dog sitting

Posted by djhawkins4320
Apr 8, 2010
I have a small business going with dog sitting at people's houses when they are gone.
I have a new client that has 2 BIG puppies(Rottweiler/shepherd) mix. They are about 8-9 months old. The woman has a new job that she will be gone for 3-4 days at at time. I will need to go over to the house and let the dogs out of the pen, and put them on runs in the yard.
She is training them to be guard dogs, and they are not use to new people anyway.
The first time I went over, the female ended up coming over to me and letting me pet and rub her belly, but the male never really came over to me, he was very nervous and stayed close to his human mom.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can make friends quick with him, being the woman starts her new job in a couple of days.
I tried giving him treats, but he would come over enough just to get it out of my hand and run the other way.
Is it too hard to try to make friends with dogs, that you want to be guard dogs, and, you want them to be leary of people anyway
Posted by KOPsRobyn
Apr 9, 2010
Hi there,

Unfortunately the best suggestion is to spend as much time as possible with them getting to know them and gaining their trust. It will be a lot harder to befriend them though because like you say, they are being trained to become guard dogs and so will not have been socialized much with people and other dogs. They will be very wary of new people and experiences and so you will have to be very patient and understanding when dealing with them.

You are doing the right thing by having them take treats from your hand. If the owner is alright with it, it would be even better to make them obey a command, such as sit, before giving them the treat.

If you are going to be spending quite a bit of time with them and you have the owner's permission, it would be great to train them using the alpha dog principles. She may even want to join you in training them in this way. It is important to emphasize that by doing so you will not be undermining the owner's authority in any way. You are simply saying that you are above them in the hierarchy and so demand respect and obedience from them. They will still see their owner as the leader of the pack, so in her presence they will look to her for commands, but in her absence they should seek direction from you. There are many simple things that you can incorporate into the day to establish you position in the hierarchy over them, including having your meal before feeding them and insisting that you always walk ahead of them leading the way, be it through doorways or when out on a leash.

I hope this helps and all the best with the training!
Posted by djhawkins4320
Apr 9, 2010
I appreciate all of you help.
I have one more question. How long to I give them before I know that it probably will not work. The couple of times that I have been there, the owner has been right with the dogs, and they are still scared and nervous. Won't it be twice as bad when the owner is not there? I want this to work out, but I don't want to be nervous every time that I am over at their house. I know that dogs can sense that, and that makes them nervous as well.
Posted by kjd
Apr 9, 2010
Actually, you can have either of two reactions. In the better case, the dogs will be far less nervous with the owner gone. She may be projecting her own nervousness on the dogs.

In the worse case, the dogs may be extremely aggressive, protecting their territory from you.

If I were you, I'd have the woman "leave" and take the car about a block away. Both of you should be connected by cellphone. Then try entering the house and see how well you get along with the dogs. If they are aggressive, you can stop it right there -- don't risk your life or limb.

Personally, I don't understand having a "guard dog" in a home situation. Rotties and GSDs are both naturally protective. I'd want them to be well-socialized so I could have them around when strangers visit. Takes a brave person to believe that friendly giant will stay friendly if you threaten its owner!

Please think first of your own safety in this situation.

Posted by timirving
Apr 9, 2010
Definitely take your own safety into concern first and foremost.

Here's is my 2 cents.... Have the owner invite you over; check your emotions before entering the door and speaking with the woman during this planned interaction and make sure the dogs are there. Knock on the door or ring the bell; have her answer the door, both of you emitting calm, assertive and confidence in your energy and stance/posture.

Shake hands, peak to her about anything but DON'T touch, talk or make eye contact with the dogs...... both of you.... ignore them until they become submissive. You'll know this when they lay down, ears relaxed, and are paying no attention to you or their owner. When this happens, have the owner praise them with talk, touch and treats. then you can praise them..... confidently

Do this a few times and they will understand that, while their owner is the alpha, you are higher up in the pack than they are.