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Discussion Starter #1
My chessie is about a year old, he is a little shell shocked from some really awful experiences. When he was 8 weeks old we went for a walk in our local park with my parent's rottweiler and border collie. Two bullmastiffs came out of no where and attacked my parents rottie. Somehow in the scuffle he ran away into the park, thankfully a stranger found him. The rottie had been severly injured, it was a vicious attack, thankfully he pulled through. The bullmastiffs owners had let them off leash because they had 'never attacked a dog before' but no longer go to the local dog park because of aggression issues -rolls eyes- So that was very tramatic for him

so the breeder wanted me to finish him in conformation, he's a beautiful example of the breed. The first time we went to training, he did not like the trainer. She was very rough with him, she was very rude to me, tell me to 'make him stand even if he can't breathe', 'he has to focus, he is already too old to start, he needs to catch up'. He was in a puppy show collar/lead combo, he was maybe 14 weeks old. So she told me she'd "handle him", took him around, and when she went to stack him he snapped at her. She litterally picked him up off his feet with a slip collar on. Needless to say we no longer went to her.

Now he's a year old, we're awaiting the breeders "ok" to neuter him, she owns the breeding rights to him and theres nothing I can do about that. My biggest problem with him is he's great with my bfs (Will) kids, he's great with everyone in my family... Till I'm not around and someone gives him a 'hard stare'. If someone makes too long of eye contact (strangers generally) he gets very uncomfortable and has snapped a few times. It makes me very uneasy, especially when Will's kids visit because they 2 and 4. I don't leave them alone with the dog but if I"m making lunch and they're watching tv or outside playing with Will I don't know if he'd know what to do.

I have tried the watch me command, he knows that well, if prompted by a stranger with a treat he'll be more than happy. It just seems random, and its generally not around me. Whenever I've seen him make a hard stare I generally use a sound diversion, redirect, or have him leave the room. I'm not sure what else to do? Any suggestions? We are planning on talking to a trainer but, like everyone, money is really tight and we are behind on the morgage and oil bill. So paying to have a behaviorist/etc has to come second.
 

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Dont' stare, your basically threatening him, most dogs dont like that. You would get nervous if someone was staring you in the face.

Wait for someone else to chime in, they will probably add.
 

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Yeah, though, maybe if they play the "Watch me!" game with him, he'll be more comfortable with sustained eye contact with the kids.

Dogs do consider a stare as a threat - but I also think it's dependent on context as well. Wally and I can "stare" at each other if I need/want to hold his focus, etc.
 

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You make eye contact very, very rewarding. Grab a handful of treats and every time he makes eye contact you toss a treat and praise. Do it while you're watching TV, getting up from the chair, walking to the kitchen, etc. Don't ask/command that eye contact...he has to offer it willingly and freely.
Your timing on this needs to be really good. The split second he makes eye contact you praise and toss the treat. I suggest a one word marker/praise like "Yes!, Good Boy!".
 

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Your pup is a walking Murphy's Law dog, be careful watch for lightning strikes when walking. If down the road you see a trainer please check him out before you allow dog anywhere near the trainer. It's those kind of trainers that dogs do not need. Tooney's got everything else nailed down properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Your pup is a walking Murphy's Law dog, be careful watch for lightning strikes when walking. If down the road you see a trainer please check him out before you allow dog anywhere near the trainer. It's those kind of trainers that dogs do not need. Tooney's got everything else nailed down properly.


Lol, we have in my family whats called 'Lee luck', its pretty much muphys law, everything that can go bad will go bad... but hey :) Lifes interesting lol. I know chessies are a handful, he's not crazy about strangers, and I know worrying about him probably makes it worse :p He's a good boy (as the 90 pound off is laying on my feet :) )
 

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Lol, we have in my family whats called 'Lee luck', its pretty much muphys law, everything that can go bad will go bad... but hey :) Lifes interesting lol. I know chessies are a handful, he's not crazy about strangers, and I know worrying about him probably makes it worse :p He's a good boy (as the 90 pound off is laying on my feet :) )
Well, good luck with the 90 lber, I have always had a preference for dogs that were a tad leery with strangers. I'm a tad leery with strangers myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have to admit it was kind of funny, he was 8 weeks old and he would just stare at strangers like 'excuse me, could you PLEASE keep your hands to yourself? You're not my Mommy'. I wonder why people just allow their kids to come up to strange dogs and pet them, or strange people think he's a lab so they just come over to pet him.

I just don't get why I have to tell people not to lean over my dog, stare long and hard into his eyes... I think it should be a course in school to learn simple animal handling/language.

Did you take french in school? Nah, I took dog.
 

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Did you take french in school? Nah, I took dog.
I've never tried to learn French, but learning Caninese was easier than any other language I've tried to learn, including my native language: English. :)
 
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