we had my african american friend over for the first time the other night. i have never heard my puppy growl, or bark at anything, she's usually very quiet. but for some reason my dog would not let my friend get near her, she growled and raised the hair on her neck, while barking frantically. this has NEVER happpened before, and she got really scaredn when another african american passed us on the sidewalk. i have never seen her act this strange. any advice or comments?
I don't think your dog is "racist." She just never saw a person with such dark skin before. You know how you're supposed to introduce your puppy to anything and everything for socialization purposes when the puppy is young? Your puppy could have had a similar reaction to a person wearing a hat or a person with umberella if the puppy never saw those things while growing up.
Maybe you can have your friend come over again, supply him/her with treats, and have him/her give treats to your dog. That way your puppy can associate good things with your friend and will stop being afraid.
Also, was your friend scared of the dog in any way (maybe apprehensive being around her)?. I have always heard that dogs can "sense" fear...... from anyone, no matter what race . Try what Tatyana said, if you're puppy is like Zakk, she will be friends with anyone that comes bearing gifts ;D.
Your pup reacted that way probably due to the fact he has never seen a dark skinned person before. As already mentioned, the same can be said for all aspects of socialization if new people/places/sights/sounds/etc are not introduced to the pup in those precious first few months.
I would do exactly as Tatyana described and ask your friend to reward the pup when she is calm and settled (not while she continues to bark! if you reward the pup while she is barking you are reinforcing her bad behavior).
My trainer gave a great explanation for this type of behavior. she said that unless you introduce your puppy to people of all shapes/sizes/colors/etc, that they will just see them as being "different" and therefore seem 'racist' or unfriendly, but what she said that made me laugh was that a child would have the same reaction if they came ascross, say, a BLUE person- "Hey mom! Look! They're BLUE! Why is their skin a different color? Huh?"
;D ;D ;D
In addition to the visual cues, your dog may be reacting to odor cues that he's unfamiliar with and therefore reacts to as "strange". For instance, orientals have a different type of ear wax than most caucasians which seems to be related to asians often thinking caucasians have an unpleasant odor about them. Since dogs have 200+ times greater sensitivity to detect smells -- cancer, diabetes, drugs, explosives, smuggled DVDs and CDs, etc., that wouldn't surprise me.
Just follow Tatyana's advice every time your friend comes over for awhile until he no longer has that reaction.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Allie loves all people and pets, except cats, deathly afraid of cats... Allie usually sits right by my side, and doesn't move when we are at Petsmart, but there is that ocassional jolt when she sees someone she thinks is extra friendly and wants to meet them. Allie is extra friendly to certain people, these people tend to be dog or lab lovers. Allie usually avoids anyone who distances themselves from her. People have body language which I swear Allie picks up on. Maybe your friends body language was, I dont want to be bothered, or im nervious. Even if he or she pets your dog, your dog might still pick up on the little things that your not seeing and is responding accordingly.
I had this problem with my last dog (lab/collie mix), every african american that she saw, she would run from and hide. Gradually as she would get to know them, she would like them. It did take a while, but eventually she was ok. Follow the advice above and you should be fine.