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On 12/5/20, I adopted a 4 year old beabull(bulldogxbeagle) female from a breeder. She was just spayed in October, and her last litter of puppies went home the same day I adopted her. She is used to living with a bunch of other dogs and cats. The breeder also stated she has only ever heard her bark like 5 times, and she is good with kids and people. They bred her so they have literally raised her and had her for her whole life.

The dog they described to me is not quite the dog I have currently. I am very familiar with the 3 month(or more) rule for letting new dogs settle in and get used to their environment, so I am hoping she will get better as time goes on, but I would like some advice. I started off very slowly introducing her into our household and have set a routine and schedule from day 1, she goes out at the same times everyday(unless of course she needs to go out sooner), gets fed at the same time everyday, etc. She has a crate but she freaks out in it for an hour before she will calm down enough to rest. Trying to work on that as well. She only has access to the living room and our kitchen currently.

My biggest problem is anytime she sees one of our neighbors outside, or on a walk, she starts shaking and growling at them. Not just barely shaking, she is full blown visibly shaking so bad you can see it in her legs. She is about 50/50 on barking at them. She also used to do this when my boyfriend would come home from work, but she has since stopped that. She will still do it every once and a while.

The neighbors have kids, and are always having people over , and it is stressful trying to time when they aren’t outside so I can let her out without having to worry about her growling at them, or causing her any more anxiety. I have stopped taking her on walks for the time being, because she just gets so scared and I can tell it stresses her out more than her enjoying it. I still try to stimulate her brain with training, and we have a decent sized backyard so we play fetch and run around everyday, but obviously that does not replace walks or hikes, which I hope to be able to take her on eventually.

I messaged the breeder I got her from, and she said that this behavior is not like her at all. She has never heard her growl at anyone or anything, and she is usually friendly with anyone. She also stated she loved to go on walks and car rides, but I have yet to see this.

How should I go about this? I have tried having her focus on me when I hear a neighbor outside, or when I see someone along the sidewalks, but she still gets scared and growls. We are working on the ‘look at me’ command right now. I have tried taking her out in short sessions and giving her treats when she is calm when she sees a person, but I feel like we are making very little to no progress. I don’t want to scare her anymore than she already is, but I also don’t want to reward her being scared and growling with treats and attention, when I am trying to get her to calm down and let her know it is okay.

Any advice is greatly appreciated! I know I have only had her a little over a month, but I want to help her as much as possible.

PS: In the house she is okay, she is perfectly fine with my cats. She is scared of my boyfriend if he is standing up?, but as soon as he sits down she will sit by him and ask to be petted. She also doesn’t bark or growl when she hears the neighbors outside or leave, it’s only when she can actually see them that this seems to be a problem.

Thank you so much!
 

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If you haven't already, I'd start with a vet visit that includes bloodwork and a full thyroid workup. If she has an underlying medical issue that's popped up or exacerbated due to the stress of moving homes, you need to address that first.

If she's clear of any underlying medical issues that might be impacting her behavior, I'd seriously consider bringing a behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist on board to evaluate her ASAP. This doesn't sound like normal adjustment stuff for your average, relatively stable and confident dog. This sounds like pretty significant anxiety.

Were you able to visit her at the breeder's and see her in their home, how she behaved there and how she interacted with the humans, in person? If so, what were your observations or first impressions of her in her old home?
 

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Try to get her more exercise in areas with less people, many times lack of exercise can cause stress, which then causes aggression. You may also want to consider calming chews like "ThunderWunder" or "Vetriscience". Also, it may feel like you are getting very little progress, but much of the progress is just in her mind right now. It could take months for it to show, but your training most likely is having SOME result. I hope this isn't too late, and good luck :)
 
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