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Sally G.
Sally G., Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 9568
Experience:  Service /assistance dog trainer,Therapy dog evaluator and trainer, AKC evaluator, pet first aide and member of PAS Animal Response Team.
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My three year old Yorkie becomes almost vicious when anyone

Customer Question

My three year old Yorkie becomes almost vicious when anyone leaves our home. What is this all about. She does bark when someone comes, but makes up quickly.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I have been in the dog field for 25 years. I am a Therapy Dog & AKC Evaluator/trainer/ as well as an assistance/service dog trainer, specializing in behavior. It will be my pleasure to help you today.

How is Libby with strangers when they approach her?

What is her personality like for the most part, somewhat shy , outgoing with everyone , good with some and not with others?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When strangers approach her she is really quite nervous, but she will make up to them after several minutes.I would say that her personality is shy. She is quite hyper though, and because she is so nervous about riding in the car I seldom take her anywhere. I am 80 years old so I seldom walk her, although she is fairly active inside the house. People she knows well, she greets them warmly and is happy to see them; however, even when these people leave she become very aggresive.
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for that information. Shy dogs are often fearful dogs and fearful dogs will act out to keep others away from them. Just like humans, dogs are born with personalities so putting a shy dog around company is like taking the human book reader and dropping their into the middle of a party. They don't like it and the whole aspect makes them uncomfortable. Now, imagine that person in the middle of the party and someone is tossing heavy paper balls at them or squirting them with the hose. how likely is it that they would want to go to another party?

The point is that we can't make a shy human perfectly comfortable in every situation and we cannot do this with shy dogs. We may be able to help a dog behave a little better but they may never be trustful of humans.

I would certainly stop punishing the dog for being shy/fearful as this will make it worse over time as you can see the dog is attacking people when they leave which is a trait of a fearful dog.

I am going to post my articles below on how to handle shy or fearful dogs, and what to do inside the home as both the owner and a guest should to help the dog get through a visit.

When you adopt a dog chances are the dog may be very shy or fearful. Keep in mind that one never knows the true history of an adopted dog. This means you will not know how they were originally trained, socialized, or treated within the home.

However some dogs just come with a fearful personality, so this can happen with a dog that is fairly young and has not lived with another family.

When you have such a dog you can work around this to gain trust, however, be forewarned that this dog may never accept a stranger, as strangers represent inconsistency and unpredictability.

In your own home with a shy or fearful dog you must represent structure, consistency and predictability in order for the dog to feel safe around you. Sometimes, even if everyone in the family does it right, the dog may still only take to one person in the home that they trust.

The three challenges:

1) Eye contact, 2) talking to, and 3) reaching out to pet. All of these actions to humans, is a way of comforting, however, to a dog they are challenges, and a fearful dog will magnify those actions times ten. So it is very important that you do not look directly at the dog, you do not continue to talk to the dog, and you don’t reach out to touch the dog, until such a time that you notice the dog is feeling comfortable.

Positive training is essential to boost a shy dog’s confidence, but if you can’t look at, talk to, or touch how do you train?

Start by getting down on the dog’s level on the floor. Do not look at the dog, watch TV or turn your head from the dog. Lay your hand out, palm up with a special treat such as a hot dog sliver or chicken sliver. Anything that has an aroma should work. Allow the dog to make its way over to you to take it. Continue this until the dog realizes that when it comes near you, you are not a threat or challenge, and something good is coming from your hand. Gradually as the dog builds confidence you will call the name and continue moving up the chain of perceived challenges. This can take weeks to get through and for some even longer depending on how much time you have to spend with the dog. . Dogs ,like humans, fear the unknown, so the more you can do this, the more you show predictability to the dog. If the dog knows what to expect it becomes less frightened.

This is one reason shy dogs have so many problems getting used to strangers out on a walk. Each person walks, talks, and moves in unpredictable ways to the dog.

Gradually you wan to move to daily obedience training, do it in short sessions, and do it several times a day. This shows the dog you are consistent. The positive training tells the dog that if it listens, some thing good happens (the treat comes). The more successful the dog is during training the more the confidence it boosted. Rewarding the right behavior, (listening to a command), elicits the reward, which builds the bond.

Punishment has no place in any dog’s life, let alone a shy or fearful dog’s life. . Remember that dogs act out for a variety of reasons. Fear, boredom, challenges, anxieties, and instinct for survival, are just a few. It is how you deal with it that can make it better or worse. \

As well, if you have gotten your dog to a certain spot of comfort, you can very easily make them take two steps back through punishment or dominance.

I guess you are wondering how to put a leash on a shy dog to take it out to potty if you cannot talk to , look at or touch! Here is a simple method, rather than trying to attach the clasp to the collar which can make a shy dog move away from your hand, flip the leash over so that you are holding the snap, pull it through the handle to make a loop. From above slip the loop over the dog’s neck. Very similar to a slip lead that is used in vets office. This way you can stand at a bit of a distance, you do not have to physically touch the dog, nor do you need to look directly at it. This can be done in your peripheral vision. Once the leash is on the dog drop a treat to the floor for the dog and then head out the door.

Clicker training, a positive method can be found here: For some dogs the clicker noise will frighten them so in those cases rather than using a clicker as a marker use your voice. Keep it to one word such as good or yes.

video’s to see how clicker training is done, scroll down to videos

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sally, THANK YOU so very much. All you have said makes lots of sense to me. I do not like to use punishment techniques, but so many times people tell me that I need to correct her with smacks. I've never stooped to this level, just because I'm bigger (and besides I love her so much!)All you have shared with me is TRULY helpful, and I'll be keeping this information for future.What do you think of having strangers who come to the house, giving her a treat? I thought maybe I could slip
them one when they enter. ????Again, thank you so much for your time.Shirley Glotzbach
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

Yes that would be fine, I would avoid the 3 challenges then as well and just drop the treat on the floor for her so she associates those that come in the home as something good. You can hang a basket of treats near the door for people to grab when they come in:)

I hope this has been helpful to you and your experience here was a pleasant one. Please don't forget to rate the service before you leave so the company compensates me for my time

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