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Discussion Starter #1
i posted this in the training forum, but figured id do it here too to actually get some responses!

winston is the most friendly dog ive ever known, to people and to other dogs. he LOVES children especially! and when im with him on leash or in an enclosed environment, like a house, he is so wonderful and approachable.

heres the problem.. outside, he is hesitant and shy. example.. i live on an active street. i do not have a fenced property. one morning, my husband left him outside and didnt even tell me he was out. i hear him barking and growling at people walking by. they did not sound too happy.

today, i was playing fetch with him. he is extremely play-driven, so recall is generally easy. but a woman and her son were walking down the street and he went over to them. he stayed on my side of the ditch, and he wasnt growling, but his hackles here raised. the little boy asked if he could pet him, but i told him no. winston has never bitten anyone before, even when he is anxious like that [example, a man he had never met walked up to us, winston had his hackles raised and he was dancing around the guy, but as soon as he got close enough to touch him, he started wagging his tail and licking him]..

i know once he gets close enough to touch the people, he will return to his normal happy self, but its the growling and raised fur that i dislike. it scares people. and i feel bad that he wont listen to me calling him back! i dont have a leash long enough to play fetch with him on.

so.. any tips will be greatly appreciated. ill be here to answer any questions.
 

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If you are in an unfenced area I'd get a longer leash until you have this worked out. You can get a long 30+ foot leash or rope for pretty cheap if you look around at pet stores or home hardware places.

I'd recommend taking a puppy class with him. Then he can meet lots of new people in a controlled environment and learn that he doesn't need to be on edge. Make sure every experience he has with people is a happy one. Carry treats to give to people so they can give them to him when they meet him. Also carry treats to lure him back to you if he decides other people are more interesting. Reward him every time he returns to you.
 

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Gally's right! When you're out with Winston and someone walks by give him a treat evey time he ignores them and looks at you. Use something with a high value. I use venison steak cut up into pinky nail size. Whatever treat you use only use it for outside with strangers and he'll soon learn that approaching strangers or having them walk by is a very good thing! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #4
i cant take him to puppy classes, he isnt vaccinated.

but even if i were to, he would do absolutely wonderful inside! even inside his OWN house, when my friend brought her unsocial dog over. she was snarling and growling at winston and he was licking her muzzle and laid on his back for her.

i know i should get a longer leash..ill try that.. id need one like.. 100ft long, though. hes likes to RUN!

any ideas as to why he is so wary of people at a distance, but not up close or in an enclosed environment? hes grown up around people all his life. i took him everywhere with me. he may only be a year old, but its just not "like him" to 1. leave my side and 2. leave my side in order to be wary of people.

id figure if he was nervous about the people [who were walking away], he would stay at my side and let me make the move. he knows im the leader.. :\ guess not, lol!
 

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First thing to do is get him vaccinated, so IF he does bite someone it doesn't turn into a mess. I don't know where you live but most places its the law to do at least the rabies shot and since its the law bad things happen when a dog bites that doesn't have this shot.
 

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If he is a year old he definitely should have all his shots or you are in danger of losing him to Parvo and other infectious diseases. Why hasn't he had his shots? When he got his Rabies shot at the Vet, didn't they ask about his other shots? Where are you located as I know sometimes it depends on where you live.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
he doesnt have the other vaccines because i dont want him to have the other vaccines. i appreciate your interest in my dogs health, but vaccines are the one thing that ISNT up for discussion. besides, vaccines dont effect his behavior, and behavior is what this thread is concerning. :]
 

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OK, except that your dog's behavioral problem is essentially a socialization problem, and you're saying you can't let your dog socialize (at puppy class or obedience school) because he's not vaccinated. Ergo, your poorly reasoned anti-vaccination stance is affecting your dog's behavior. This is really not that complicated. If you don't want to vaccinate him, then it's your responsibility to figure out another way for him to socialize in a healthy way. If you can't or won't do that, then you should really reconsider something in this equation because it's only hurting your sweet dog, who deserves better.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
hes fine with other dogs, in any situation.

its PEOPLE.. at a distance. close up, hes fine. inside an enclosed environment, hes fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
and please dont make this a vaccine debate. you think youre doing the best for your dogs by vaccinating them. i think im doing the best for my dog by not vaccinating him.
 

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Could we maybe start another thread to discuss why anyone would not vaccinate their dog? I've never heard of anyone doing this and I'd like to hear the reasoning.
 

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OK, not only did I not make this a "vaccine debate," I think the concept of a debate over vaccines for dogs is the dumbest thing ever. As I said, you have a choice. I might think your choice is poorly reasoned, but your problems are not my problems, so whatever. Your dogs needs to socialize (with dogs and strange people) and learn manners and commands like recall. That is what would be "the best for your dog." If you don't do this, it's only going to get worse. You need to figure out how to make it happen.
 

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Make sure every experience he has with people is a happy one. Carry treats to give to people so they can give them to him when they meet him. Also carry treats to lure him back to you if he decides other people are more interesting. Reward him every time he returns to you.
If you are not going to vaccinate of course you will not be able to go to most classes as that is usually a requirment. However, the above advise is still very good. Take Winston out on a long line and give him lots of distance and reward him for staying calm when strangers walk by. If this has to be a few blocks or so that is fine. Move a little closer as Winston gets more comfortable. Remember, lots of top end treats for staying calm.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
ive honestly lost track of the hours ive spent debating my reasoning with people. ive recently realized that its NOT possible to have a civil vaccination discussion [in fact, when the words vaccination and discussion are paired, "discussion" automatically becomes "debate"]..and neither side is going to change their mind. all it succeeds in doing is alienating the minority and pissing everybody off.

so unless someone wants to privately message me with a genuine curiosity, i wont discuss it. ill leave it at this..

you think i am misinformed, i think you are misinformed. the thing we have in common? we are both doing our best for our pets.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If you are not going to vaccinate of course you will not be able to go to most classes as that is usually a requirment. However, the above advise is still very good. Take Winston out on a long line and give him lots of distance and reward him for staying calm when strangers walk by. If this has to be a few blocks or so that is fine. Move a little closer as Winston gets more comfortable. Remember, lots of top end treats for staying calm.
thanks :] ill need to try this. what if he approaches them in a friendly manner? reward?
 

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I would probably avoid the meetings at this point as you want to make sure he is "always" comfortable around people and other dogs. There really is no reason he needs to be going up to strangers, but if he does get out of your control and goes up to a stranger and behaves calmly and appropriately, then yes, I would reward him. Make sure to use lots of verbal praise as well. Your calmness will trickle down to him. Alot of times when we think our dog is going to fail at something we get nervous and the dog reads this and becomes nervous too.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
ive never had so much emotional control since i got a dog.. lol! winston, like most dogs, im sure, is very attuned to people's energy.

hmm.. maybe thats why he was so nervous? the woman was NOT happy to see him. the little boy was, though, so maybe it really confused winston.
 
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