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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone!

I just adopted a senior dog from a no-kill shelter. She's 9 and was at the shelter for 5 years. She had a reputation as being super good with people and kids. A hurricane came through the area and the shelter manager took her home for a few weeks and she's great with all adults and kids. She's never shown aggressiveness towards humans. When I visited for the first time, I was a bit apprehensive but she just rubbed up against me and let me walk her without a second thought.

I've gotten her home and it's been about 5 days (I know, still very soon). She does seem to have gotten super protective of me. I take her for a lot of walks daily to get her accustomed to the neighborhood. When we see other people though, at first she would just lunge, but now she growls and barks (big improvement).

She seems to have gotten better but I wanted to see if anyone else has experienced something similar? I've been told by some that she's very protective because she wants to show her worth/likes the home and that she'll grow out of it. I just wanted to make sure that would be the case. As I mentioned, first time I've adopted a dog, most of my dogs have been mine since puppies and I've socialized them early and never had the issue.

I just wanted to check if it's something that she'll grow out of with a little work and patience or if I should spring to get her some additional training? She's housebroken and leash broken. She's perfect in every way and extremely loving. I'm a social person and by all accounts she's very social as well. I want use to be able to have company and go on long walks without scaring the beejezus out of people.

Also, she does listen, a quick tug on her halter and a "no" and she'll stop. She's just very alert on these walks and I want her to enjoy them and be mellow.

Thanks guys!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also...one thing to note. She's very alert on these walks. Tail straight out from her body in a 90 degree angle, ears up, etc. I want her to be more relaxed. The minute was get back to the yard and she comes inside her tail droops down and she starts smiling. I've tried treating her more like I do at home on the walks. Stopping occasionally and petting her.
 

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Unless she needs to be walked because you don't have a yard, I'd quit with the walks until she is more accustomed to being with you.

It's not so much that she is protective of you as it is she is unsure of things, and the lunging, growling, and barking are her way of saying "You're scaring me! Stay away or you will regret it!". And guess what? It WORKS! People see her "acting aggressively" and back off. The fact that she is hyper alert, with her tail and ears up during a walk, and relaxes as soon as you get back home is another sign that she is unsure about things.

If you can find a good, positive-based trainer in your area that specializes (or at least has experience) in helping reactive dogs, that would be your best option.

If you can't find and/or afford an in-person trainer, then the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, an online training school, is running their Dealing with the Bogeyman class in the December session. https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.com/index.php/courses/84

Oh, one other thing.... don't correct her for growling. Growling is a form of communication, and an important one at that. It is a warning of "I am uncomfortable with what you are doing. Please stop". If she is growling at someone, then they are too close to her. Move her away from them, and see if you can't distract her with a treat or something.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Unless she needs to be walked because you don't have a yard, I'd quit with the walks until she is more accustomed to being with you.....
Thank you! That is very helpful! I'll give her some time or only walk her when I get up super early and it's just us. As I mentioned, by all accounts she is a super personable gal so I figured it was the new surroundings. The idea of taking her on walks to get her used to it or keep her away from walks until she gets more sure is where I had an internal debate with myself. I'll give her some time and let her get more relaxed.

Also, will definitely not correct her for growling. I want her to be free to communicate if she's uncomfortable. She didn't bark at all for the first few days and has finally started doing that.

Thanks again!
 

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Yeah, even friendly dogs who normally like people one-on-one can be a bit uncomfortable with seeing lots of them them at a distance.
 
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