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Jumping, biting, clawing strangers
  • Hi all. My Shiba is just over a year old and has some quirks around strangers that I’m hoping you might have some suggestions for. First off, he is a very loving, loyal and calm dog with his family – no problems there, but he tends to get very spastic around strangers. He was very well socialized as a pup (and still is) to all of my friends/family and strangers alike, but I can only use the excuse that “he’s still a puppy” for so long. Whenever he meets a person or another dog he goes into frenzy mode – jumping, mouthing, etc. I have tried turning and walking away from the person, placing him in a sit, redirecting his mouthing onto a toy or stick, but he still has a very hard time gaining control of himself. I always mention to people that are meeting him for the first time, to not use a high pitched voice and to ignore him until he calms down. I live in an apartment complex with lots of children around, and as you can imagine they all want to pet the cute little “fox” puppy, but most of the time I have to warn parents that he is very mouthy. It’s a shame he has to miss out on socialization opportunities because of this erratic behavior. There are a lot of people coming and going outside of the apartment building and I find that more often than not he barks at strangers (minding their own business) as they are walking by. He has a pretty deep bark, and many people misinterpret this as aggression, even though he is just so excited to see new people. We have the same time of spastic response when company comes to visit as well. He listens like a perfect angel when it’s just us at home (I’ve never had a smarter, more obedient pup), but reverts to his maniacal behavior when a visitor comes over.

    Have any of you had similar experiences with this spastic behavior? Any tips or tricks to desensitize him to strangers?
  • Yes! Zume does this all the time. She's about a year old herself and I have been secretly hoping it's still a puppy thing. But, you're right, she can't be a puppy forever and that excuse only goes so far. Many times when I'm walking her in the afternoon, there are a group of children in my neighborhood that just adore her and will shout out, "Look! Zume's coming!" and then make a B line for us. Of course, this makes Zume rather hyper.

    What I have found that seems to work is to make her sit first before she's allowed to be petted by children. That has helped and gives her some good practice, but she'll still get excited and want to run around with them and play, or jump up on their face to lick them. The other thing I've tried was to give the children treats to give to Zume and tell them to give her the command to sit and reward her when she does, and that usually does the trick. It's not perfect as she'll still jump sometimes, but it's definitely good practice.
    Post edited by Hollifina at 2011-10-14 11:21:28
  • Stef777Stef777
    Posts: 246
    Kendaux does this on occation too!!( he will be 2 in December) I would like advice too of what could help :)
  • inubakainubaka
    Posts: 174
    we;re still trying to train four year old Tsuki to be calmer when guests visit. It became apparent that we needed to get serious when my mother in law (who is on blood thinners) got a bad knick from tsuki's craziness.

    So our trainer simply suggested finding Tsuki's favorite-most-amazing treat (which is liverwurst) and waiting until Tsuki sits on her own to give it to her. She has to SIT to get it, on her own. We started about three weeks ago and she's significantly calmer about people coming through the door.
    It's REALLY important to arm guests with liverwurst as they come in, as soon as she smells it she sits.

    And making sure they have adequate exercise before you are expecting them to be calm is helpful!
    volunteers4paws.wordpress.com
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3450
    Bootz & Jackie are still puppies...around 4 months. I notice the same with them. When my boyfriend or I come home they use to jump bite all the good stuff. However we did the whole ignoring thing, and they stopped jumping/biting. Now when they greet us, Bootz does the whole "put her mouth over your arm/hand and licks with her tongue" thing, no biting, no jumping.

    BUT. when it comes to family members or friends, Bootz gets really friendly, (sometimes I wonder if I over socialized her :( ). She jumps, scratches, bites, everything! During my observation, my friends or family members are always calm. They don't do any cute voices....don't get overexcited...yet Bootz always reacts this way. Even when the day progresses and Bootz calms down, when a stranger pets her, she gets excited again and try to jump at the face.

    We've tried getting her exercise, tiring her out before guests come over, but she always seem to have energy when she gets excited to see the guests.

