Q&A: How can I stop house aggressive dog who is social in public?

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Question by tp: How can I stop house aggressive dog who is in ?
My dog is fearful when people visit the house. Often growling when first meet new guests, then ok, then growling and snipping at guests. The dog is fine meeting new people in public.

Best answer:

Answer by Rosalie
Crate this dog in a back room of the house, and close the door.
There is no training that is going to make this dog safe for your guests to be near, and you are legally obligated to ensure the safety of any guest in your home.
The dog is clearly fearful, and fearful dogs are the most dangerous. Don’t even try training – there’s too much risk, and the easiest, most comfortable thing for your dog is to just be kept safe in privacy.

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    • Clasina Gm Oneill "Maria"
    • December 15, 2012
    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Fits and it works., March 16, 2011

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    Bought the size 5 for my 70 lbs shepherd/lab mix with nose circumference of 10 inches. Fit perfectly. Keeps him from getting fresh with unknown visitors and makes it very easy to clip his nails. As if he knows his “weapon” has been deactivated.

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    • TheRealTruth "RealCritic"
    • December 15, 2012
    13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Size matters…., July 20, 2010
    TheRealTruth “RealCritic” (OrangeCounty, CA) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    I’m not sure what to rate this… I never got to use it… I was seeking a good priced (cheaper than the stores) non-mesh muzzle and this one was great and even w/ shipping it was still a dollar or so less than the local pet stores. The pet stores by my house offer the mesh muzzle in S,M,L sizes… My dogs fit the medium muzzles (one 50 and one 80 pounder) but I felt the mesh might snag on their nails if they started pawing to get it off. I could not find how to figure out what size to get for my dog as these muzzles are in numbers. I searched the internet and felt the size 2 would be good for my 50 pounder. When I received the muzzle, it was waaay too small. I called the vendor and she was very nice but I could not return the muzzle as I would have had to pay for shipping it back to her and then shipping the new one to me. With all the shipping costs, it wasn’t worth the return/exchange… I ended up keeping the muzzle and will donate it to someone or some place who could really use it. My advice is to call a vendor to get educated on measuring your dog’s nose/mouth/head so the vendor can help you select the best fit before ordering.

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    • B. Boman
    • December 15, 2012
    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great product for the price, June 15, 2010
    B. Boman (Utah) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    For the price, I am very satisfied with this product. This product fits my boxer very well, which is hard to find for their short snouts. His snout was exactly 10 1/2″ as is recommended for this product. He has not been able to get it off, although he has not tried very hard to get it off yet. If you get this for your dog, I would recommend that you view and follow the training tips on the video on youtube called “conditioning your dog to wear a muzzle.” This method works well for teaching dogs to wear any type of muzzle.

    I bought this muzzle because my dog has a nervous aggression around people and other dogs. I have not tested it out with other dogs yet, but it has worked well at preventing him from nipping at people. To my suprise, it has actually calmed him down around new people. We have been doing training with him to expose him to more people, but he has still been very nervous and has occassionally nipped at our helpers. After using the muzzle to train him we were still able to let our guests give him small treats for his training, and without the fear that he would bite them. He has not even attempted to bite at our guests since we got the muzzle. Another advantage is that he is not able to bark when they come over when he is wearing this.

    The only thing I was intially worried about with the muzzle was the seams on the inside of the muzzle. I was afraid that it would rub on my dogs snout and rub it raw. Thus far it has not, but the longest that we have left the muzzle on him is about twenty minutes. I would not recommend leaving this product on long term as it does not allow the dog to open his mouth wide enough to pant very well. But he is able to drink and eat small treats with it on.

    Overall, I would recommend this product to someone if they are using it to restrain their dog from biting or barking for short amounts of time. For a dog that needs to wear it for longer amounts of time or will need to pant to keep cool, I would recommend looking into getting a basket muzzle that will allow the dog to pant more freely.

