Venus Trapped in Mars

06 August 2015

The Dark Side of White Dog

Veenie has many different nicknames in our home... Veenie-Bo-Beenie, Da Veener, Veen and Venus if she's in trouble. I originally named her Venus, and promptly stopped using that in public when someone at the dog park asked me in a very gentle, yet horrified whisper, "Did you really name your dog penis?"

You have to be very careful when using any variation of the V sound when she's around, because she'll pounce like a hawk. 

Hello.Hi.Yes.Hello.HiThere.DidYouNeedMe? 
IBelieveYouCalledMyName.Hi.HeyThere.Mom.Mummy.Hi.Mom.
HeySup.YouNeedSomethingI'mHereForYou.ICanDoAnythng?
HELLO.HI.YOUSAIDMYNAME.

HI.




So when we want to talk about her, we simply use the term white dog, as a way to protect our faces from a doggie kiss attack. 

Veenie is a bundle of love, and I think she would probably lay her life on the line to protect the family, and I mean that. She's smart, but she has a major problem that, for the life of me, I can't figure out how to solve. She has a dark, and very mean side that she shows to male strangers. 

Veenie interacting with girls... no problem! When children try to pet her, she plops her bum down right in front of them, offers them her paw and waits for cuddles and pets. Men though? Men are a different story. 

She growls, shows her teeth, and barks like a rottweiler on the other side of a fence baring the words "beware of dog". You know that barking sound that guard dogs do when they are trying to take a breath in, but are still barking viciously? She makes that noise. It scares me, and I have absolutely no idea what to do to get her to stop. 

The worst part, as an owner, is that she is so damn cute and cuddly everyone wants to pet her! Who wouldn't want to walk up and pet this little girl at the dog park? 






 Ok well, maybe not THAT little girl, but this one....







CB and I took her with us when we went to have a few drinks at this outdoor bar in our neighborhood called 10 Bells. She bit two different guys who just were trying to pet her.  Now one guy kind of had it coming. I told him, in a polite way to back off, but he grabbed her out of my hands, picked her up and brought her to his face. I was just sitting there thinking... ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod.

Luckily it was just a tiny bite mark on each guy's hand, and both guys were super duper nice about it. That terrifies me though, because that is the kind of thing that will get her put down if she got vicious enough on the wrong person. 

I've tried yelling, I've tried not yelling. I've tried smacking her on the butt, I've tried staying calm and showing her that the person can be trusted. I just have no idea what to do to fix this. The part of me that doesn't have a home security system doesn't mind this dark side of white dog, but the truth is that I need to fix this somehow. 

Does anyone have any suggestions for me? 



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16 comments :

  1. Animals are nuts. Our bird begins shaking we bring our hand near him and we've never done anything scary with our hands or ever made him feel threatened with them. We had a foster dog that HATED people when they were walking dogs. Shortly after, we also learned he hated African American men. We had to take him back to the rescue because our neighbor was a ton of cul-de-sacs so there was no way to avoid the other dog walkers and our neighborhood was 50% African American. The rescue ended up taking him to a dog trainer. Maybe that is something that y'all could do?

