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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Alright, I need some words of comfort, or words from the wise here... Something.

Most everyone knows that I adopted Donatello in December of last year... I live in a small apartment with my mother and two younger sisters- 12 and 6.

It's believe that he's a Manchester/Jack Russel-mix... (Meaning that he wouldn't be all that good with small children...) Well, considering the dark and violent past he's endured, I've always kept him on a "short-leash" so-to-speak... I've always watched him like a hawk, because even though this is now May, I'm still unsure of his behavior in strange situations...

He does well with my family. My sisters can come and pet on him and he doesn't mind, but they don't do it often- (They're always busy with other things...) And that's just fine by me. He does well with my mother, and he's getting better with the employees at PetCo/PetSmart. He has yet to snap at a stranger... Until yesterday.

I've done my best to always try and keep him calm when strangers ask to pet on him. (Most times people do ask me if "he bites" or if "he's friendly".) I will be honest and tell them to "go slow", "be easy", "try not to spook him". I'll honestly tell them that I adopted him and he was severely beaten before, and he's still terrified of strangers... They all "ooh-and-awe" and "coo" over him, and he warms up slowly... But I still warn them not to "rush him".

He cannot stand when dogs, even puppies, rush him. He gets extremely defensive, and like I tell strangers if he does growl or even nip, it wouldn't be because he's aggressive, he's just extremely shy and defensive and would rather hide behind me for protection.

I'd say that working with him, he's made a 64% recovery since I first adopted him, and that's great! But yesterday really upset me.

My mother and my older-younger sister went to put out fliers, so I decided for the first time to take Donatello and my youngest sister to the park here by the house to feed the geese. Donatello did fine with Harlie, she didn't try to pet on him in the truck because most of the time he was on my lap... If she walks up to him, I remind her to go slow and be nice, and she'll pet on him and he doesn't mind...

So at the small pond with the geese I tied him on a short-lead to the railing so I could help my sister... He wasn't but a foot from my feet, barking and yapping at the geese, and just generally pissed-off because he wasn't getting the bread and the attention! lol!

Well, I turned and bent down to show him love so he'd hush up, when literately out of no-where, EIGHT Spanish kids surrounded us!! (I was on my knees, and all those kids surrounding us even made me nervous!)

They all walked right up and got as close to us as possible! I could smell their breath they were all that close! Eight of them! They were all around the ages of my sister Harlie, 6/7/8 maybe... The older of the eight started petting Donatello, WITHOUT ASKING, thankfully she went slow at first... Donatello tolerates strangers, but he has to have room to stand and turn so he can smell them, he didn't have that chance! So they all started putting their hands on them, and I'm trying to be nice- I want to stand and look for adults or parents but I didn't want to risk taking my hands off Donatello for a second. I was semi-holding his head so that if he tried to snap I'd have a hold of him and he wouldn't make contact.

Then after a minute or so the older girl asks, "Does he bite?", just like with the adults I say, "He might if you scare him and if you move too fast. He needs to see all of your hands and he needs to know you're not going to hit him." She shook her head yes, now mind you, Donatello is small, he's a fourth of my sister's size, so these small children appeared to be towering over Donatello. He was trembling! I didn't know what to do, but knowing they're kids they'd leave within a few seconds to go run off to the playground... I kept telling Donatello, "Good boy, it's okay, be good boy," in my most quiet, soothing voice... He was handling it well, having eight or more hands pushing on him and rubbing him all at once...

Well- Danger striked, but missed! The older girl that asked if he bites, and I told her he might, f***ed up! She stood back, then fell to her knees RIGHT IN HIS FACE and darted her hand to his neck, at the same time she did that I said, "Everyone needs to back up! Get out of his face!"

DONATELLO SNAPPED!

He didn't make contact, thanks to me holding his head, and I doubt he was biting to bring blood, he was warning the girl to get of his gosh-darn face! She fell back holding her hand, (which I told her to show me and she had not even a mark on her hand, evidence that he didn't even graze her with his teeth.) She looked at me in shock and all seven other kids took three steps back, "He tried to bite me!" she whined, I glared at her and all the other kids, "I told you all to move back, I told you all to get out of his face, and I told you all TO MOVE SLOW! You rushed him and that scared him. Now GET!"

I dared her, (in my mind), to go tell her mommy and I'd have a few choice words for the mother or father that left their small child run rampant with a pack of kids smaller than her in a busy public place not fifty feet from a four-lane high-way!

