Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We live in a part of Canada that has a large community of East Indian people. Some of them, a lot of them, wear, turbans and some also have long beards...

I have noticed a few times now when we are at the dog park and a man with a turban and long beard (I think it is usually the combination) walks by, she runs up to the fence and barks at them. I am so embarrassed that she does this and I'm sure that she seems crazy and aggressive in their eyes since they don't know her. If we are walking down the street and we pass someone wearing a turban she is okay. She does not bark at all, but she does seem overly interested in them. She stares and walks towards them and looks back at them after we've passed.

It's not an aggressive thing, it's more of her saying, "hey you what do you have on your head?" In other words, she is being very rude!!!

So what's the best way to handle this. Should I take some treats and try to desensitize? Will this work for the barking at the dog park or do you think that is a separate problem? Any advice is appreciated, thanks...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
It's pretty common for dogs to be afraid of people who look different to them, and head gear and beards scare lots of dogs who aren't used to them. My young BC mix sometimes sees someone she isn't sure of...and, yes, it can be embarrassing. She's not aggressive, it's more like "Hey, you, you look strange, don't come close too me. Hey, Mom, do you see that odd person, better keep an eye on them!". The worst that happened to me was Molly barking at a young woman with CP using crutches, argh, mortifying, to say the least. Fortunately, the woman is very animal savvy (we met her at a horse barn) and knew what was going on and wasn't offended, she laughed at the silly dog.

Our dog trainer has us work on attention training, getting the dog to watch me and make eye contact with me (using treats as the reward for checking in). He told us not to get too close to scary people but to stay at a distance from which the dog was unworried enough to maintain focus on me. Work our way closer, gradually. If the dog starts focusing on the scary person, rather than me, we were too close for comfort again. Also, don't baby talk and pet the dog and try to reassure it that everything is OK, that will just reinforce the idea that the person is scary. Stay calm, matter of fact...dog is silly and doesn't need coddling as there's nothing to be afraid of.

This has gotten us to the point that men with beards and hats are OK, as are tall men. She used to be afraid of kids with backpacks on, but she's totally over that. She is recently worried about people who are very very overweight, don't ask me where that came from and it's also embarassing, so we're doing the "pay attention to ME" and keeping our distance until she stops reacting. Molly is a somewhat timid dog and it is difficult to guess who will worry her next, getting her out among people as much as I can, so she sees all kinds of people is important, but, as we live in a sem-rural area, she doesn't see a great variety of people on a daily basis.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Sacha used to bark at short old women in long skirts. I was mortified when she first did this because it was always little old ladies on their way to church.

We worked on it through 'look at that' and got some neighbors' grandparents to drop by with treats.

Now she bugs them wants to investigate for affection and treats!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,116 Posts
Our old dog Buster used to hate black people and anyone dressed workman-ish. We had him from puppyhood and I'm pretty certain it wasnt incident based, he was just a terrible racist and snob. We're in Toronto which is very multicultural so it was really embarassing. We tried to train it out but couldnt completely, he was always suspicious. In the end we opted for management, sometimes you just can't change who a dog is.... and Buster was a racist through and through.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,977 Posts
So what's the best way to handle this. Should I take some treats and try to desensitize? Will this work for the barking at the dog park or do you think that is a separate problem? Any advice is appreciated, thanks...
That's probably the first thing I'd try, though not at the dog park. As she gets more comfortable with the turban+beard combo, she may well get better about it at the dog park as well. If not, then I would work on it in the dog park - but try the "easiest" situation first, get improvement, then see how the response is in the hard situation, and then work from there if needed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
891 Posts
Molly barks at people if they're in a different position from standing or sitting. Like, recently she saw a person about 25-30 feet away and they were crouched down. She just wasn't quite sure what that was so she barked. It was sorta familiar but different, too. Today, she growled at a backpack with a frame that was standing upright on someone's porch. A ramp set out on the sidewalk for some skateboarders also elicited a growl from her until I let her smell it and she understood it wasn't a threat. I think she's being protective because she's not at all a timid or frightened dog.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,838 Posts
I've seen dogs (some of them might have been mine) that barked at guys with caps or sunglasses on, or at other dogs with sweaters on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,262 Posts
Katie has never barked at people other than me (when she wants something), but she has barked at holiday decorations, balloons, other animals, and a large stuffed dog. With the exception of other animals, I try to let her investigate the scary object, give her treats, and talk to her in a happy tone. So far it's worked; she acts all nonchalant and cool on second encounters with formerly scary objects.

