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Hello, im new around here... dont know how many of you might have seen my into thread.. but i adopting a Cocker Spaniel next month named Poppy...

i have already met him.. and well.. hes not the most social of dogs :)..
he gave me a mean growl the moment he saw me :D

his current care giver said he would need some time to get used to me.. which is fair.. so we are hoping when we start meeting everyday he wil calm down..

his reaction towards me is not my problem though.. im thinking when he starts to live with me..

He has been with his current family all his life.. so to suddenly go from his home to mine is going to be a big adjustment.. and im worried that the stress of the change might change his warning growls and barks into actuall attacks because of the stress...

i have alot of people here in my house.. its a busy place where friends and neighbours come and go..and i admire that Poppy is protective of his family and self... but how can i bring Poppy's stranger fear down.. and teach him how to be catious about strangers but rather just leave them alone instead of warn them off with barks and growls?... he has not bitten anyone so far.. though like i said.. from the change and stress of adjustment im worried he may just lash out..

when we think he is ready.. he will be visiting my house a few times before he starts to live here.. and will be slowly introduced to everyone and get a feel for how the house is.. is there anything i can do then aswell to reduce his anxiety?

and Poppy has just had a full vet check up when he got one of his shots a few weeks ago.. so no illness or sore spots or reason for his "agression".. he just dont take well to new people..

any answers at all will be greatly appriciated :)..
 

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Basically, you take it slow...one person at a time and you go at his pace/comfort level. He needs to get comfortable with you and his surroundings before bringing in the troops. The biggest change you'll have to make is to not admire his 'protectiveness'. That is not a good thing to encourage/allow.
Start by just tossing treats...no commands/demands...show him that good things come from you. This is the same tactic that friends and neighbors need to employ....no reaching for the dog, bending over him (a threat), rushing to him face to face (more threats) or 'manhandling' with petting. Let the dog approach people on his own terms.
 

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You might want to re-think adopting this dog. Growling at strangers is NOT the behavior of a well-balanced, stable dog! I can send any of my dogs with a perfect stranger (and have) and never would they growl, or display negative behavior of any kind. That includes my two rescues, as well as the two I have had since tiny puppies. Whether it's lack of socialization or poor temperament, it's not behavior I would want in a dog. There are too many other dogs out there needing homes who do not have issues like that.
 

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He has been with his current family all his life..
I can't help but wonder why they are giving him up...

But Cockers aren't the most stable of dogs. Not all of them, but I have known a few and they were hellions and hated strangers. Always.

That aside, you can do what TooneyDogs said and let him move at his pace. I would go further and tell the people that come to your house to completely ignore him. Not even LOOK at him.

And then I would reconsider bringing an unstable dog into a home where lots of people outside the family are coming and going. Consider that you may end up in a situation where you have to crate the dog whenever anyone else comes over.
 

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Basically, you take it slow...one person at a time and you go at his pace/comfort level. He needs to get comfortable with you and his surroundings before bringing in the troops. The biggest change you'll have to make is to not admire his 'protectiveness'. That is not a good thing to encourage/allow.
Start by just tossing treats...no commands/demands...show him that good things come from you. This is the same tactic that friends and neighbors need to employ....no reaching for the dog, bending over him (a threat), rushing to him face to face (more threats) or 'manhandling' with petting. Let the dog approach people on his own terms.
just because i admire.. does not mean i will encourage it... i wouldnt have made this thread if that were the case :)

and yes we will be moving at his pace... like i said.. it will be a big change for him.. dont want to rush him through it..

when he is comfortable enough with me.. he will be coming to my house on the quietest days.. when pretty much no one is home.. we sublet.. so most of my neigbours work.. he'll be here during work days and will be slowly introduced to everyone on week ends..

perhaps it was how i approached him the first time i met him aswell that mighty have triggered his growling?... i came in a bit fast...

