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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,
We just rescued an 18 month old saint bernard. We do have experience having a saint, but we are new to rescue. She's absolutely wonderful in the home. Is great with our cat. Seems to learn commands quickly. But that all goes out the door when we leave the house. She loves walks and car rides but bark's aggressively at other people and dogs when she sees them. I have been able to get her to stop barking while she's in the house and sees passersbys, so she does respond to training, but the house also seems to be her safe zone. I mainly worry because our neighborhood is notorious for dogs getting loose and I don't want her to hurt a dog as I'm not familiar with her background. She has definitely not been well socialized. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions or have been t(the rescue said she was good with people and dogs ?) Through similar. And what worked/didn't work for you?
Thanks,
Lori and the newly rescued betsy
 

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Hi and welcome! Do you have pictures of Betsy? We almost rescued a saint, but decided he wasn't a good fit.

It's important to realize that dogs tend to be very specific when learning, so even if they know sit in the living room, they may not truly understand sit in the kitchen. It's even more difficult when they're in a completely new environment where you're competing for their attention against so many strong distractions (e.g., smells, sounds, sights). You'll need to work up to that by practicing cues in a variety of low distraction environments before moving to more busy areas. Do you have a yard where you can let him out and start practicing there? It may be a little less distracting than other places because it's more familiar to her.

Here are some resources that might help with the reactivity (i.e., barking at people and dogs):
Links, books, blogs etc for reactive / leash aggressive dogs and similar

If you plan to hire a trainer, here are some good organizations. The first few are behaviorists, which you may not need at this point. The last few will help you find force-free trainers. A trainer or behaviorist should be able to determine if her barking is truly aggressive or just excitement. I'd recommend you work with a professional simply because saints are big dogs and you may not be able to physically control her should a potentially dangerous situation arise.
Directory of Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists
Find an Animal Behavior Consultant
American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
Pet Professional Guild
Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (primarily trainers, but some have been certified as dog behavior consultants)
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
hi!
Thank you for the links :) ill definately look into finding a good trainer that is a good fit. Shes a relatively small saint (about 120 lbs) and compared to my last guy who weighed in at 175, shes much easier to redirect on a leash, but still, she does create a lot of force. It does seem yo be more fear based when she barks at people. At dogs, it does seem to be excitment, but when i tense up she tenses up...which makes sense i guess

I do have a yard that i can work with her in. We are in a townhouse so its not fenced, but here are less distractions. In the yard she can be redirected,but needs constant redirection. Going to the vet is ..intense . Shes great with people, but barks and growls at dogs while waiting. (Again, she starts barking in an exciteable manner, then tenses up and reverts to growling which im sure is related to my tension on some level) We have only had her a month, and have will do whatever it takes to work with her. I need to be more confident with her too.

This link should take you to her picture. Its not the best pic ever.lol




Thanks again for the info!
Lori and betsy
 
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