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recently growling at men

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by gforce65, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. gforce65

    gforce65 New Member Registered

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    I have a 4 year old border collie. He is the most placid dog you could wish for, or was until recently. I lost my husband 6 weeks ago, he and Harley spent most of their days together and doted on each other. For the last few weeks he has started to take a dislike to men that he has not met, usually he will go to anyone to be petted but he growls and cowers and doesnt want them anywhere near him. It must be related to the death of my husband but I can not figure out how and why. Can anyone shed any light on this?
     
  2. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    Welcome, I'm sorry for your loss. I think that if your dog was so close with your husband he clearly knows that some thing is missing and he feels insecure about men that he doesn't know.
     
  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Hello, welcome to the forum; I am sorry it is in such sad circumstances.

    Collies are sensitive dogs and it is highly likely he is missing your late husband and possibly picking up on your emotions too. My advice really is just about ways of managing the situation.

    I suggest giving him space and time. To a dog, face to face eye contact is quite threatening so ease ask people to completely ignore him, not even making eye contact. Explain he has had an upset and ask them to keep their distance.

    If they have to be in his space, i.e. in your house, make sure he has a safe bolt hole to retreat to. He should be able to consider this his own and not be disturbed there. If Harley makes any friendly or gentle approach towards a stranger, praise him and give him a high value reward.

    If you have any strangers who will be present more than once, you can ask them to help by dropping (not tossing) some high value reward like chicken if they pass Harley - i don't know if you will have that though.

    Finally, a few words on canine body language - a growl is a good thing, it is your dog communicating his uneasiness and it is important to listen to him and remove the threat. If we ignore the growl, and force the situation (greeting strangers in this case) dogs will eventually escalate to a snap or bite and then ultimately bypass the growl and go straight to bite - because us stupid humans ignore it anyway. Forgive me if you already knew this, I am not implying you do this but future readers may not be aware.

    In time he hopefully will relax. I hope you and he get over your loss as painlessly as possible.
     
  4. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Just to add to what @JoanneF has said, don't be tempted to get a man to lure Harley over to him with treats - Harley may go up to the man and take the treat but then find that he's far too close for comfort and get scared.

    I'm very sorry for your loss and hope that you and Harley will help each other in the weeks and months ahead.
     
    Biker John likes this.
  5. gforce65

    gforce65 New Member Registered

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    tha
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    • The
     
  6. gforce65

    gforce65 New Member Registered

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    Thank you so much for your words of advice, hopefully Harley will be going through the grieving process as I am only he doesn’t understand his master is never coming home. I think we are a comfort for each other. He is fine with the males he has been around like my son, daughters boyfriend etc it’s just anyone new. I appreciate all of your comments greatly at what is the toughest time I have ever been through. Thankyou.
     
    JudyN and Violet Turner like this.

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