I was so upset, and I can only imagine how Donatello felt... He quickly shook it off, but I didn't! We went and sat at a bench so my sister could play on the swings, every other kid would just look at him and say, "You've got a cute dog there lady." I would smile and say thanks, grateful the other kids were smart enough, and informed to stay away from strange dogs!

I'm at a loss, I shouldn't have to muzzle my dog because parents don't tell their kids to *ASK* first... But at the same time, do you think that I should keep working with him as I am? (He's getting better and better as we go a long.) I have no doubt that sooner or later he's going to be cured of this... It's just going to take work.

It doesn't help that packs of kids that have no supervision, and have no respect for others scare Donatello. -.-
 

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Hi Deege...here are my feelings. You can take them with a grain of salt, or just throw them out.

First off- good for you for wanting to work with Donny. He's a cute dog. Obviously, he's a rescue and has been through alot, much like my boyfriend's dog.

I can tell you that we usually muzzle his dog when we take her to the park, just because of situations like that. I mean, you can't control kids or their stupid parents, and if your dog gets bum rushed and bites someone's kid, it's going to be your fault for having a "dangerous" dog out in public.

Should kids run around unsupervised? No. I'm not defending them. I'm trying to save you guys some heart ache. That's just the way it is.

I guess IMHO you may not want to try to work with this dog in a public place where children are likely to be. It doesn't sound like he's comfortable around too many people or animals, and if I was in your shoes, I just wouldn't want to risk it.

So, like I said....you can take it or leave it. I'm not going to tell you what to do with your dog, all I can do is tell you what we do with our little fear biter.
 

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Next time your put in such a situation I'd say get him out of there. Kids are loud, energetic and not likely to listen to you in such large groups.

Working one on one with a calm, well-mannered kid is one thing. Such a large group is overwhelming and I wouldn't push him.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Next time your put in such a situation I'd say get him out of there. Kids are loud, energetic and not likely to listen to you in such large groups.
Okay, I wasn't using this as working experience, PetCo and PetSmart are... I would have got him out of there, trying to keep calm myself and being corned with a railing and pond behind me and eight kids surrounding my front... I couldn't have gotten him out of there safely.

That's never happened before, and I didn't see it coming; Usually when I see situations that arise that I don't think he'd handle well, I pull him the other direction.

Hi Deege...here are my feelings. You can take them with a grain of salt, or just throw them out.

First off- good for you for wanting to work with Donny. He's a cute dog. Obviously, he's a rescue and has been through alot, much like my boyfriend's dog.

I can tell you that we usually muzzle his dog when we take her to the park, just because of situations like that. I mean, you can't control kids or their stupid parents, and if your dog gets bum rushed and bites someone's kid, it's going to be your fault for having a "dangerous" dog out in public.

Should kids run around unsupervised? No. I'm not defending them. I'm trying to save you guys some heart ache. That's just the way it is.

I guess IMHO you may not want to try to work with this dog in a public place where children are likely to be. It doesn't sound like he's comfortable around too many people or animals, and if I was in your shoes, I just wouldn't want to risk it.

So, like I said....you can take it or leave it. I'm not going to tell you what to do with your dog, all I can do is tell you what we do with our little fear biter.
Well, I want this dog to be socialized and I want him to be friendly with kids and everyone... I have two sisters- I'd like to be able to think that if they "screwed up" and moved too fast he wouldn't react defensively... How else do I get him socialized when I don't have a big family?

Like I said, the work I've done with him so far with the dog-park and the petstores... He's getting better, much better... He's just not quite there yet.

I'm not an idiot, lol, I know it'd be my fault if Donatello bit that girl and drew blood. but he can't help it anymore than I can... He can't help it that he doesn't like quick movements from strangers...

I guess I'm asking, how would I condition him to overlook quick movements without thinking everyone is going to hit him?
 

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I don't think you have to muzzle him, despite the snap, I think he did pretty well from what you described...he was pushed waaaay beyond what he was comfortable with and all he did was snap with no contact.

What I would do in the future if I were you is not try to be nice...just say straight up, "you can't pet him", or "he's not friendly", even if he may be fine in many or most situations. I would not let any more kids you don't know pet him, especially with parents not around, and if they approach you I would take him and walk away.
 

