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Discussion Starter #1
Before I got Apollo I was at petsmart and there was a woman there who brought in her skittish dog. She would ask strangers to please come up to her dog, pet it, and give it a treat. She was trying to show her dog that strangers are nice.

That got me thinking. Would it be a good idea to take my pup Apollo, who is afraid of men, and go up to men in petsmart and ask if they could please pet him and give him a treat? Do you think this might help Apollo to associate more positive things with men? Thanks in Advance.
 

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We socialized Aidan at the Pet Smart and the school bus stop.

If he has a strong fear, maybe start in a smaller setting and maybe with "little" men. How is he with kids? boys?
Then work your way up to a larger setting. God forbid you dont want someone to REALLY spook him more or for him to panic and nip.
Pet smart he would have to be on a leash and you said he seems worse on a leash. So Im thinking maybe off leash, meeting a little man first...where he wont feel trapped and can walk away if he wants to. Then work up to older men and more of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. Apollo LOVES kids (male or female) so maybe introducing him to like male teens would be a good "in between" step? Perhaps at a park and then working up to taking him to petsmart? I have little peanut butter cups (not the candy, but like 1tbsp of peanut butter in a little portable cup. Kinda like those little containers of jelly that you can get at resteraunts) and I was thinking of using those to bribe apollo into being near men.

Oh and BTW we finally got one of those "no slip" collars (for greyhounds and other dogs) and Apollo is totally fine with it. It keeps him from slipping it and at the same time doesn't freak him out cuz it looks just like a regular collar (no metal). Hooray!
 

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Perfect!
I love when a plan comes together ;) Good luck, let us know how he does. If he likes little men that's very good. Much easier to make the transfer.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the suggestion, I didn't even think of using "little" men lol. Hope this works. I think our little "game plan" should help apollo out tremendously. Then he can finally work on his therapy dog certification. Here's the plan:

1. Introduce apollo to teenage boys and use treats to bribe apollo into feeling comfortable around these kids.
2. Work up to taking apollo to petsmart and having men approach him, pet him, etc
3. Enroll Apollo in "shy dogs 1" and "shy dogs 2" at the local humane society
4. Work on apollo associating positive things with Sam
5. Work on keeping apollo calm during startling situations (such as a book being dropped on the ground)
6. Socialize apollo with other dogs and people to give him more confidence.
7. Enroll Apollo in a basic obedience course
 

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That could help. (But no single procedure will work for all dogs.)

I've had a similar problem with Puff. For her first 4-5 years, Puff barked at my neighbors on either side of our house whenever she saw them. She'd bark while running to them, tail wagging, plant a quick lick on a face, and then run back to me. Now she only does that to visitors to my neighbors.

The nature preserve in which Puff and I walk for an hour each morning is also a bird sanctuary so a couple times a year there is an abundance of birders walking the trails plus there are some of them who walk the area much of the year.

One of those is Richard, a retired MD and when we meet, we chat for a few minutes. Each time Puff sees him at a distance, she barks at him and runs toward him, sniffs him, and then runs back to me. About a year or so ago, I began handing Richard a few kibbles to hold in the flat of his hand and let Puff eat. It took maybe 20-40 of those episodes before Puff didn't bark when she saw him. But since we haven't met Richard for a month or so, I suspect she'd bark at him again.

I think I'll get Dr. Patricia McConnell's booklet "Cautious Canine" and see if it has any protocols to deal with this:

http://www.dogsbestfriendtraining.com
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bob Pr. said:
But since we haven't met Richard for a month or so, I suspect she'd bark at him again.
Yeah, I have a feeling that once we get apollo to stop fearing men, we will have to work on it with him for the rest of his life. Because he was abused I doubt he'll ever LOVE men, but I hope he will atleast learn to tolerate them.
 

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I don't know why Puff barks at people as she does -- maybe it's just because she can.

She's so different than Bess; Bess never met a stranger she didn't instantly try to make into her best friend.

Puff is skittish and wary around people. I don't think it's 100% fear; otherwise why do it over and over with people she knows and why try to lick a face one quick time and then run away?

It's somewhat like she's a crow's nest lookout, announcing to me that 'there's a person/people 4 points off the starboard bow -- See them? Follow my running and barking with your eyes and you'll see.'

Of course strangers don't know what to expect when Puff runs up barking at them.
 

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I'd change your plan just a wee bit.

Have Apollo on leash

have target man approach indirectly (upper body turned slightly away) and stop about 4 feet away, then crouch down, again with torso turned slightly away.

