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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-05-2008, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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Hi everyone,

Okay, I'm guilty...I've been lurking! Thought it was about time I introduced myself. My name is Cheryl and our little dustmop's name is Benji. He's about 15 months old now. We've had some challenges with him but his latest behavior today just devasted me. Benji's never been outgoing with people and he barks at men that come into the house. Given time and space he relaxes and seems to get along with the guys fine.

Today Benji got away from me just as we were coming back inside. He ran around the yard then went into the neighbor's yard where three teenaged boys were playing soccer. He barked at them, ran around them and even ran at them, I think trying to bite their ankles. I tried every trick I know to get him to come to me but nothing worked. I finally just had to block him until he tired out and lay down at which point I picked him up and apologized profusely to the boys.

So now I'm thinking I have an aggressive dog and am so disappointed and sad. I'll be looking for a trainer/behaviorist on Monday but was hoping someone out there might have had a similiar experience and could offer some hope. I could certainly use some at this point.

Thanks for "listening"!
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-05-2008, 10:53 PM
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Welcome Cheryl and Benji!

I'm sure someone will post some advice for you. I know I've read a thread on here somewhere where they taught their hav a signal word (something other then "come") like "chicken" "treat" etc.They use it in an emergency. I wish I remembered the name of the thread---but I do not.

Vincent-Quincy's playmate

"Behind every unstable dog is a lesson for the owner"-Cesar Millan
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-05-2008, 11:03 PM
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Welcome Cheryl & Benji! Hope you find all the answers you need here especially with this current situation!
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 10:14 AM
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Welcome Cheryl and Benji. I'm not sure you've got an aggressive dog - sounds like he wanted to play and those ankles and the ball looked like too much fun. One way to solve the problem is to NEVER let them out without a leash. I've heard that some people put an exercise pen outside their front door just to prevent an accidental dash when the door is opened.

Can you play with Benji in a fenced area and work with him when it comes to having a lot of fun with a ball? Teaching him to drop it so you'll throw it again. The advice about a special word for recall in an emergency is great. You can teach using a long line - a long leash or rope of at least 12-feet tied to Benji and you call "come" and gently pull on the leash or rope if he doesn't come running to you right away. Also, remember not to discipline when they do come to you, no matter how long it took them. Hard to do when they've scared the you know what out of you, but you always want them to associate something positive when they do come to you.

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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 11:13 AM
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Welcome to the forum!


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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 11:16 AM
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Welcome to the forum! Sounds like he wanted to play soccer.
You might ask the neighbor to come play with him a few times to get him use to them.

Santa, Sissygirl
& Marie
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the welcome everyone! I'm feeling better this morning and that maybe things aren't as bad as I imagine.

Lisa, thanks for the tips. When I play with Benji he has to sit for me before I'll throw a toy and "leave it" before it gets thrown again. That's worked pretty well inside with no unfamiliar distractions. When we go for walks, he's pretty good at ignoring people and dogs if I tell him to. I guess the boys and freedom were just too much for him! I like the ideas on training him with the long line. We'll be working on that for sure. Oh, and we're also going to get a fence asap!

Marie, thanks for the great idea of asking the neighbor over to play, if he's willing. We just recently moved here and don't really know them yet. They probably think we're crazy right now and brought Cujo into the neighborhood!

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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 11:41 AM
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Welcome Cheryl and Benji. My name is Cheryl also. Did anyone tell you we like to see pictures?

According to your description it sounds like Benji was wanting to play with the boys and the more you chased the more fun it became for him.

I think you have been given a couple good peices of advice here. I have a dog who used to bark at strange men also. We just let those strange men feed treats for a time or two and that barking ended.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 12:01 PM
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Hi Cheryl and Benji, to the forum. I LOVE the name, can't you guess why My Benji is 16 months and Lizzie is 9 months.

I think Benji just wanted to play. My Lizzie when gets excited and wants to play, she will nipp at pants and ankles but she doesn't bite.

I used to carry a small treat-box with me when I took them for walks when they were little. When I rattled it and they would run to me to get a treat. In the beginning and even now, "come" command may not work if there is too much distraction. I don't trust them off leash yet and they are always on a leash outside the home. Once Benji (at 13 weeks) wrestled out of his leash and ran towards the meadows near our house. I went down on my kneees and rattled the treat box. He came running back to me.

Our yard is fenced but I have set up a large area for them to play blocking off other areas with ex-pens. I also have babygates installed in the house that block their access to the front and garage.

Good luck and I would love to see pictures of your Benji.

Best, Poornima
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 12:17 PM
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Welcome to the forum, Cheryl.

It probably wouldn't hurt to get a trainer and/or behaviorist involved anyway. No point in having to re-learn things if you can't find something to work the first time. A behaviorist will probably see the trigger & solution right away.
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