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  2. One of my dogs is fearful of men. Luckily- kind of luckily- right now she just runs away from them but I know that I have to continue to slowly work with her on that so that it doesn't become fear aggression. Another one of my dogs is a rescue that came from an abusive home. She usually doesn't have a problem with people but people sure do have a problem with her. She is english bulldog mixed with beagle, so she has a very unique bark. It's a mix between a phlegmmy bark and a howl and people think she is aggressively growling. Even though she doesn't have an issue with humans (unless they have something like a baseball bat and she feels threatened), she has issues with dogs, besides the other two that I have. When she sees another dog, she gets super tense, anxious, her eyes bulge and she cannot hear a word you are saying. And of course no matter how many times you tell someone to not come near you with your dog or to stop so that I can regain her attention and turn her in the other direction, they don't listen and then I get into a heated yelling match with them. I have tried almost everything. I have tried the calming wrap, calming treats, doga, calming supplements, etc. Sometimes she starts to take 2 steps forward and then ends up taking 10 steps back. Thankfully I a homeowner now and have a big 6' tall privacy fenced in yard. It's a shame I can't take her out anymore besides trips to the vet, but it is for her safety. Plus she is getting old, so I rather have her in a calm peaceful environment rather than walking her outside, being fear reactive, and be put at risk of someone calling the police and getting her put down. That one guy definitely had it coming. It is people that lack common sense and self control that behave like that that get some dogs put to sleep. Rescue Remedy, a calming liquid, works for some dogs. You could try giving her that when you know she will or could possibly see men. Besides that, just make yourself aware at all times of men, keep her close, and warn them ahead of time. I refuse to get a dog trainer, because not all dog trainers are experienced or experienced with these types of dogs and all dogs are different. Some dogs will respond well to the prong collars and "choke" chain collars or gentle leaders. However, my dog will not. I know my dog and have been in contact with people that have dogs like mine and they took their dog to a trainer and they used a collar like this (I'm not against these collars. I have successfully used them on dogs in the past with training) and it made the dog a hundred times worse.

    http://dogmomchic.blogspot.com/

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  3. Sadly you may have to put a muzzle on her when out in public because you are right it will be something totally out of your control , like someone ignoring you and if she bites there is zero tolerance most places. ( Is there a history, I cannot remember is she a rescue?? maybe a trainer could help, a female one)

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  4. I think it's totally their fault. dogs are dogs and you don't go around petting other people's dogs! they should have asked you first, and that one guy, give me a break!! so i think you are doing fine- others need to wake up! Is this too hard?

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  5. I've always instructed people to approach my semi-aggressive dog slowly and not staring him in the face. Sometimes, dogs growl not because they are aggressive but because they are scared. When mine gets growly/barky at the landscaping people or whatever, I simply try to redirect his attention. Whether it be calling his name, offering a treat, touching the side of his head or chest area (not the back because then it makes them feel like they are protecting you)...I try to distract him from whatever is causing him to be anxious.

    A lot of times if mine sees me interact with people first he will be quasi-friendly towards them. That helps.

    Finally, some dogs just have weird neurosis that we can't fix or change. Mine growls all the time...even when he's happy. Have you heard about the yellow bow project? When you take your pup out in public if you tie a yellow bow on their leash or collar it lets people know to approach with caution or not approach at all. Good luck!

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    1. Sorry, it's the Yellow Dog Project.

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  6. My parents' Pomeranian is absolutely horrible around anyone - including me. If anyone gets near my mom, he will bark/bite them. The only thing that worked for him was putting a shock collar on him. He can still bite with it on, but the instant he starts doing the protective barking, he gets the little shock/reminder that he shouldn't be doing that. I'm not at all an advocate for shock collars (as they actually break my heart), but that was truly the only thing that helped with him. Veenie seems MUCH nicer, so I probably wouldn't go with that unless it's an absolute last resort. Good luck with this! I know it can be stressful, especially if you want to take your pups out with you!

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  7. So I've broken a dog of this before. Not every method works for every dog. But whether it's true aggression or fear this might help. But it requires some sneakiness. So you start small and work your way up. So you stay put and hang out with Venus or walk a predetermined route. A second friend needs to collect men. Now counting on other people to do what you ask doesn't always work. But you'll give these men delicious treats. And then they will walk near Venus and before they hit the reaction threshold for her, they toss her the treat. Over time you close the gap between Venus and the stranger. Eventually getting to the point where she can be petted before receiving the treat. Association with something awesome and positive can usually change any dog's mind about a particular type of person that they may not like. --Keely

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  8. I say that one guy had it coming. You don't take a dog out of it's owners arms and expect it not to get snippy. You warned him. If you're worried about it though find a dog trainer and get Vennie some schoolin'. LOL. My mom's German Shepard just got done with his classes, he really has learned so much. He was kind of shy with my dad so the trainer had my dad do a lot of the training classes with him. Maybe that would work with Veenie, too. She could be super attached and protective of you.