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I think you need to be upfront and blunt with kids. "NO, you cannot pat him, he may bite." My rule is that no children are allowed to pat my dogs without their parents permission - and said parent has to be in front of me saying it! The risk of allergies alone are enough to keep the kids away!

Sounds like Donatello is getting there, he just needs more time. I have a formerly aggressive Aussie and now she is reliable with greeting people. It took over a year of training and it's an ongoing process, we can't give her an inch!
 

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I agree, not so nice next time. I had a maltese rescue and I would have scooped her up. You can be rude because you are protecting your pup.

Great job working with him so far!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I don't think you have to muzzle him, despite the snap, I think he did pretty well from what you described...he was pushed waaaay beyond what he was comfortable with and all he did was snap with no contact.

What I would do in the future if I were you is not try to be nice...just say straight up, "you can't pet him", or "he's not friendly", even if he may be fine in many or most situations. I would not let any more kids you don't know pet him, especially with parents not around, and if they approach you I would take him and walk away.
Thanks, I was hoping someone would say that... (I generally take a census before using any advice, and I was starting to get worried that everyone would tell me to muzzle him wherever we go! lol!)

Usually it's only one or two kids that walk up and pet him, but this was a sudden, out-of-the-blue thing and they just started petting him before I had much time to react, and once they were petting him, I wasn't sure how to react- Make them stop after they already started, or what, I was shocked and concerned and just wanted to wait it out... It never lasts long- Kids get bored with him easily, he's cute but not a puppy! ; ) lol!

I think you need to be upfront and blunt with kids. "NO, you cannot pat him, he may bite." My rule is that no children are allowed to pat my dogs without their parents permission - and said parent has to be in front of me saying it! The risk of allergies alone are enough to keep the kids away!

Sounds like Donatello is getting there, he just needs more time. I have a formerly aggressive Aussie and now she is reliable with greeting people. It took over a year of training and it's an ongoing process, we can't give her an inch!
That's a good rule of thumb to live by... I want Donatello to be subjected to children, because now I'm even more uncertain of my trust with him around my sister...

Yes, it's an on-going process with me as well... He still has his times where he's uncertain of me, even. If I change my tone, even an octave, he's on the defense and submissively peeing...

I agree, not so nice next time. I had a maltese rescue and I would have scooped her up. You can be rude because you are protecting your pup.

Great job working with him so far!
It's difficult to pick up Donatello, it scares him- And I was worried that if I picked him up they would have continued to try and pet him and that would have just ensured a snap...

Thanks for the support. I really appreciate it!

LOL That was cute. How exactly did you come up with that number?;)
Well, the number isn't exact... But I judge that, comparing to him how he was, and how I hope he will be... He's over half way there, and the 4% is how he still reacts to deliverymen and maintenance men that come to out house. lol!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Oh, I know you weren't insulting my intelligence, I was just stating that I am aware of that, because I'm sure others will post and question if I realize where my responsibilities lie... ; ) It's all good, and thanks for the support and the feedback, I appreciate it! : D
 

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Hey Deege. I know you've been working with Donatello, which is great. Sounds like he's made great progress. I don't think you need to muzzle him...but next time...definitely be more blunt and up front about it. If you were uneasy about the situation, I would have been more forceful about getting the kids to back away. If the parents aren't around, definitely be FORCEFUL with telling the kids to back up and let them know the dog WILL BITE. Its better to be safe than sorry. Even if donatello won't bite, it's protecting you and your dog. That girl could have gone and told her mom that donatello bit her (even if he didn't), then you would have had a whole other issue.

The other thing I noticed is, you mentioned donatello snapped right after YOU reacted to the fact that the girl fell and put her hand in deege's face. Your reaction could have also triggered deege's snapping, just something to remember. Our dogs feed off of us...he probably sensed YOUR fear (fear of him snapping, but he doesn't know that) and then reacted. Just something to be very aware of.

Again, you were apparently very unsure about the situation..which says to me you should (next time) just ask ALL the kids to back away that the dog isn't nice. Donatello can sense your uneasiness...

Someone else made a good point, that you should make sure the parents give permission before you allow a kid to pet donatello, especially given that you know he has this fear. If there isn't a parent there, then no petting the dog. Simple as that.

Mac'n'Roe luckily LOVE children and I worked with them VERY young with allowing children to pet them. But, I am also VERY choosy and in complete control of any situation when strange children are engaging them. I make them sit and watch me..and then tell the child when they can pet. They are so big, they could easily accidentally hurt someone. I did have a child run up to mac in a petco once, though...she just ran across the store and gave mac a big hug...before I could do anything about it. Mac didn't even flinch...which was good. So, I do understand that you cannot control every situation.

