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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-16-2019, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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The past few months my 5 1/2 yo V is becoming more fearful of people when we are out walking. even if I greet them by talking and shaking hands a few times he has nipped at them. In our house he is very friendly-any suggestions on how to handle this?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-16-2019, 09:33 PM
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very common, fear phase reaction. u can try several methods, to see which one will work with him, the common theme being accepting friendly strangers:

have `organized` strangers meeting u with good treats and have them reward your pup just for allowing to be petted

take him to a groomer u trust for nail work, with favorite treats again. do it repeatedly.

have a sitter coming to your house (one u trust) and play with him, give him treats etc

if he lounges, reacts to strangers, turn him toward you and keep feeding him with high value treats. teaching him that you have something much more interesting to offer than whatever object/subject he found.

play nosework type games with him. that is a huge confidence builder.

and most importantly, give him time to work this thru, remain patient and calm. it is period and goes away if you help them not to get stuck in it:-)

hope this helps, in one form of the other many of us have been there.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 09:21 AM
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Duffy, for clarification she's 5 1/2 YEARS? Not months? No, this is NOT "Normal" !

If it's YEARS, then we'd need more context: when it started, your response, etc. "Nipping" is a euphemism for biting, which needs to be corrected, this is unacceptable and will likely get worse the longer you let it continue.

Again, assuming it's YEARS, a quick tug on the leash as she lunges, with a "NOOOOO!" is in order. If that doesn't work after a few encounters, have the vet take a look, it's really unusual for an adult to develop this type of reaction, either she doesn't feel well or is developing an unrelated anxiety disorder which might need meds.(SSRI'S).
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 09:53 PM
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sorry, i ready months, not years. if it is years by any chance then i fully agree with gingerling.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 08:37 PM
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My personal opinion: Whenever an adult dog begins displaying any kind of behavior, that has never been shown before, it's time for a vet check. Strange things can happen to our dogs, just like they can happen to us.
I was recently bitten by an extremely well socialized V who had never bitten anyone before; it was a good bite and broke the skin in a couple spots. I had been petting her and, when I reached a spot on her back that was about 2" before her hip bone she turned and nailed me.
My response, to her shocked owner, was the same as what I advised you. The owner took the dog to the vet, there was a physical problem that showed up and treatment began.
For a 5.5 year old dog to suddenly begin nervous, skittish or to display behavior that results in biting is a huge red flag that something is wrong. Go get him checked out and then work from there
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