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  9. Oh man, that's tough! I'm not sure what to do in that situation. But as the person approaching the dog, I would NEVER approach a strange dog without permission from the owner, and especially if the owner had warned me to be cautious! Our three dogs have yet to show any issues with strangers, but I know some dogs do and it's just smart to be careful! We have a friend whose dog is very wary of strangers and it takes a looong time and many visits to the house before she feels comfortable enough to be pet, so I always let her do what she's going to do and don't try to force interaction. She's a super sweet dog, she just gets scared, and I can't blame her for that!

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  10. My husband and I rescued our dog, a little rat terrier, in January of last year. He was found as a stray so the humane society couldn't tell us much about his personality and / or any behavioral problems. He's a sweetheart and a great dog, but he has a serious problem with strangers. ANY type of stranger. If we're out on a walk and he sees someone he barks, lunges, and growls. Fortunately, we always keep him on a leash so he's never actually hurt someone. I've started a "training program" last week and it seems to be helping a lot. Here's what I do;
    1. Get treats that can easily be broken up into small pieces. Break into a bunch of pieces and put in a Ziploc bag. You will need to carry this with you whenever you go on walks, to the park etc.
    2. Whenever a guy walks by and you know Venus is going to throw a fit DISTRACT him immediately. Distract him before he even has the opportunity to respond to the person's presence; Say his name in a sweet voice, open the bag and offer him a generous amount of treats until the person has disappeared from view. Then praise him.
    3. After this has happened a few times, he will eventually begin to associate men walking by with good things (treats, praise etc.) Your dog is most likely scared crapless by men, and your job here is to turn a frightening experience into a positive one.
    I'm not a professional, but this is what I'm doing with my dog and so far it's worked pretty well. Good luck!

    Tiffany @ http://writteninblue21.blogspot.com/

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  11. I don't having any sound advice but if it makes you feel better the iPhone message noise scares the daylights out of Floyd. So everyone that comes in our house MUST put their phone on vibrate or he spends the next few hours in the bathtub...

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  12. When you warn people and they still touch your dog, then they have it coming. You are polite about it and do the responsible owner thing. I look at them as children. Cause they are. They don't know any better. She has a reason to not be fond of males at first. My only advice is to just flat out say "no" when people ask to pet her. Or, if they don't ask, then just be quick enough to step in and say no. Dogs give people very specific signs when they are not in the mood. Just because they are dogs doesn't mean they have to be tail wagging all the time. They get anxiety, pain, hurt feelings, or just a bad day. It's the people that push them to the limits that deserve to be yelled at and smacked on the butt if you ask me.

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  13. Unfortunately I don't have any tips on helping her not act like that, but I do know that "yellow" is the universal color of "this dog may not like strangers". Try getting a yellow collar, leash, or bandana to put on her when you go out in public. I think a lot of people know this symbol. If not, I know they make little vests that says the same thing in plain English.

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  14. One of our dogs, Olivia, doesn't like men either. We have no idea why. She was born at the humane society so we don't believe a man was ever mean to her. Unfortunately, around here there aren't many places that allow you to bring your dog anywhere so unless a man is at our house she's ok. The guy that picked Venus up that's bullshit. I probably would have said some not nice words. He deserved it.

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  15. My little dog is the same way! She was a rescue, so we think that she was previously in an abusive home, abused by a teenage boy or a middle aged man, as those are both the types she hates the most. Around girls she is still very loving, but most any time she sees a new boy (even my own brother who lives with her sometimes) she freaks out. Not fun :(

    Dani
    http://www.DaniDearest.com

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