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I have a 15 month old boxer/catahoula and she has always been afraid of men that she doesn't know well (unless they are either walking a dog or standing inside of a dog park). She walks by them and sniffs and then jumps up and snaps at their hands. When she makes contact she doesn't bite them in the sense that she wants to hurt them rather its more of a soft bite and hold similar to how cats bite peoples hands and then let go when they are playing. Sometimes, however, she'll be afraid of a man and start whining and making other noises (not growling) when she sees them. If they ignore her she'll slowly approach them and sniff but she'll get afraid once they approach her.

I live in an apartment building so shes constantly being exposed to new men and she constantly tries to jump up and "bite" them. I've been able to pull her away and give her a correction every time it has happened so far but it needs to stop. How do I build her confidence in men? If she's afraid of them and can't over come that, I can live with it, as long as she avoids them. I'm afraid that her insecurity/fear is going to progress and she snaps are going to turn into full blown bites. If she bites someone twice and it's reported both times, shell be put down by the state. I need to fix this ASAP.

Also, if anyone knows of a reputable dog behaviorist in MN, please PM me the details.
 

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Good call looking for a reputable behaviorist! A suggestion from the management side: muzzle train her ASAP. It won't solve your problem but it will reduce the risk of her biting to zero. There are plenty of great suggestions online for how to properly/positively muzzle train a dog. Suggestions from the training side:

-Every time she sees a man, have her focus on you and reward with a treat. Start from a distance at which she is not reacting yet, because once she is already reacting it is too late. The point is to teach her to *not react at all* rather than correct the reaction once its happened. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you do this well and long enough, she should start automatically looking to you every time a man is around, instead of focusing on them long enough to react.

-Verbally or physically prevent men from approaching her. At all. Period. If you know someone who is willing to work with you, have him toss treats to your dog from an adequate distance from which she cannot get to the man, and also a distance at which she is not reacting. Have the man not make eye contact and not approach her, instead walking perpendicularly past her and casually tossing a treat at her as he passes by.

Both of these methods work toward counter-conditioning your dog to see men as being good things (ie, treats!) whether the reward comes from you or from the passing man. The KEY is to not move forward too quickly. You can undo a lot of training if you test your dog by seeing 'if she reacts better to this person' or 'he's given her so many treats let's see how they are next to each other....' Be deliberate and consistent in your training, muzzle train, find a good behaviorist to guide you, and you two will be fine :)
 

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Good call looking for a reputable behaviorist! A suggestion from the management side: muzzle train her ASAP. It won't solve your problem but it will reduce the risk of her biting to zero. There are plenty of great suggestions online for how to properly/positively muzzle train a dog. Suggestions from the training side:

-Every time she sees a man, have her focus on you and reward with a treat. Start from a distance at which she is not reacting yet, because once she is already reacting it is too late. The point is to teach her to *not react at all* rather than correct the reaction once its happened. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you do this well and long enough, she should start automatically looking to you every time a man is around, instead of focusing on them long enough to react.

-Verbally or physically prevent men from approaching her. At all. Period. If you know someone who is willing to work with you, have him toss treats to your dog from an adequate distance from which she cannot get to the man, and also a distance at which she is not reacting. Have the man not make eye contact and not approach her, instead walking perpendicularly past her and casually tossing a treat at her as he passes by.

Both of these methods work toward counter-conditioning your dog to see men as being good things (ie, treats!) whether the reward comes from you or from the passing man. The KEY is to not move forward too quickly. You can undo a lot of training if you test your dog by seeing 'if she reacts better to this person' or 'he's given her so many treats let's see how they are next to each other....' Be deliberate and consistent in your training, muzzle train, find a good behaviorist to guide you, and you two will be fine :)
Great advice!
 

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Good call looking for a reputable behaviorist! A suggestion from the management side: muzzle train her ASAP. It won't solve your problem but it will reduce the risk of her biting to zero. There are plenty of great suggestions online for how to properly/positively muzzle train a dog. Suggestions from the training side:

-Every time she sees a man, have her focus on you and reward with a treat. Start from a distance at which she is not reacting yet, because once she is already reacting it is too late. The point is to teach her to *not react at all* rather than correct the reaction once its happened. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you do this well and long enough, she should start automatically looking to you every time a man is around, instead of focusing on them long enough to react.

-Verbally or physically prevent men from approaching her. At all. Period. If you know someone who is willing to work with you, have him toss treats to your dog from an adequate distance from which she cannot get to the man, and also a distance at which she is not reacting. Have the man not make eye contact and not approach her, instead walking perpendicularly past her and casually tossing a treat at her as he passes by.

Both of these methods work toward counter-conditioning your dog to see men as being good things (ie, treats!) whether the reward comes from you or from the passing man. The KEY is to not move forward too quickly. You can undo a lot of training if you test your dog by seeing 'if she reacts better to this person' or 'he's given her so many treats let's see how they are next to each other....' Be deliberate and consistent in your training, muzzle train, find a good behaviorist to guide you, and you two will be fine :)
All of this! In addition, please stop correcting your dog when this happens. You run a very real risk of increasing your dog's reactivity instead of reducing it, as your dog will very likely connect the correction she receives to the presence of the men, rather than her behaviour, and increase her aggression in an attempt to keep them away from her. Stick to positive methods like Canyx detailed above, and you'll get a lot farther.
 

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All of this! In addition, please stop correcting your dog when this happens. You run a very real risk of increasing your dog's reactivity instead of reducing it, as your dog will very likely connect the correction she receives to the presence of the men, rather than her behaviour, and increase her aggression in an attempt to keep them away from her. Stick to positive methods like Canyx detailed above, and you'll get a lot farther.
Don't correct your dog?
I understand that dog training has evolved away from yank and crank/jabbing/Cesar Millan-esque type of methods but I honestly believe that people are becoming a little extreme.

An average dog can take a physical reprimand and not become traumatized. And honestly, who wants a dog that will become unhinged at the first sign of physical barriers. If this dog is that much of a danger (not that it necessarily is, but it seems to be the implication) to certain people, keep it contained and muzzled at all times when in public.

I don't believe you are giving a dog's level of intelligence enough credit. If done properly, a correction will not create more reactivity, it will create a respect of boundaries. Something that today's dogs sorely lack.
 
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