You are okay, he didn't bite the girl..just snapped. Take it as a learning experience.
 

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Ok.. here's my take on this.

The key phrase that you used in your post: "Donatello tolerates strangers."

Tolerates. I used to think there wasn't a difference, and that a dog tolerating something was a success. Marge TOLERATED petting to pass her CGC. Great, right? Kind of. In reality, there's still more that needs to be done. Every person, dog, any animal, has a threshold. And when they CAN'T tolerate any more, that threshold is reached. That's what you saw happen with these kids. Instead, you want him to actually enjoy the petting fully.

Read this, it should be insightful. http://fearfuldogs.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/taking-it-slow/

Right now, what you need to do to protect yourself and your dog is to NOT allow strangers to pet him, ESPECIALLY kids. If more incidents like this happen, you will have a major setback and Donatello might regress to being scared and introverted. Not to mention, the problems that can occur if someone gets seriously bitten.

Stand up for your dog.. if people pull their sh!t where they come over and pester you and him without asking, do what you have to to protect him. Move away. Tell them off. Even pick him up. The important thing is that Donnie knows YOU can handle the situation and that HE doesn't have to by reacting negatively. That's what I've started to do with Marge. I've shot so many dirty looks and curt remarks towards people the past couple of days that you'd think I'm the nastiest person ever. LOL. But right now I'm doing what I need to do to keep Marge away from the things that bother her.

You'll be okay. You're dedicated and you want to do what's best for him. Good luck and keep us updated.
 

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Well I'm not gonna jump on Donatello at all. You are the one in charge and I can never understand amateurs that will(like yourself) work very hard to get somewhere and then in 5 minutes destroy 6 months of work. You have mentioned things that you want with Donatello, well what we want we don't always get. You took the little dog in an area that you had no control over, if something bad had happened your dog would have paid the price. You have only had your dog 6 months there is no reason to hurry. The tough part of this is that it's easy to blame the kids and the kid's mom etc. Think about it there is only one person to blame. Now mistakes are great because that's how we all learn, so learn from it and in future careful is the watchword. I also think you probably are a nice person, well get over it and protect your dog with your mouth, you are the one who has to tell people your dog bites. It's very simple they ask you say yes, they don't ask you volunteer the info strongly, my dog bites. Forget the people and protect your dog. You can setup your own socialization program with a more controlled environment. I hope this makes sense.
 

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You can setup your own socialization program with a more controlled environment. I hope this makes sense.
Well, like I keep asking, how I'm supposed to socialize him? If I'm doing it incorrectly, please tell me the correct way. I can't deny my dog trips to the park, it's what he enjoys, and it's safer than walking around in my complex, if anyone can believe that.

Read this, it should be insightful. http://fearfuldogs.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/taking-it-slow/

Right now, what you need to do to protect yourself and your dog is to NOT allow strangers to pet him, ESPECIALLY kids. If more incidents like this happen, you will have a major setback and Donatello might regress to being scared and introverted. Not to mention, the problems that can occur if someone gets seriously bitten.
Thanks for the link- (I've got it bookmarked), and the support, however, I'm still confused... I need him, and want him to be trusted with children, how do I socialize him and help him understand that kids aren't are all that bad if I don't allow the kids to pet him? To me, that would just teach him not to trust kids, and later on in life he'll still react the same way if they move too quickly. This is the first time he's ever reacted this way to children, he's been petted before by kids one-on-one, or two-on-one even and have been fine... I need help reassuring him that people moving quickly doesn't mean he's going to get hit.

I've been doing well thus far, working with him... Just a few days ago, he was sitting in the cart and the employee asked if he could have a treat, and I said, "Yeah, if he'll take it from you..."- He wagged his tail and shyly took the treat!! The first time in all these months!! He doesn't have near as many regresses then he had just three months ago... We've upped the dog park visits and upped the trips to the petstores... This is our second to the last step.

Hey Deege. I know you've been working with Donatello, which is great. Sounds like he's made great progress. I don't think you need to muzzle him...but next time...definitely be more blunt and up front about it. If you were uneasy about the situation, I would have been more forceful about getting the kids to back away. If the parents aren't around, definitely be FORCEFUL with telling the kids to back up and let them know the dog WILL BITE. Its better to be safe than sorry. Even if donatello won't bite, it's protecting you and your dog. That girl could have gone and told her mom that donatello bit her (even if he didn't), then you would have had a whole other issue.

