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We have a 2 yr old Labrador retriever and a 1 yr old pitbull who we rescued about a week ago.

So about 8 months ago we had an incident. Everyone was home at like 11pm relaxing and settling down for the night when all of a sudden my mother in laws ex-boyfriend, who was definitely not suppose to be there, slams the front door open. Immediately my lab starts growling and snarling because it scared her, myother in law is yelling and her ex boyfriend goes to shut the door and my dog bites him on the hand. My wife then forces him to leave and the rest of the night our dog is up on high alert.

Ever since then she barks when ever someone comes into our house (men, women and children). She even barks when we are out hiking and come across people. Its not like barking like she is letting them know we're here. She puffs her fur up and she is snarling and barking but she doesn't bite she just sniffs and then runs back to us and goes back and forth.

It's frustrating because she is a perfect dog in ever other aspect. Listens well, is gentle with our other animals and children we just want to be able to rake her to do fun things with us without her scaring other people.

We have all the time in the world to train her but at this point we just don't know how to handle the situation. Any advice will help.
 

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Slightly different but I have a beagle who was left on a long line in a garden and barked to get attention so not aggressive but he thought everyone was his BFF and he barked to attract them.

I taught him a 'look at me' command and every time he looked at me he got a treat.. At first you have to do it as soon as someone appears and treat a lot until they are past . But as time went on a week or so I could literally keep walking and just say 'look at me' until we passed the person or dog without barking, then reward.

We have now got to the stage where he barely responds to anyone or other dogs in the street and if he does seem even a little interested a quick 'look at me 'reminds him of where his attention needs to be.

Hope that might help
 

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The dog is showing a defensive posture. When the X BF showed up and scared the dog, the dog went into full defense mode (NOT protecting you or the family of the house.. protecting herself!). When a dog hackles up in this situation, they are scared. By hackling up they are making themselves look bigger and scarier (or trying to) and are reacting out of FEAR.

I suggest that you crate train this dog and have a crate in another room that is quiet and not busy with a lot of people. When someone is coming over and you know, put the dog in the crate in the other room and give him something to do (I suggest a fresh raw meaty knuckle bone to chew on). If someone shows up at the door, put the dog up BEFORE they come in the house.

Because this dog bit someone he has a bite history. This means he is a liability. It also means he KNOWS he can bite which can lead to biting again. Manage the dog and the situation and save yourself a lot of heart ache. The dog in the crate in another part of the house with a meaty bone to chew will be happier and you will be too since he is not a risk to guests and will not be barking.
 

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How old was the dog when this event happened? Around 16 months?

Young dogs go through "fear periods" when a single traumatic event can have a lasting impact, and I would hazard a guess that this happened when your dog might have been in one. They generally have two, one at 8-10 weeks and the second between 6-14 months, but it varies. In a mature dog this would have likely happened and then been forgotten the next day. In a young dog...not so much.

I would suggest getting the help of a behaviorist or positive, force free trainer. It is very hard to offer advice without seeing what's going on, and if the dog has bit someone (even though it sounds rather justified...) this is the path I would take. They can help you develop a training program to help your dog.
 

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Hi, I’m a trainer and wanted to let you know that Your best bet is to desensitize and counter condition so she sees people as good things, not scary things.

Have a family member lightly knock on or open door, reward. Repeat, over and over. If she barks, then try having her further away from the door, like another room. Open door, reward, repeat. This video has great tips.


The goal here is to stay far enough away from any dog/person that your dog doesn’t bark (gradually moving closer, when he/she’s ready).

(use the word YES, instead of the clicker). You want to say yes and reward before he/she gets worked up or barking.
It’s also VERY Important that you don’t pull back on the leash or tense up when she sees or whines/barks at another dog/person. This causes more tension & reactivity in your dog.
 
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