Benny's Behavior

I posted a few months ago about Benny biting the neighbor… He now growls and snaps at strangers who come in the house (but only when they try to pet him), and even my mom, who he used to love. But here is the strange thing, he runs up to them with his ears back and his tail wagging, but when they go to pet him, he snaps at them... I don't know what to do (other than tell people not to pet him).

Today, he ran up to my sister when she walked in the door (he's been growling at her and my nephew for about 4 months now) and jumped on her with his ears back and tail wagging, and tried to bite her when she went to pet him.

We've had his thyroid tested, and it came back fine. Hired a trainer, who he bit pretty good (when he tried to force him on the ground)... I didn't like the trainer's methods, so we never allowed him to come back. He used to be sweet and gentle with everyone, now he snaps at people.

A dog park opened up recently, and he runs up to people there and lets them pet him, it's only when people come in the house and when we take him for walks around the neighborhood.

Maybe you can try to find a new trainer with better methods..?

@Janneke:

Maybe you can try to find a new trainer with better methods..?

We already shelled out $75 for one session, we can't afford to experiment with trainers.

@Benny:

We already shelled out $75 for one session, we can't afford to experiment with trainers.

But you can try to find out more about someones methods before you invite them home. I wouldn't want to experiment either, especially not on a dog that already shows behavioral issues.

I do think it's worth the money to make sure your dog feels better and people are save. Otherwise I would make sure the dog isn't in the same room as the visitors. Especially not when there are kids. With people who know how to act, you can leave the dog in the same room, maybe they can give him a treat when he comes to them and further ignore him?

The vet recomended this trainer and he was suppossed to be a "non-aggressive trainer", which turned out to be untrue. I do tell people to ignore him, my sister still trys to pet him after he's snapped at her a number of times… I'll try the treat idea.

What is really strange to me is how he asks for attention, and then snaps at a hand coming to pet him...

@Benny:

The vet recomended this trainer and he was suppossed to be a "non-aggressive trainer", which turned out to be untrue. I do tell people to ignore him, my sister still trys to pet him after he's snapped at her a number of times… I'll try the treat idea.

What is really strange to me is how he asks for attention, and then snaps at a hand coming to pet him...

When did this start? Do you recall anything that happened just before it started?

I do remember when my friend came over and was petting him and squeezed the skin on his neck… I yelled at my friend when I heard Benny yalp. But Benny didn't try to bite him, it started within a month of that happening.

Ok, so did you mention this behavior to the breeder you got your boy from?
Also, is Benny intact?
If you want a quick suggetion from me…its this.
Tell folks not to look or touch your b when then come in. Have treat bowl they can p/u a few treats and if the dog come over to them without issues, give them a treat..
but eye contact should be avoided until the dog is settled, and there is no stress.
Good luck.

I think that also you should have him on lead in the house when someone is at the door, teach him to sit while they come in. Have them totally ignore him until you release him from the sit and then do not let him jump on them… and I agree about eye contact for sure... Once they are in and he settles and if he approaches them, have them give him a treat, but no petting.... When he snaps he is telling them (and you) he is uncomfortable in that situation (for whatever reason)....

Dr Sophia Yin, a veterinary behaviorist, has a website with some videos that may be helpful for you to view. I would recommend view Bandit Bites and Why Dogs Bite.

http://www.askdryin.com/dog_movies.php

I just want to throw out a word of caution about having guests treat the dog. I would prefer that the owner toss a treat to the dog when he calmly approaches a visitor. You don't want a fearful or aggressive dog to feel that he must approach something he is afraid of to get the treat…he will often want the treat so badly, he will approach the thing he fears, then get conflicted and bite after he gets the treat.

I learned that the hard way with one of my clients...dog was happily, but a little nervously taking treats from me. Took the tenth treat, then bit my hand. Better to have the owner toss or hand treats to the dog when he appears relaxed around the stranger. At least as the first step.

Also, I would recommend "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons…and just about anything by Patricia McConnell. You can find these books at dogwise dot com You CAN learn to change Benny's behavior yourself, but it would really help to have a behaviorist help you. You wouldn't really have to risk a lot if you learn exactly what techniques you prefer to use, and then interview people about their preferences. After you do some research, it should be pretty easy to tell who is thinking the same way you are, and whether or not they can help.

Did you try Northcoast Dogs? their website is that name then dot com

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