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How do you enter an apartment with a 45lb dog that my be aggressive when owner not home?

asked 2016-12-04 13:17:02 -0600

I have a new client with a approx 45lb dog that is mixed breed. They just moved from home with backyard to apartment (2weeks) and he is protective of owner, he growled a little at me at meet and greet but we went for walk and spent time with owner. I am concerned when i go back alone to get him for a walk he may not be happy to see me and may be a little aggressive...any suggestions on how to enter home?

Update on the growling dog...it took some time but we are great friends now...the first time i went by myself was scary and he was not sure why i was there and barked a lot but I stayed at his level and talked with him, waited him out, watched his body behavior (he never came towards me barking and always backed away when i came towards him) I waited for him to come to me..got his collar on and off we went :) I have been walking him for a couple of months now and i have found he is very vocal :) every time i go in he barks for a while ( now i think he is just excited) and he is becoming one of my favorite dogs to walk :) especially with all the work we both put in to overcome fears.

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You should ask the owner about this situation. The owner is definitely aware his dog is protective/weary of strangers. Only the owner should tell you what to do and tell you how to proceed when entering. Good luck!!! And be careful.

Lenka L.'s profile image Lenka L.  ( 2016-12-04 15:15:40 -0600 ) edit

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answered 2016-12-05 07:16:04 -0600

Caution is warranted!! I would schedule the 1st few visits with the owner at the home so the dog becomes comfortable with you. Always have a handful of treats ready and let the dog come to you, never quickly approach the dog.

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Thank you very helpful :)

Holli M.'s profile image Holli M.  ( 2016-12-05 08:38:26 -0600 ) edit
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answered 2016-12-05 08:21:12 -0600

I agree with Walt. I think it's important for the dog to see that the owner is OK with you interacting with the dog. You want to make it as natural as possible to be there with both of them, or the dog alone. It's important to let the dog approach you, even if you have to bribe with treats. Forcing the dog to interact with you is not the way to go, as it will most likely cause more fear/aggression. Time and patience is needed here.

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Thank you very helpful :)

Holli M.'s profile image Holli M.  ( 2016-12-05 08:38:59 -0600 ) edit
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answered 2017-01-19 10:33:25 -0600

Update on the growling dog...it took some time but we are great friends now...the first time i went by myself was scary and he was not sure why i was there and barked a lot but I stayed at his level and talked with him, waited him out, watched his body behavior (he never came towards me barking and always backed away when i came towards him) I waited for him to come to me..got his collar on and off we went :) I have been walking him for a couple of months now and i have found he is very vocal :) every time i go in he barks for a while ( now i think he is just excited) and he is becoming one of my favorite dogs to walk :) especially with all the work we both put in to overcome fears.

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That's great to hear - thanks for the update!

Mary C.'s profile image Mary C.  ( 2017-01-24 17:38:29 -0600 ) edit
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answered 2016-12-05 11:02:03 -0600

I've had something similar to this happen. A long time client started being very protective of the house suddenly it took us a long time to work out all the kinks! First off, we made it so he didn't have access to the door and put up a baby gate at the top of the stairs. This gave me time to react if he decided to jump it, but also gave him time to calm down and realize who I was which worked for awhile. For anything at night now we crate him and I make sure he's not in there for more than 3 hours. I'm always armed with LOTS of treats on hand, a calm disposition, and I talk to him so he hears my voice when I walk in. We had multiple meetings where I went to the owners house so the dog realized it was okay. We took walks together several times and we started training him with his basics and a couple of tricks that he loves doing to take the edge off.

Since you know the dog is aggressive and so does the owner schedule some drop-ins when the owner is home and have the meetings outside not in the house. Take them into the house once the dog is calm. See if you can get the door area secured, so you can walk in calmly without a barking dog waiting for you at the door. Securing the door helped me a lot. Knowing he wasn't there waiting to jump me helped me be calmer and less stressed out about the walks. Have very clear communication with the owner about potential issues and how you should react. Sit down with them and discuss what they want you to do if the dog is growling at you when you walk in.

Make everything very positive so the dog is happy to see you. A couple of treats here, there, and a couple extra for good measure. If there is anything that the dog absolutely loves make sure you have easy access to it before you enter the house.

Good luck! Remember communication is key with both the dog and the owner.

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Thank you!

Holli M.'s profile image Holli M.  ( 2016-12-06 09:27:15 -0600 ) edit

my answer would be - you don;t

Suzanne E.'s profile image Suzanne E.  ( 2017-02-04 09:40:28 -0600 ) edit
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answered 2017-01-09 22:34:00 -0600

There are too many red flags here, but since you posted so long ago my advice may not help you. Unfortunately this sounds like a dog that requires a handler rather than a pet sitter and you are not the best match. More than likely he is not getting exercised enough to combat his energy and frustration at moving to a smaller home. The challenge is that the dog may be protective of the home or it may be protective of the owner, and unless you are an experienced dog handler you probably don't know what to look for when looking at the dog.

It is important when you go on your Meet and Greet to be sure you and the dog are a match. There is no reason to put yourself in a dangerous situation that at worst may lead to a bite for you or or at the very least risk you not being able to get in the home. At this point without being there to observe, I am not sure you will be able to get the walk accomplished.

I would suggest declining this pet for your safety and his. Let DogVacay know what you observe and maybe they can find a more suitable match for this dog and owner.

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I agree. I would never watch a dog that growled at me. Growling is a warning that they're not comfortable with the situation, the next step is bite/nip. You're not required to take every client, thats what the m&g are for

Serina R.'s profile image Serina R.  ( 2017-01-18 18:24:33 -0600 ) edit
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answered 2016-12-09 16:27:37 -0600

Bring lots of treats with you. Try to make a bit of noise coming in, talking to the dog in a positive, excited way before you even enter to help break the ice. Use the dog's name, praise him, offer a treat, and be as generally pleasant as possible. Hopefully, since he's met you already, he won't be quite so prone to viewing you as an intruder.

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