    Any advice would help!
  • britkotsubritkotsu
    Posts: 210
    KibaInu03, I am having the exact same issue with Kishi, who is 11months. Any advice would be much appriciated as well. I guess I am super glad that being overly friendly is our only issue as apposed to super shy :)
  • I wanted to bump this conversation and possibly hear if any of its previous commenters had luck. My 10 month old, Anderson, gets jumpy/mouthy around some strangers. In fact, a drunk guy just came up to him tonight and put his hands on the dog's face. Needless to say, mouthiness ensued and I tugged him out of the situation before anything too rough happened. I can't control the behavior of others, so I'm trying to find some good strategies for Anderson so his behavior is resistant (or as much as it can be) to these overly friendly strangers. Anything would be much appreciated!
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 948
    Some things hat have helped with Ozzy's eagerness to greet strangers:

    Teaching and being consistent with "off." Aka no jumping, no mouths on strangers. Many strangers will gladly step in to help teach and will tell him off and wait to pet him until he is sitting.

    Always having a toy with me. He likes to carry something in his mouth while greeting. Otherwise he wants to lick people everywhere haha. Having a toy helps keep him calm and sweet instead of over stimulated and hyper.

    Having many ambiguous experiences with people and other dogs. Being in very crowded places has actually helped a lot. I just stay business as usual, at casual, and go on my way. I don't look at a person or dog passing or initiate with any word or head nod haha. I just keep Ozzy at my side and move along. He's great about following my lead and now let's the stranger initiate before he approaches or greets them. He'll gladly just walk by or around anyone without sniffing or jumping up on them now. But when someone asks to pet him, he will always greet them with a squinty face and airplane ears lol.

    He loooooves strangers. He doesn't even care about me in their presence. :( lol, I'm way too familiar and typical. I have to make sure that others are following his rules though. He used to want to test the boundaries to see if they would make him follow the rules (like "off"), and wouldn't listen to me. We would be forced to just end the interaction or have him be held until he relaxed. But if they're pitching in, telling him off, only petting him when he is calm, then he listens to them immediately haha. Some people will just tell me "it's okay" or that they like him to jump on them (this one is frustrating lolol), but once I explain that he's not allowed to jump because he won't understand that it's okay to jump on some people and not others, and he needs to learn not to jump so that he doesn't hurt someone young or elderly, they're glad to help out and provide a training opportunity.

    If you have a local Home Depot / lowes, TJ Maxx, or some kind of place like that that allows pets, that would be an ideal place to just walk around and get used to passing by many people without having to interact with them. Usually there aren't other dogs there, so it's less distracting and doesn't have a ton of overwhelming doggy smells like a pet store. It also seems like there are usually plenty of people there walking around. Not all of them allow pets, so call and ask first.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8292
    leahklay said:

    In fact, a drunk guy just came up to him tonight and put his hands on the dog's face. Needless to say, mouthiness ensued and I tugged him out of the situation before anything too rough happened. I can't control the behavior of others, so I'm trying to find some good strategies for Anderson so his behavior is resistant (or as much as it can be) to these overly friendly strangers.



    There is great advice already on the forum about teaching a dog to be calm around people and curbing mouthiness. But I want to address the two points you made that I bolded above. You let some random drunk person put their hands in your dog's face. You MUST be an advocate for your dog. You absolutely CAN control the behaviour of others when it comes to your dog. This is an absolute must, not only for training the dog proper manners, but in order to ensure the dog's safety at all times.

    You should say no to random strangers wanting to put their hands on your dog. Especially if their sobriety is in question. And if you want to say yes in order to work on your pup's socialization skills, YOU need to be in control of the interaction.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • In no way was this stranger invited to touch my dog. As I remarked in my post, I got my dog out of the situation. The man came from behind me.
  • I have a similar issue with Hiro being a little mouthy, especially with kids. Same thing as all of you, he just loves everybody and wants to play.

    Having a very solid "sit" goes a long way. Basically, if he wants anything, (food, attention, going outside) sitting down is always the first step. With kids, I get down to their level, which gives me more control of Hiro as well. I find that scratching him in his favorite spot (under harness or collar) or telling people to scratch him there will keep him from getting over-excited because he almost goes into a trance, he loves it so much. Plus, it helps him see that interactions with strangers are relaxing. After they do that, he will go back to them for more pets rather than wanting to jump and play. I second what Lilikoi said, lots of positive and ambiguous interactions where you are in control are a good idea. When something happens out of your control, Anderson won't be as stimulated by it. I walk Hiro in a busy neighborhood, he used to try to run at every person and dog, but after a month he only does that about 50% of the time, because he's gotten used to passing people without saying hi on a daily basis.

    He still wants to play mouth with my cat and very small children though. I read somewhere about having a "gentle" toy that he is only allowed to sniff and lick. Then apply that to other things. I'm curious if anyone has used this technique or something similar.

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