader as a regular course of action until this subsides. Any other suggestions? I don't believe this is aggression, but more fear of strangers who do not have dogs that approach in his immediate yard space.
Posted by KOPsBecks
Oct 10, 2008
Hey Cheryl,
It seems your boy really does have a problem with strangers and needs a bit of retraining and reassurance! I think that you should set him up. Plan for someone to come around, tell them the exact time and which way to enter your yard, so that you can be prepared to control the situation. be at the ready with praise and rewards for good behaviour and punishment for bad behaviour(ie. water pistol, loud fog horn etc). The minute the person enters the yard you should have your dogs full attention, you should control his behaviour.

Complete the exercise several times, on several different days and at different times of day with different people. This should become a regular event so that he is used to "strangers" entering his territory and then being rewarded for being on his best behaviour.

Try this, hope it helps!!