    Update: I’ve had this product for a while now (2-3 years?). It is holding up great! There are no tears or problems with it at all. I have noticed, especially when it is warm outside, it tends to get quite itchy on my dog. He will rub his face on the ground to try to itch under the muzzle and it does cause some redness around his snout from rubbing his face on the ground. Overall, I am still very happy with this purchase and it has brought a lot of peace of mind to us with our dog who still occassionally needs to wear his muzzle. Also, here is a link to a sizing chart for the different breeds/muzzle sizes. Make sure you measure correctly or this product may not fit your dog: […]

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    • Roger J
    • December 15, 2012

    He (she?) needs socialization. Confining him to a back room will keep your guests safe, and it’s certainly better than your dog and you (and your guests) getting into a bite situation, but I’d rather see you socialize your dog better to be less fearful.

    Rather than have guests come into your dog’s home. Take your dog out to the street or down the block to meet guests. Walk with them and your dog on a leash for a block or so. Make sure the dog is comfortable with them, and then have the guests enter the house ahead of the dog; have then sit down and instruct them not to look the dog in the eye or speak to it. Allow the dog to sniff at them, and have them drop very tasty treats on the floor around them (being careful not to make body movements the dog might interpret as aggression).

    Because there is a danger of biting, I’d recommend a lightweight plastic basket muzzle available from jbpet.com. There is an insert in the end of the muzzle that you will want to remove, and you might want to remove a center “bar” from the end of the muzzle so the dog can pick up and eat the treats even with the muzzle on. This allows the dog to learn that people in the house are okay and to associate them with good things (like chunks of cooked chicken, cheese, hot dog, etc.) while it protects all but the stupidest guest from being bitten. Because you’ve removed one bar from the end of the muzzle, and stupid person could stick a finger in there and get bitten, so I’d avoid having stupid people over as guests while you do this.

    It could take months, or maybe only weeks. Use friends and neighbors that you can trust to stay calm and follow your directions. Try to setup a “visit” at least every few days. More visits are better, but not more than one a day until he becomes more comfortable. Too many visits might overwhelm him and make things worse.

    Many dogs HATE muzzles at first, so to get your dog to love his muzzles (just like he loves his leash) you need him to associate the muzzle with good things. Usually this is done by putting it on as soon as you go about for a walk. That way he thinks of his muzzle just like his leash. At first leave it on only a few minutes of the walk, but increase the length of time until your dog no longer fights it, and in most cases, will actually willingly put his nose in it to prepare for a walk.

    There are several steps to this, and I kind of gave them to you backward, so in order:

    Buy the muzzle and start walking your dog with it so he associates it with fun stuff
    Meet guests off of your property and walk with them (dog muzzled) for a block or so back to the house
    Let the guest go in first and sit down calmly, good treats in hand, not looking at the dog
    With dog muzzled, allow him to sniff guest while guest remains still, not looking at dog, but dropping treats on floor (dog should sniff first, then get treats)
    Only keep person in house a short time– maybe 10 minutes in the beginning. As your dog grows accustomed to guests, they may stay longer
    Eventually… and it might be quite a while, your dog will learn to enjoy guests, and you can decrease the meet & walk period outside, eventually allowing guests to come in while the dog is in the house. This will take time though, and your dog must be comfortable and perfectly fine with the other steps first.

    As a precaution, because you can never know 100% how a dog will behave (or how a person will either, for that matter), I would keep the dog muzzled at all times while guests are over. Even once he’s comfortable and seems fine with everyone, its possible that certain people, sudden movements, odors, the mood of the dog (or person), tension, etc. could cause the dog to revert to his old aggressive/fearful behavior and bite.

    I have had two very aggressive dogs, 2 fear-biters, and one extremely dangerous dog so far in my life (rescues). The dangerous one had to be muzzled around people and other dogs most of the time, but she lived a long, happy, social, and productive life. Without the muzzle, she couldn’t have accompanied me everywhere, made friends, played, hiked, or walked around in pet shops and pet expos. Don’t fear the muzzle. The right kind of muzzle (lightweight, plastic, basket type that the dog can pant, drink, and even eat through) isn’t cruel. It gives a sketchy or dangerous dog the freedom to be a dog– which beats the hell out of being kept in solitary confinement.

    Good luck to you and your dog.

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