Have the man either extend his hand with a high-value treat in it, or gently toss a treat towards Apollo.

Allow apollo to approach the man, or move towards the tossed treat, as you quietly praise him. Ignore any barking or moving away from the man.

Ask the man NOT to touch Apollo initially. Once Apollo is willingly and enthusiastically approaching for the treat, your target man can offer a gentle chest scratch or a stroke on Apollo's side, but NOT the over-the-head patting that everyone just LOVES to do.

(I don't know how afraid Apollo is - this is how I start with a very very scared/unsocialized dog who wants NOTHING to do with the human race. Apollo may jump several steps right away.)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the input. I really appreciate it. Apollo is OK with men. He kinda 'winces' when they touch him out in public. He doesn't bark or whine or pee when they touch him though. for some reason, apollo is more afraid of a man he knows (my b/f Sam) then he is of total strangers. Any ideas why?
 

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Perhaps because he gave his trust to the man that formerly abused him. Maybe he associates that bond with the abuse rather than just a man. Know what I mean?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
hmmm...that is a VERY good point. I am hoping that with time Apollo will stop fearing Sam and that he will learn to love him.
 

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How do the men out in public interact with him, and how does Sam interact with him? Does Sam try to roughhouse or play physically with him?

(I'm gonna take a wild guess and say the wincing happens when there is sudden hand movement, or the over-the-head pat?)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sam is very gentle with Apollo. He doesn't coddle him but he is gentle, calm, and sensitive to Apollo's needs. He NEVER rough houses with him (although I do roughhouse with apollo and he LOVES it. If a man tried to roughhouse though he'd pee himself, literally) In public just the sight of men approaching makes him wince. He also winces when you go to pat him.
 

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Like kaytris mentioned, I would instruct your assistants heavily on how to approach him. No hand over the head, perhaps at first they should approach him making a semicircle before getting to him. Or they could come at him with their body turned slightly sideways, and not making direct eye contact.

So funny you would mention this:

We were at agility this morning with Simon. Kevin goes with me and watches on the sidelines. I noticed him petting several of the dogs as they would be between exercises. :) Was glad he was having some fun, but didn't think anything else about it.

When we left he told me the women kept coming up to him and asking him to pet their dog because their dog was afraid of men, and rarely got an opportunity to meet any. Funny! All these classes we take are about 95% women. Men are definitely popular in this way when they make an appearance. :D
 

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Ernie hadn't been soclised when I got him at 3.5. He would freeze if a bird squeeked. If people came to the house he went into another room.
I asked people in the street if they would talk to him. then later asked if they would pat him. I also took him to an outdoor cafe where he sat with me against the wall and watched people. People always say "Oh what a lovely dog." He now sits beside me and almost asks people to pat him and talk to him. I also went to busy places like the pet barn. Erns was also afraid of men. Thus the male vets had to sedate him.
He then saw Naya and this overcame his vet fear. Naya left 2 months ago and his new vet is a man. He hasn't seen him yet, but the vets at Massey are male and he coped.

It was hard for me to ask men to talk to him. I would say. "I am not trying a new pick up line. My dog is afraid of men so would you please talk/pat him". Very embarrassing but I had to do it for Erns.


The change in him in 2 years has been amazing. Different dog.
 

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AngusFangus said:
.

When we left he told me the women kept coming up to him and asking him to pet their dog because their dog was afraid of men, and rarely got an opportunity to meet any. Funny! All these classes we take are about 95% women. Men are definitely popular in this way when they make an appearance. :D
They also come in really handy when you need to move the aframe or the dogwalk ;)

The protocol I mentioned above will help desensitize Apollo to men in public....
 

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AngusFangus said:
Like kaytris mentioned, I would instruct your assistants heavily on how to approach him. No hand over the head, perhaps at first they should approach him making a semicircle before getting to him. Or they could come at him with their body turned slightly sideways, and not making direct eye contact.

So funny you would mention this:

We were at agility this morning with Simon. Kevin goes with me and watches on the sidelines. I noticed him petting several of the dogs as they would be between exercises. :) Was glad he was having some fun, but didn't think anything else about it.

When we left he told me the women kept coming up to him and asking him to pet their dog because their dog was afraid of men, and rarely got an opportunity to meet any. Funny! All these classes we take are about 95% women. Men are definitely popular in this way when they make an appearance. :D
haha yea sure...they were HITTING on him!! Good excuse to give though, clever ladies.
And may I be so bold as to say, Heck Id hit on him too, he's a hottie.
 
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