Nervous

by Melodie

We adopted Shiloh approximately a yr ago, she is very loving with our family, but recently she displayed some very unruly behaviour. She is growling and attempting to snap at people. This is making us very nervous.

We are not sure as to why this is happening. She is behaving this way with people she has previously met and socialized. We love her very much, but we are afraid of something much worse happening. Is there something we can do to help her with is behaviour?

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Jun 25, 2015
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Shiloh
by: Donna

What rescue is she from? I would make sure to contact them. We had a Shiloh but she was a courtesy posting. If this is the same Shiloh, you will need to contact the people from whom you adopted her.

If this isn't the same Shiloh, how old is she?

Have you had her to the vet to have her ears checked for infections? or any other pain she may be in? Perhaps a tumour? Please do that first.

If you would like to contact us, please email 4.dharris@gmail.com.

Jun 28, 2015
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good reason
by: Anonymous

There's a lot going on within the dynamics of your relationship with your dog. Good reason to be worried as they are a big and powerful dog. There's a few questions you can ask yourself when you observe her as she is engaged in her unruly behaviour:
1)Do you allow her to step in between visitors and your family members when visitors come into your home?
2)How do you react to her when she engages in the unwanted behaviour?
3)Have you taught her greeting etiquette to visitors or do you allow her to call the shots as she pleases?
4)This is crucial, are you now nervous or afraid when you open the door to visitors in her presence?

As has been said before, if you do not take care of business your Pyr will. If your answer to #1 is yes, you need to change that first. That is guardian position. If your answer to #2 is we grab her and pet her to calm her, you are rewarding her with your behaviour so she thinks she's doing what you want. If your answer to #3 is not really and yes, you need to change that by teaching her calmly to sit/stay while you greet visitors and they come into your home. And by no means allow her to decide what to do. If your answer to #4 is yes, you will transmit your fear to her every time and so begin the circle of fear/reaction/fear. All this will escalate as time goes on.

Training first. During training be sure you only reward her for doing what you want. No petting or reassurance when she displays anxiety. Remember to take a good deep breath. Be confidant, patient and calm. Set your teaching sessions up for her to be successful. At the moment she is as worried as you are, but you can change this.

If you feel overwhelmed do seek the help of a trainer familiar with Pyrs. They can be a wonderful source of info on dog behaviour. Good luck with her.

Jun 28, 2015
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Guarding behaviour
by: Tressie

You don't mention how old she is?

It sounds like she is being protective of her family and doing the job she was bred to do for thousands of years. True while you aren't sheep or goats, the instinct to protect is the same. Some LGDs have this instinct stronger than others.

I would put her away when you have guests, but don't make it seem like a punishment, which it shouldn't be. For her peace of mind and the safety of your visitors put her into the backyard or in a room that has a positive association, with her water bowl and fav blanket, and close the door.

Personally, I trust the judgement of my dogs.

Jul 01, 2015
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rule out health issues first
by: Tressie

Donna is absolutely correct. Have her checked out by your vet first to make certain there isn't an underlying health issue for her behaviour. For example, Addison's disease is known to cause aggression in some dogs, as is pain.

Therefore, a first step would be to make an appointment with your veterinarian, and in the interim keep her confined when you have visitors.

I am assuming from your description that she is not showing aggression to family members only to visitors? If that is the case it is likely protective/guarding behaviour. However, rule out health issues first.

Jul 01, 2015
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Thank you
by: Anonymous

Shiloh is 2 1/2 yrs old. She was adopted from the North Bay SPCA. All of your comments have been very helpful and reassuring. We now feel we have a starting point to work with her, because like I said Shiloh is a beautiful loving girl towards the family and a few friends.

Jul 01, 2015
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Thank you
by: Anonymous

Shiloh is 2 1/2 yrs old, she was adopted from the North Bay SPCA. All your comments have been very helpful and have given us hope. Because as I stated Shiloh is a very loving girl to our family and a few friends. Some people walk in the house and she doesn't react and others she becomes almost uncontrollable.

Jul 02, 2015
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most likely guarding behaviour
by: Anonymous

Given your further information, that she is loving with family and certain friends -I go back to my initial conclusion that she is acting appropriately, that is, displaying protective guardian behaviour. Note, not everyone will agree with me because they think a dog, including a Pyr should accept all visitors. That is not my view. I respect the dog's instinct. Dog's know if someone is fearful, or plain doesn't like dogs, or is feeling annoyed that there is a dog in the house, etc.

You may also wish to take notice if she is more protective with certain family members than with others. She would be picking up more vulnerability in that person, hence, her protective instincts would be stronger toward that person.

Now that doesn't mean that it is acceptable for her to bite someone. Again best strategy is to quietly, without any fuss remove the dog and put her in the backyard with a treat or confine her in a room with a treat. Make it a positive experience. If you know you are having visitors before hand, put her away before they arrive.

Less stressful for everyone concerned and you will have diffused a potentially volatile situation.


Jul 04, 2015
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shiloh
by: Marianne

On the spot, Tressie.

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