You might want to re-think adopting this dog. Growling at strangers is NOT the behavior of a well-balanced, stable dog! I can send any of my dogs with a perfect stranger (and have) and never would they growl, or display negative behavior of any kind. That includes my two rescues, as well as the two I have had since tiny puppies. Whether it's lack of socialization or poor temperament, it's not behavior I would want in a dog. There are too many other dogs out there needing homes who do not have issues like that.
i dont live in the most animal friendly country...
i would rather i take him in and try to work with him..than some other person who would hit him and shout at him whenever he did something wrong and just make things worse... and throw him at some adoption centre where he will probably be killed because no one will have enough courage to try and work with him for him to be adoptable...



I can't help but wonder why they are giving him up...

But Cockers aren't the most stable of dogs. Not all of them, but I have known a few and they were hellions and hated strangers. Always.

That aside, you can do what TooneyDogs said and let him move at his pace. I would go further and tell the people that come to your house to completely ignore him. Not even LOOK at him.

And then I would reconsider bringing an unstable dog into a home where lots of people outside the family are coming and going. Consider that you may end up in a situation where you have to crate the dog whenever anyone else comes over.
they currently live in a big villa with a huge garden where he can play and exercise.. but due to some work issues.. they will need to move to a small apartment in france and will never be home... not fair to the dog.. so they have asked for me to care for him instead... i can offer care love and attention.. where they can only offer love.. and nothing more.. he wouldnt be able to get sufficient exercise or attention..

his owner actually said that he is very sweet to most strangers.. ignoring/avoiding them the first few days they are around.. then coming to them when he feels like it..

i think i got the growling because of how we were introduced.. his owner had him in another room of the house and called me in... and asked me to approach.. she was holding him lightly by the colar while he was sitting.. so i think he felt threatend because he was stuck there and i started approaching.. he only growled at me when i was near him.. and i guess from his angel i might have looked like i was ontop of him... which as i understand.. is a threat..

i have considered the fact that i have alot of people in my house.. everyone here however is willing to work with Poppy and i to make the transaction easier on him.. so i full support of everyone here and can tell them when space is needed and when they can gradually start coming in again..

i think i might have given a rather bad image about Poppy.. from what his owner has told me he is indeed a very nice and "stable" dog.. and i really feel like he deserves the chance..
 

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Thanks for the additional info. That paints a more complete picture. It sounds like you're doing a great thing. :) If you can tell your visitors to let Poppy approach (and don't force him to closely interact with people) you'll probably do fine. You might want to consider meeting people on the lawn with Poppy and then all entering the house together. THat way the person isn't coming into his house without the opportunity to sniff them a bit.

Good luck to you and let us know how it's going. :)
 

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Thanks for the additional info. That paints a more complete picture. It sounds like you're doing a great thing. :) If you can tell your visitors to let Poppy approach (and don't force him to closely interact with people) you'll probably do fine. You might want to consider meeting people on the lawn with Poppy and then all entering the house together. THat way the person isn't coming into his house without the opportunity to sniff them a bit.

Good luck to you and let us know how it's going. :)
thank you...

yes i think that will be a better approach.. when i met him the first time he was forced to sit there and meet me when i was already in his house... no wonder he didnt like it eh?..

i will try that and the treats from me and others..and telling new people to just leave him be and just let him come to them and not pay him much attention when in the house...

i will be updating again soon.. his owner is now in France fixing the apartment.. while Poppy stays with dad... so when she is back we will start working on trust gaining.. and i will try to sneak in a few pictures aswell :)

thank you everyone for you input..
 

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i dont live in the most animal friendly country...
i would rather i take him in and try to work with him..than some other person who would hit him and shout at him whenever he did something wrong and just make things worse... and throw him at some adoption centre where he will probably be killed because no one will have enough courage to try and work with him for him to be adoptable...
Well then, if you'e willing to work with him, that's great! A lot of people aren't, and the dog ends up on the losing end. Best of luck to you, and keep us posted on your progress!
 
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