"Split Personalities"?

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bully_mama
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"Split Personalities"?

Postby bully_mama » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:20 pm

No, I don't really think my dog has split personalities, just the best way I could think to describe it..

Anyway, Loki seems to be two different dogs inside and outside. Inside he's really reserved and quiet. If someone new meets him inside, he simply walks away and sits in the door way of my room until he's sure about meeting said person. Outside, he barks and growls and either runs away from them or bounces (not really a lunge) at them. He's never bitten or snapped or nipped at anyone, but a few people have been scared of him due to the outside behavior (I don't blame them, he's a scary looking dog like that) but I'm worried the wrong person is going to mistake his "fear" (?) for aggression. But he does eventually warm up to the new person after a few meetings outside.

I've tried a few different things with him. I've tried handing the person a treat to offer him, but he won't take food from strangers (probably a good thing), tried having him get in the car (he loves car rides) and having them intrduce themselves to him but he tries to hide. I've tried leashing him and making him sit to meet them but he just drags me along. I've all but given up on trying to let him meet new people outside unless they're on his own terms.. but this brings me to another issue..

If he sees someone walking along the street he runs thru the yard to bark and growl at them unless I get to him first, make him sit and stand in front of him or hold on to his collar. I feel like I'm always on guard with him outside. Is there any training method to make him simply ignore new people? I'm also kind of worried Mya will pick up on the behavior and act the same way. Which would be a total cluster fk when she's full grown.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated =)

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Leslie H
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Re: "Split Personalities"?

Postby Leslie H » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:57 pm

Actually, it sounds like all of it is fear related behavior. When he feels a little more confident inside, he just avoids the situation. It sounds like he feels even less confident outside, so he puts on a threat display, to try to scare away the things that scare him.
Fearful dogs are more likely to bite, because they feel like they can't get away from a threat.

http://clickerleash.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/look-at-that-a-counterintuitive-approach-to-dealing-with-reactive-dogs/

bully_mama
Newborn Bully
Posts: 40
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Location: Maryland

Re: "Split Personalities"?

Postby bully_mama » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:46 pm

Thank you Leslie. We've began slowly working on this. Hopefully with time it helps and he shows improvement. But I don't entirely understand why he reacts this way outside or even fearful to begin with. Any ideas why?

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Leslie H
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Re: "Split Personalities"?

Postby Leslie H » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:13 pm

Timid behavior is often genetic, is very heritable, according to Patricia McConnell.
http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/fear-of-dogs-and-new-people

It can be made worse by lack of or poor interactions during the critical period for socialization 8-16 weeks, and also, dogs go through "fear stages", and incidents that happen during them have more of an effect.
http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/developmentalstages.html

bully_mama
Newborn Bully
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:27 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: "Split Personalities"?

Postby bully_mama » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:39 pm

Thanks for the links and info.

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Mooresmajestic
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Re: "Split Personalities"?

Postby Mooresmajestic » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:36 pm

I was going to say pretty much the same thing as Leslie.

Your best bet in "fixing" the fear issues is to find a good behaviorist/trainer that truly understands fear and will work with you to change your dog's world view. A good trainer will never use corrections/intimidation/aversives with a fearful dog, they should use techniques that help the dog associate the scary things with positive things.

What general area are you in? Someone here may be able to direct you to a good behaviorist in your area.

bully_mama
Newborn Bully
Posts: 40
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:27 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: "Split Personalities"?

Postby bully_mama » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:45 pm

I'm in the Frederick County MD area. And I actually have an update.

It's been about a month since we started working on his issues, and its becoming more obvious that his fear is based towards men. We've been more social around the neighborhood. Women and especially children can come up to him with very little issue as long as he sees them coming. But with men, he tries to hide and if he can't, he barks his infamous battle bark. I'm starting to believe something may have happened the short time he lived with my ex in FL despite his reassurance that he treated him well.

So my next step would be a behaviorist or trainer. So if anyone knows of a good one familiar with fear issues in the area, i'd be grateful.

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Amie
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Re: "Split Personalities"?

Postby Amie » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:30 pm

If you'll drive to Baltimore, you can call me - I just can't come to you. www.mdspca.org

http://petprofessionalguild.com/DogTrai ... ers?&tab=1
Jeni Grant is terrific and has a lot of experience with fearful dogs.

bully_mama
Newborn Bully
Posts: 40
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:27 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: "Split Personalities"?

Postby bully_mama » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:36 pm

Thanks Amie. The drive to Baltimore isn't out of the question, but i'd like to look into both options equally. See which is best for Loki. I kind of feel as if I let him down by leaving him with someone who could have possibly did something to harm him and may have scarred him for life. Unfortunately I didn't catch on to the behavioral issue sooner and may have done my own damage by allowing it and trying to force him to be accepting to strangers. But hopefully with the correct approach and training it'll turning out ok.


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