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Discussion Starter #1
Someone forgot to tell Buster that Saint Bernards make worthless guard dogs, they're typically too friendly for the job. This was totally unexpected of him, especially at only 5 months old. He normally greets everyone (family, friend...total strange he's never seen before) with a full body wag, my boy hasnt learned to wag JUST his tail.


A few nights ago I was taking him out for his bedtime potty walk. Right around 10pm I put Buster on his 20' leash and we start to head out the door...just like we do every single night. Buster froze just inside the back door, completely refused to budge an inch, which is anything but normal. So I look to figure out what the heck his problem is and theres someone in my yard! Male, late teens-early 20s, out near our vehicles. He must have heard the door open and started walking towards the house. Instead of his full body wag, Buster is standing completely still, head and tail held high, looking very alert. The guy catches sight of the puppy and takes off at a dead run, his buddy that was standing just out of my line of sight joined him.

Lucky for me no one told these guys Saint Bernard PUPPIES typically make worthless guard dogs!

This wasnt a matter of him feeding off my fear/emotions. I thought the guy in the yard was my brother in law...I really need new glasses. I couldnt say what Buster would have done had the guy come all the way to the door, Ive never seen him react to someone this way...its ALWAYS the full body wag. Buster didnt show any aggression, no noise either (not unusual, he's a very quiet puppy), he simply stood completely still and alert...he made no move to give chase when the guys ran off either.
 

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I hope you never have any problems with your boy, I hope he stays the sweet tempered guy you got now, all he should need is his presence to scare off an inturder just like you wrote.


There is a guy down the street from me who has a St. Bernard. I will not walk my dogs or ride my bike past his house. the one time I did, he was walking his dog outside (on his property) and his dog saw me and started barking and growling and snarling, pulling on the leash digging up grass with his pulling. I am seriously scared of this dog, and I will never again venture near their house. They keep the poor thing on a chain outside all day long (no wonder it's aggressive).
 

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Yea I've heard of some pretty aggressive St's actually.. Zoey and I met a lady walking this huge dog, and stopped to talk.. Her dog was TERRIFIED of Zoey, which seemed kinda funny, but then his lady told me that he had been attacked by two St. Bernards a few months before and they ripped him up pretty bad.. Now apparently he's afraid of all dogs. :(
 

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yeah when a st bernard is barking at you and the only thing holding him back is a little old lady, that's pretty scary.

I encountered that on a walk once :).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
How sad for these dogs that they've been allowed to get away with being aggressive. Saints arent meant to be aggressive, that was one of the major points that drew me to this breed....they are supposed to be a true gentle giant. With 4 little ones and their friends (and friends parents) coming and going all the time, an aggressive dog would have been a major liability.

Ive been working to keep my boy sweet, gentle and loving...its an ongoing process that started as soon as he came home. To him, people mean the possibility of being touched and loved on...this boy loves attention and loves to be touched, some are intimidated by his size though so we are careful to never force him on anyone. Our evening stroll is used purely for social time...we spend more time stopped for petting than actually walking.

If my boy is any indication of the breed (from the reading Ive done, he is), a Saint chained in the yard is one miserable dog. This is one of those breeds that really wants to be near his people...Buster can typically be found where ever the rest of the family is. Many dont tolerate heat well...Buster heads for his favorite a/c vent if the temps hit 75.
 

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Actually, I think Buster was right on point. He was not aggressive but his body language made YOU look and see what was out there. And his size made the guys think twice about what they were going to do. He must have sensed something you wouldn't. I think Buster will do right by you and the girls (your DH can obviously take care of himself..:D).

I hope you praised him for his efforts. He was a good boy...IMHO.
 

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It is sad that ignorant and neglectful owners exist out there.

I think many people want a intimidating "guard dog" and encourage or at least don't discourage the aggressive behaviors. This ends up giving many breeds a bad rap. From Pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, to Bernards and Mastiffs.

Any dog chained outside would be miserable at least from the heat, but again, many people are ignorant :(.


On a lighter and unrelated note:
Have you considered teaching Buster avalanche rescue? That would make a really cool dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Buster was praised very well for his effort that night. He had to have sensed something "off" about the guys. I cant even completely blame it on them being in the yard since my brother in law is often in the yard late at night and HAS startled me several times...he's greeted with the typical full body wiggle even if he's just given me a heart attack. Since then hes met a couple more 18-20 year olds, first meeting, and did the whole body wiggle greeting.

It is sad that people think a dog has to be aggressive to properly protect its family. As Buster proved this week, its really not needed. I mean if I 5 month old puppy who doesnt even have all his teeth (hes teething lol) can send a potential intruder running...who needs aggression?

Not much call for avalanche rescue in Iowa...far too flat.
He's in training for his CGC...he needs a little more self control and confidence but we'll get there. I figure, I put the work into training him (which started the night he came home) with the CGC as my goal and even if we never test Buster and I both win...he gains the skills to cope with life in a human world and I have one awesome companion.

Ive also considered getting him certified as a therapy dog...he's such a big hearted boy, so full of love, I'd love for him to have a chance to bring comfort to others. Our biggest challenge with this is how timid he can be...he LOVES people, my concern is more the medical equipment (though he had no issue with my daughter using crutches...chipped heel from another kid stepping on her foot).
 

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Ive also considered getting him certified as a therapy dog...he's such a big hearted boy, so full of love, I'd love for him to have a chance to bring comfort to others. Our biggest challenge with this is how timid he can be...he LOVES people, my concern is more the medical equipment (though he had no issue with my daughter using crutches...chipped heel from another kid stepping on her foot).
Maybe you could find a retirement home that would let you bring him just for fun, to get him used to wheelchairs, walkers, etc. Just a thought. Sometimes I take Butch or Roxxy (never together) to where my mom lives to visit her and the other residence love to see them, especially Butch. Roxxy can be a little timid so she doesn't go as often as Butch. He thinks humans are here to pet and adore him, which most of them do!

I think Buster is such a great looking dog. Y'all "done good" when you got him. I can tell he is never lacking in hugs...:D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I love that idea! Thank you so much. That just might be the perfect way to get him the exposure to the equipment without going out and buying it all. Buster agrees with Butch, humans were put on Earth purely to pet him (and feed him).

Each one of those very numerous hugs is earned. Even if he never ends up being certified as a therapy dog, he's been the perfect therapy for me. I was diagnosed with depression & anxiety 19 or so years ago (Im 30). Ive seen so many "shrinks" over the years Ive learned to tell them what they want to hear, Im so sensitive to medication that anything labeled "may cause drowsiness" knocks me out for hours. The best therapists have always been my dogs, Buster is no exception. His needs force me to be out and about in the community. His size and behavior mean we're stopped multiple times during a walk so people can pet him and ask questions about him (and his breed). Many of these people I wouldnt have spoken to without Buster. His presence is an antidepressant for me, knowing he senses my moods means I work harder at keeping a lid on things....my husband and children have noticed. While Im sure he benefits from the care he receives being apart of our family, I think its safe to say he gives far more...and thats just in this one aspect of life.
 
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