Dog reactivity to people with a certain appearance and in car

Hi Sunny,

Im facing a weird issue with my male 1yr 3month old indie dog. Initially he used to react to house helps. Looked like he is scared of them. This is not just a case where he used to react our house help cleaning or moving things in our house. He used to bark at the ones he saw in our society too. I don’t know how he has a dog can differentiate. He would look at them from a distance and bark. No each one. But randomly he would see one and start barking. I have no clue how he knows which one are residents and which come in for cleaning houses/society etc. Now the issue is increasing. He is barking at women who are dressed in sarees/suits and carrying a polythene bag. If the woman is a little shabbily dressed he would react more. He does that when sitting in a car too. Mostly to women. Men he will growl at if they come near the car. For example someone who has come in to ask for money or sell something. Women he sees from a distance also and barks. Specially women who seem to be blue collar workers. I don’t know how he sees and recognizes. One thing that could have happened is some woman hit him when he was small. He used to live in the staircase of an apartment when small. Could have been that house helps going in and out hit him. Coz since 4/6months he started showing discomfort around them. He is also getting increasingly reactive to dogs. Almost jumps out of cars, barks and growls when he sees a dog on the road. How do I solve for it. His routine -

  1. He walks close to 2hrs daily. Some of it is a structured walk. But he has two stray dog friends on campus. If they are around, he is super distracted as these dogs keep playing rough and he pulls as he wants to play with them.
  2. After morning walk (8:30am)he comes back and relaxes all day. Sleeps or sits on his own. Is super calm. Then goes for a walk at 7:30pm again.
  3. He has a dog reactivity issue too. Growls at strays outside our society. He is okay with the ones inside. He is not okay with any pet dog. There is a super docile female beagle who walks when he does. He used to be okay with her but since a few months he has been very aggressive when he sees her.

Hi, Sorry for replying late, I am not well so keeping the screen time to a minimum.

Dogs notice very minute changes, the way cleaners dress and the objects they hold are completely different from regular residents.

The issues in dogs keep on escalating if we don’t address them, so even a minute consistent growl or bark will grow into something else if they don’t get guidance.

You are absolutely right about this, they must have been cruel to him when he was a puppy.

This is a different issue, your dog is getting territorial, If he is not neutered then levels of testosterone are increasing in him, and that can escalate the reactivity to men or dogs, male dogs in particular.

Whenever he gets all riled up then don’t give any command, don’t shout, just calmly pick up the leash, and leash him very calmly, redirect him by not pulling but by keeping his head position away from the trigger.

Also, keep him on a leash in the car always, and do not let him pace from one window to another, it will create anxiety in him and he will start lashing out at others.

Your ability to use the leash as a guiding tool will increase in the whole process, initially, it will take time but after a couple of repetitions, your dog will understand that the behavior is not accepted and he will start to calm down.

With that, you also need to get him neutered if he is not.