The other thing I noticed is, you mentioned donatello snapped right after YOU reacted to the fact that the girl fell and put her hand in deege's face. Your reaction could have also triggered deege's snapping, just something to remember. Our dogs feed off of us...he probably sensed YOUR fear (fear of him snapping, but he doesn't know that) and then reacted. Just something to be very aware of.

Again, you were apparently very unsure about the situation..which says to me you should (next time) just ask ALL the kids to back away that the dog isn't nice. Donatello can sense your uneasiness...

Someone else made a good point, that you should make sure the parents give permission before you allow a kid to pet donatello, especially given that you know he has this fear. If there isn't a parent there, then no petting the dog. Simple as that.

I do understand that you cannot control every situation.

You are okay, he didn't bite the girl..just snapped. Take it as a learning experience.
Being blunt is hard around Donatello, he takes every strong word as a tongue-lashing! If those kids were walking up to us, I could have been blunt and everything would have worked out, he would have realized that I wasn't being firm with him... But being close to him, and he's looking at me for support, if I'm blunt- He feels he's in trouble, and I didn't want him to think he was being punished for the kids swarming him.

Donatello does sense my feelings, and I know this, that's why I didn't know what to do! I didn't react to the girl on her knees- I told her to keep out his face not even a millisecond before she dropped to her knees... I didn't want to freak, so I didn't pick him up, (WHICH FREAKS HIM OUT) which would have only made the situation more hostile. I didn't want to raise my voice... I'm not sure everyone understands that... I was doing my best to keep Donatello calm so all the kids would just run off- I didn't want to react negatively in anyway, Donatello could have very well sensed that and find them a threat.

I do thank you for your support; I just really need everyone to understand that this was a situation I didn't have complete control over. The kids came from under the railing and surrounded us in just a matter of seconds... If I had seen, or heard those kids coming, I would have been better prepared.

All of this is really good advice
, and it's made me be even more cautious with him, (which is a shame...) and it'll make me even more watchful when we're in public... That's why I need help to help him realize that kids aren't going to hurt him...
 

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Thanks for the link- (I've got it bookmarked), and the support, however, I'm still confused... I need him, and want him to be trusted with children, how do I socialize him and help him understand that kids aren't are all that bad if I don't allow the kids to pet him?

You have to do it in smaller doses. Take this incident as Donnie telling you, "slooow down." You need and want him to be comfortable with kids, yes, but it has to be at HIS pace. When children ask me about petting Marge or "if she bites," if I think the situation is OK (either kids I know or kids with parents present) I will tell them to give her a treat and GO SLOW. I understand that you did this now, but SO many hands on such a scared little dog isn't what he's ready for.

To me, that would just teach him not to trust kids, and later on in life he'll still react the same way if they move too quickly. This is the first time he's ever reacted this way to children, he's been petted before by kids one-on-one, or two-on-one even and have been fine... I need help reassuring him that people moving quickly doesn't mean he's going to get hit.

How is he near playgrounds? Around joggers? All of these things qualify as "fast moving" so I'm not sure if he's unsure about them. What you can do is take him to the outskirts of a bustling place where kids will be playing and treat, treat, treat. Start at a distance that he is comfortable and move closer as you see him get better. Maybe a school yard would be good for this kind of training as the kids would be behind a fence.

Telling kids to buzz off isn't going to make him feel that kids aren't to be trusted. It's going to show him that YOU are protecting him and that he doesn't need to react - you've got it covered. Introduce him to kids in smaller doses, because he's shown you just now that a whole bunch of strange kids is WAY too much for him.


I've been doing well thus far, working with him... Just a few days ago, he was sitting in the cart and the employee asked if he could have a treat, and I said, "Yeah, if he'll take it from you..."- He wagged his tail and shyly took the treat!! The first time in all these months!! He doesn't have near as many regresses then he had just three months ago... We've upped the dog park visits and upped the trips to the petstores... This is our second to the last step.
It will be okay. It's small, steady steps. Remember that you want the final goal for him to be comfortable with people. Read up on counterconditioning and desensitization if you don't know about them already. Oh, the Shy-K9's Yahoo Group might be of a LOT of help to you as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
It will be okay. It's small, steady steps. Remember that you want the final goal for him to be comfortable with people. Read up on counterconditioning and desensitization if you don't know about them already. Oh, the Shy-K9's Yahoo Group might be of a LOT of help to you as well.
Thank MissMutt!!