You obviously can't allow your dog to start sniffing men with beards wearing turbans, but you can offer treats when she see them. I think Kikopup has a video about desensitizing to scary objects. You might look for that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Sacha used to bark at short old women in long skirts. I was mortified when she first did this because it was always little old ladies on their way to church.
You know these men that she barks at are older too, and that just makes me feel worse! These poor old men, just minding their own business trying to have a nice walk...

Our old dog Buster used to hate black people and anyone dressed workman-ish. We had him from puppyhood and I'm pretty certain it wasnt incident based, he was just a terrible racist and snob.
Same here, we have had her since she was a puppy. She has met people with turbans before. My landlord wears one, and my nephews soccer coach wears one, but I think she just needs more exposure, positive experiences, to desensitize. I don't want a racist dog!

That's probably the first thing I'd try, though not at the dog park. As she gets more comfortable with the turban+beard combo, she may well get better about it at the dog park as well. If not, then I would work on it in the dog park - but try the "easiest" situation first, get improvement, then see how the response is in the hard situation, and then work from there if needed.
Okay, that makes sense, thank you. I'll have to remember to take treats on our next walk..

Thanks everyone else for sharing the things your dog barks at, you've made me feel a little better about my prejudice dog! Julie, Bella does that sometimes too with the strange positions. One time there was a man (I think with a turban) sitting cross-legged on the sidewalk. She REFUSED to walk near him and we had to go across the street to pass! She didn't bark though. She never barks when she's on the leash, only at the dog park, when she's off-leash...
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
964 Posts
Introducing your dog to new people can be very easy; If you take it slowly..
Start with people that wear very small hats...The Yamaka
and slowy work your way up ...
Eventually you can walk proudly in front of rastifains.. without your dog reacting to extremely large hats!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Introducing your dog to new people can be very easy; If you take it slowly..
Start with people that wear very small hats...The Yamaka
and slowy work your way up ...
Eventually you can walk proudly in front of rastifains.. without your dog reacting to extremely large hats!
LOL...I'm not sure exactly what a rastifain is but I get what your saying!

The thing is it is specifically the turban/beard, or hat/beard combination that is throwing her off. The only time she reacted to a guy in a baseball cap was one that had a beard and he he surprised her when he came out of some buses directly behind her. (they were camping at the beach we were visiting) she barked at him, but he popped out of the bushes so that was understandable... other than that it has been strictly turbans and she only reacts from behind the fence at the dog park. When we pass by them on our walks she just stares at them, pulls towards them slightly, wanting to investigate...but ya, I'm sure other large hats, especially if combined with a beard, would also get some sort of reaction from her...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
I think Roloni meant Rastafarian!

I hear ya on the specific combo- Sacha was very nervous around short, old women with long skirts. It was very specific.

LOL...I'm not sure exactly what a rastifain is but I get what your saying!

The thing is it is specifically the turban/beard, or hat/beard combination that is throwing her off. The only time she reacted to a guy in a baseball cap was one that had a beard and he he surprised her when he came out of some buses directly behind her. (they were camping at the beach we were visiting) she barked at him, but he popped out of the bushes so that was understandable... other than that it has been strictly turbans and she only reacts from behind the fence at the dog park. When we pass by them on our walks she just stares at them, pulls towards them slightly, wanting to investigate...but ya, I'm sure other large hats, especially if combined with a beard, would also get some sort of reaction from her...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,977 Posts
Forgot to mention who Wally barks...well, not barks, but shy away from...

Smokers. He evidently can NOT stand the smell of cigarette/cigar smoke. He backs away from that person, tries to get away, always looking back to see if that person is following, and he gets all skittish and "why aren't we running away?" if the person is.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,240 Posts
Mine barks at African-American men for some reason. Not so much any more though, just taking her out and about more helped a lot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
I think most people would honestly not notice or know that your dog is only barking at them unless you told them so. Not much else to say.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I think most people would honestly not notice or know that your dog is only barking at them unless you told them so. Not much else to say.
I wish that was the case, but I think it's pretty obvious. The sidewalk runs right along the fence of the dog park, and it's a large dog park the dogs do not stay anywhere near the fence. It's not like their are tons of people walking by, it's just the occasional person. So when she sees a man with a beard and turban walking by she runs over and follows them along the fence, barking. It's pretty obvious what she's barking at...
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top