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Discussion Starter #1
PJ is a 3 year old jug. I adopted him about 4 weeks ago. Anyone that comes into our house he barks at and tries to attack. Today we had a service guy come in to check our AC. I had to keep him in the bedroom with me while the man was here. His hair stuck straight up on his spine and he was shaking. He started barking ridiculously. He always barks at men. I'm thinking he was abused by a man.

My fiancee and I want to have people over in the near future. We can have a few people over if we introduce them to PJ outside of the house. We would love to have small gathering at our house in the future. How can I train him to be able to handle this? Other than this, he is a great dog!
 

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Welcome and thanks for adopting!

First off, I'd be prepared to crate or otherwise separate PJ during parties. That's a lot of stimulation for a dog, and a lot of opportunity to accidental kicking of the dog, him eating stuff he shouldn't, stupid people or children provoking him, etc. My old and current dogs love people, but if I can't directly supervise, they get put away during parties. (Not that I have a lot of parties.)

What you're looking for here is called desensitization and counter conditioning. Basically, you want to replace your dog's fear of men with positive feelings. Here's a good video explaining how:


If you can't watch the video, basically, you figure out how far you have to be from a man for PJ not to react, but still notice the man. Start giving him really great treats, whatever he likes best, cheese, hot dogs, chicken, whatever. Slowly (over the course of days and weeks) move closer, treating constantly. If he reacts, you moved too fast, move back and try again. Eventually, you want to have men throw him treats, closer and closer to them. Then offer him treats while seated on the floor, being quiet and nonthreatening. Your goal is that you can have a man in the house and PJ isn't losing his mind.

Keep in mind, though, he may never love every man he meets. Not barking hysterically might be all you can achieve and you need to be careful not to push it too far. Don't allow a man to pick him up, for example, or if PJ does react poorly, end the interaction and try again later, don't keep trying.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Amaryllis, thank you for the advice! That video was VERY informative! My love bug was found walking the streets of the rough part of the city, so who knows what he's been through! I would never "buy" a dog. I wish more people would adopt!
 

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One tweak to add, you may ask the men used in training to avoid looking directly at the dog, while he learning that men are nonthreatening.
 
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