He doesn't encounter many children, because like I've said if I see them coming and I don't trust them to listen to my warnings, I turn the other way... But when it comes to adults, I don't encourage people to pet Donatello, but I don't discourage them either- I warn them that he's shy and scared, and he was abused before, and I tell them to go slow... So my feat, is to get over his fear of adults before children... Adults were apparently the ones that abused him, and because of that he sees all humans, big and small, a threat... He doesn't care if children walk by him, he doesn't care if they walk up to him and stare at him... He'll sniff and might even wag his tail... But if they get close and swing their hands at him, is when he gets defensive. But he's like that with dogs too! Countless times, we've been ambushed at the park by puppies without leashes, and owners to careless and carefree to scoop them up, that I've had to pick up Donatello- (With him peeing all over me, because I picked him up.) just to get him away from the puppy... He doesn't mind other dogs (humans/kids) as long as they go slow, he can see their hands, but if puppies and kids/adults rush him and swing their hands at him he shies away... And the incident with that girl wouldn't have been so bad had the other 7 children waited for a turn to pet him!

He doesn't pay attention to *fast moving* objects or people... I've mentioned before that he seems he could care less when it comes to passing dogs; cars zipping by him doesn't bother him... People have passed us at the parks on bikes, roller-blades, and bicycles- He doesn't give them a second glance... It's just *fast moving* hands aiming for him... He's so intelligent, and he knows it, that his emotional restraints are complex...

But I can't thank you enough for making those suggestions, I'm certainly going to take notes!
 

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I just wanted to add that we did lots of focus training with our Aussie. Trying to put her attention to me vs. whatever was making her nervous. It was as simple as saying her name, clicking and treating as soon as she looked at me. This helped snap her out of a tense situation with just her name, broke her focus on what made her nervous and put it back on us. This has also helped with her over reaction to people at the door. We use her name paired with the quiet command. She'll actually bark a few times now and then come looking for me in whatever room I am in.

I would continue working on strengthening your bond with Donatello right now and not worry so much about conditioning him to strangers. Once he is able to put full trust in you, then I would start slowly adding challenges for him.

Our Aussie has earned her CGC certificate and was the youngest dog in the class to do it, she was 11 mos. old. Our aussie actually did nip someone prior to achieving this, it was my mother in law and truly I wanted to give her a steak! So there is hope for Donatello yet.
 

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Deege, I'm thinking he might need to get more comfortable with YOUR sudden hand movements before you can worry about anyone else's. For example, you say he has trouble with you picking him up. Does he also get scared if you were to raise your hands or move quickly? Since it's you that he trusts most, yet he still has problems with some things, it's reasonable to expect that he's going to have the same problems with total strangers.

If you were to pet him roughly, and tell him that he's a good boy, just kind of scratch him up a bit with your hands (in a nice way) would be he afraid of that? I'm thinking maybe you should desensitize him slowly to hands in general.

- First show him your still hand, then c/t. Even if he's not afraid of this you need to get him EXPECTING that seeing a hand equals a treat.
- Then move your hand slowly about a foot away from him, c/t
- Move your hand a little faster, c/t
- Move your hand down his side at the same speed as above, c/t

And keep going 'til your moving your hands quicker and quicker and more roughly (within reason) on him. Don't move on from a step until he is 115% comfortable with whatever you're doing - like, falling asleep, not caring, thinking you're a crazy woman for doing something so boring. LOL. Just an idea.

There is also something called "magic hand," I'm not EXACTLY sure how it works but I think you're supposed to keep your hand completely still, hold a treat in the other, so that the dog is actively choosing to be "pet" by the still hand in order to get the treat. Might be of some help if there are people you know who would be willing to try this with him.

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/shy-k9s/files/Training images/

Do you have a dog training club you could go to? Beginner classes are awesome for helping dogs, and those with CGC exercises could be particularly beneficial, because each time you'd practice the "stand for exam" part you can make it RAIN treats for Donnie. And hopefully, the association will be changed.
 

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Deege, you are doing great work with him. Keep it up. I know you didn't have control over this situation, its a good one to learn from. Looks like you are getting some great advice. :)
 
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