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I have a dilemma...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I've always been good with dogs, I can read them well therefor training my own dogs has come naturally to me. I have a very close relationship with my dogs, and rarely have I ever met a situation I didn't know how to control, until recently.

I have a 3 year old Lab/German Shepard mix named Pooch, who is a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent animal, and my baby.

We've been spending a lot of time with our neighbors this summer and have become very good friends. Pooch is great with the woman and her two children (ages 7 and 1 1/2) but the man (we'll call him Bryan) is a different story. Bryan is terrified of Pooch. I have no idea why, (maybe its his looks?) but he is. Pooch of course picks up on this and becomes incredibly nervous around Bryan and has even snapped at him once when Bryan started to pet him then got too nervous, (for no reason really) changed his mind and jerked his hand away.

For the life of me I cannot figure out how to calm Pooch's nerves when around Bryan. Bryan is SO nervous of him that Pooch seems to be completely on edge. With every other situation I have ever been in, I can communicate to Pooch that everything is alright and calm him down and he eventually ignores that situation all together.

I've resorted to making Pooch stay inside when we're in the yard with them, or putting him in the down/stay position constantly when Bryan is around, but I don't feel like this is fair. When we spend time outside thats Pooch's time to explore the yard and play, (his off lead time) and I hate denying him of that.

If anyone could give me any advice about dealing with nervous people around your dog, I would really appreciate it.

I can't imagine keeping Pooch in the down/stay position every time Bryan is around...and he's been around him for several months now and Bryan's anxiety hasn't gotten any better.

Sorry for the novel, I hope that made some sense.
post #2 of 6
Made purr-fect sense to me!

I would suggest spraying Bryan with some DAP spray. That may help a little. Have Bryan sit in a chair(not at eye level, slightly higher). Let Pooch sniff around him while Pooch is on leash so you are in firm control. If Pooch does not snap, game over, he goes off someplace else. Do that daily or 2x a day until Bryan relaxes around Pooch & Pooch around Bryan. Once you get to that point, try having Bryan stand. Then get to where Bryan slowly(not jerky) moves his hand towards Pooch & pets him. It may take awhile, but it worked with my Macey. She hated one of dad's guys & always tried to bite him.
post #3 of 6
Dogs can smell fear and it sounds like Bryan is emitting some kind of fear smell that Pooch picksup on and then it escalates. And now that Bryans' appearance is being associated with something negative (getting stuck inside or being made to down/stay) that will not help. Really it sounds like you need to de-sensitize and countercondition Bryan!
If Bryan is willing to work on it, could you possibly get them into some kind of game where they do not have to get close to each other, like have Bryan throw a frisbee or ball? Or (not joking) use distractions on Bryan the way you would use them on a dog to get him over his fear of Pooch?
post #4 of 6
Personlly, I'd work on Bryon and with the help of his wife, etc. find out why he's afraid of dogs. Dogs do sense fear and react in different ways.

Hope things work out.
post #5 of 6
The best thing to do is what others have said work with him on his fear of dogs. As long as he shows fear, it's going to create a problem. When my husband was younger, he was attacked by a Golden Retriever. Since then he had a fear of dogs, especially larger ones. Well, I was always a dog person and when we were doing rescue, we worked with dogs more than anything. Most of these dogs had severe issues with fear, aggression, etc. I had to work hard to help him overcome his fear, but the one thing I always reminded him of was "No Fear". He saw me work with the dogs and he finally decided to face his fear head on, because he trusted me and he knew that I would not put him in harm's way intentionally. He, also, knew that if something happened that a dog reacted differently than what we expected, then I was right there to intervene. Now, he isn't bothered at all by dogs, because he's learned how to deal with them and he's learned how to read their behavior. It wasn't an overnight fix. It took months and we worked our way up to the more challenging ones, but it paid off in the end.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses guys!!

I took your advice and did some "training" with Bryan this weekend, and he really seemed to calm down around pooch a lot. Its difficult because he isn't scared of dogs, he has dogs of his own....he's just scared of Pooch. I'm not sure if its because he's large, or if its because he has a sort of Rottie look to him or what. But anyway, its getting better and we're going to continue to work on it slowly.
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