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  1. #1
    Young Dawg (Member) eljuko's Avatar

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    Default Barking and growling at unknown kids

    Hello again!

    Hilda has always loved to be with kids before todays event. Some kid came inside with me to ask if our daughter could come play outside. Hilda didn't see her at first since she was behind me and when she did she started to bark and growl at the kid. I tried to tell her to stop but didn't have any success with that. Hilda didn't show any teeth but she made it very clear that the child was not welcome.

    Later on we went on walk and couple of kids came across and again the same thing. After some barking Hilda looked at me like she was proud of her "stopping power". She has never done anything like that and she's around 10 months old, maybe some sort of teenpyr thing? Any ideas how to act if she does that again? Would love to have younger visitors in the future too .

  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) nick's spirit's Avatar

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    So difficult to say what Hilda was reacting to...

    Almost sounds as if at sometime she might have been teased by smaller children....

    If you don't think this is what happened, I would gently & calmly de-sensitize Hilda around small people.
    I would do it on neutral territory, maybe just having the child walk close, as soon as Hilda starts her reaction, the child leaves...no eye contact with Hilda, and don't force her to accept a child when she's barking & reacting.
    This may take weeks, slowly getting the child closer....
    If you have behaviorist in Finland, I would ask one to come & help you access Hilda & what her trigger reactions might be, then they can help you reassure & re-direct Hilda.

    I would also look into Patricia McConnell's books, they can help you learn more about a dogs body language, and help you help Hilda. She may only be in a puppy fear stage, not feeling secure that you can protect her...so hard to say from so far away !!!

  3. #3
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Tsunibear's Avatar

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    Missy had been traumatized by a few smaller kids and it has taken me some time to get her back to trusting them. Don't force her that's the biggest no no you could do. Now with Missy I had my niece and nephews all ignore her and she watched them from a safe distance and then I started taking her to the Tractor Supply. Around here you encounter a lot of farmers kids and all of them know how to read body language, approach a new animal and handle them. So I would ask them to let her approach them on her own and smell them and then asked them to pet her from under her chin and to never reach over her head. It took a lot of work, time and effort, but it did work in helping her relax around kids more. Now kids who go to pet above her head still make her nervous and she doesn't like them running and yelling and charging at her. You have to understand kids are flighty naturally and that makes dogs nervous at times.

  4. #4
    Young Dawg (Member) eljuko's Avatar

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    Thank you both for the replies!

    Gotta admit it pretty much looks like some small people have bullied Hilda or something. We'v made clear for our daughter and her friends not to approach any dog without supervision, but can't really trust that i suppose.

    One notable change of Hildas overall behavior i didn't mention before was that she gets scared way easier than before. This could be the fear stage that is causing it. But i'm going to visit the library and do some reading as Nick's spirit suggested.

    Got some good tips from both of you so thank you a lot once again!

  5. #5
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Chester is my non-Pyr and he suffers from terrible anxiety, so this may not be entirely a fair comparison. Your situation with Hilda reminds me of something I went through with Chester last year, though.

    We had just moved to a new house, and Chester had not quite adjusted to his new surroundings. My insurance company had arranged for someone to come to the house to perform an inspection. Our appointment was in the middle of the day, so I left work to meet the inspector. We entered the house together, but the doorway was not visible from Chester's crate, so he did not see the inspector come in with me.

    After I let Chester out of his crate, he ran around the corner and was very surprised to see a man he did not know in our home. He barked uncontrollably, and was visibly frightened. I ended up taking both boys out in the yard to allow the inspector to do his job in peace.

    For weeks afterward, every time I let Chester out of his crate, he immediately began barking, and ran directly to the spot where he'd had his surprise encounter with the inspector. It took him a while to figure out that there wasn't always a strange man lurking around the corner at our house.

    From then on, whenever I had someone come over, I made sure that he was able to see that I knew they were there before I let him out of his crate. Even that took some time to get him to stop barking.

    Hilda's situation reminds me of Chester's for two main reasons. Given her age, it is quite possible that she is going through a perfectly normal phase where things that normally would not be scary for her suddenly frighten her. Sebastian went through a number of those phases, and the list of things that frightened him is both lengthy and laughable (now). Now, Chester was an adult at the time, but the stress of moving had caused him to react more fearfully to new situations than normal.

    The second thing both situations have in common was the element of surprise. Both Chester and Hilda were startled by their surprise guests.

    With Chester, I make it a point to announ e guests before he sees them. I'll say something like, "Hey, Chester! Look who came here to see you! It's Deee! Deee came over to see you!". Then I make sure that Deee has a special, high value treat for both Sebastian and Chester. There is lots of happy talk and praise. He is learning that people coming over is a happy, fun time when he will get his favorite treats.

    I agree that seeking the help of the right behaviorist is a good idea in your situation. Your vet might be able to refer you to one whose methods are based both on behavioral science and positive, reward-based training. Patricia McConnell's website and books are also wonderful and full of insight and information. http://www.patriciamcconnell.com Her book, The Other End of the Leash, is a great place to start.
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
    www.facebook.com/SirSaintSebastian

  6. #6
    Young Dawg (Member) eljuko's Avatar

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    Hey SebastiansMom,

    Thanks for reply and the effort. Yes the situations are very similar. In future i'll make sure Hilda is aware of coming visitors and follow your lead to work with the issue.

    This might take a while as told, but i'll keep this post updated once we start to make some progression.

    cheers!

  7. #7
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) snow0160's Avatar

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    I agree with Sebastian's mom. I would be super careful with this because my previous dog was not very friendly and I got very nervous when kids came flying in. They are like "OOO big fluffy white dog" and some just come charging. I had to walk her in more secluded and calmer hours. I think she appreciated this because she hated being swarmed by people.

  8. #8
    Young Dawg (Member) eljuko's Avatar

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    @snow0160 Yes, we're currently following Hildas behavior with extra caution and she's never let alone with younger folks.

    Don't get me wrong, Hilda loves children and people overall and always welcoming them with "pyrenean love". I believe that event was conclusion of surprise visitor and fear period. After good night sleep Hilda has been acting normally.

    It actually feels like sometimes she wakes up from naps, she's more cautious than normally. Having nightmares? When Hilda sleeps again she returns to her normal state. Don't know if this's something that's going to pass before adulthood, but we usually keep her inside during that phase.
    Last edited by eljuko; 05-30-2017 at 05:29 AM.

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