Meter Reader Beware

Posted by qkwyler
Apr 3, 2008
OK, I need help! I am at my wits end at this point.

Pistol bit the meter reader again today. It was my fault. The dogs were both at the back door barking like they do when they see a squirrel. I foolishly opened the door without looking out first. As soon as I opened the door I realized the meter reader was out there.

He actually started greeting the dogs and being friendly to them, but Pistol managed to get behind him and bite him on the back of his leg before I could get to him. He bit him pretty hard. He said "Ouch, he really bit me hard". I asked if the skin was broken and he said he didn't think so. Of course he was wearing jeans.

I am just a mess - I am so upset to have a dog I can't trust. At this point I am really not so concerned about other dogs. I usually have them on a leash when we are outside our yard where they encounter other dogs. But with people, I can't always have him on a leash. I mean, I am afraid that even if he seems ok with someone who comes in the house at first, he might change his mind and bite them.

He always bites from behind. He usually waits until they turn their back and then bites the back of their legs. How should I have reacted to this? I just grabbed him up and turned my attention to the meter reader to make sure he was ok, then put Pistol in the house.

Would making him sleep in his crate away from our bed help his self-confidence or make it worse?

Thanks for any help, Kathy
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Apr 4, 2008
Hi Kathy,

I am sorry to hear that Pistol bit the meter reader again...

Is he the only person Pistol bit before? If so, can you have him help Pistol to learn that he is a good person? Is he always wearing jeans? Is there any patterns that make Pistol act up like that?

Holly, my 5 yr old border collie, that we rescued almost 4 yrs ago, had bad experiences with men, probably beat up with a broom or something in the past. She was afraid of men and she still barks at stranger men in the dog park once in a while.

When she does that, I rush to the man and explain about Holly's possible trauma and hand him a few dog treats and ask him to give them to Holly without staring her. All the men I asked were happy to help me. Once he gives a treat or two, and Holly sees he and I converse friendly, Holly learns that he is a OK person and stops barking at him.

I wonder if you can ask your meter reader something like that?

If you can not trust Pistol, have him on a short leash and walk up to the man as you keep telling Pistol in a joyful voice like "Lets go say hi to so and so". Have Pistol sit next to you while you talk to him in a friendly voice. Hand him some treats and give Pistol one by one. If you are afraid Pistol might bites his hand, you can always protect his hand with yours, or even he can toss the treat to Pistol at the beginning.

Not to change the subject, how does pistol act at the vet? when his nails clipped? He needs to get used to those things as well. It looks so desperate to you right now but he will learn to be friendly to people if you keep working on it. Good luck
Posted by qkwyler
Apr 4, 2008
Thanks for the encouragement.

Actually Pistol bit this same meter reader last month, but I think he had just nipped him before. This time he bit hard. And no he is not the only man he has bitten. We have had a couple of other service people in the house - repairmen etc and it is always an issue. He always barks aggressively and on a couple of occasions had biten. I have learned now though to have him on leash when I know someone is coming. But the meter man showed up unexpected.

I will take your suggestion and try having him and any other visitors give the treats in the future. I don't know why he hates men so much. He loves my husband and actually has been fine with some other men, like my dad, brother etc. But they have never been to our house. They live away and we go to visit them in their house. It is when a man comes into his yard or house that he comes unglued.

But he has also barked at and tried to bite little boys on a couple of occasions, so it is not just service/repair men.

I really don't think he was abused before we got him at 10 wks. The people at the kennel seemed really nice - but you never know I guess.

Anyway, thanks for the website you mentioned. I will check it out. I get so frustrated reading all the replies from the moderators. All they do is copy in the same Alpha steps as if every problem has the same solution.

Thanks again,
Posted by Todd
Apr 4, 2008
HI there Kathy

Thanks MaxHollyNoah for your ideas they sound great and i hope they help.
Kathy the reason why we use the same alpha stuff and obedience training is that it is essential for any behaviour problem.

I have fixed hundreds and hundreds of problems and have developed methods that work in nearly all situations and these are the ones i pass on to you guys. These methods will fix 90% of problems and that is why at the end of my posts i mention i will be here to help anymore if they don't work.

I am sorry that Pistol bit the meter reader but i think Max's ideas sound great so i hope they help