Chow Mix Behavior Question


New Member
Hello all,

In one of my classes I have a chow/shep mix who is starting to show guarding behavior ie growling at strange people that approach him too close.

He is very people shy as chows are noted for being, he does not like strange people to pet him and if they push his comfort zone too much he will growl but he is also starting to growl at other times. I have been working with him for about 6 weeks now so I am not a stranger so to speak but he has shown teeth at me this last week and I was standing on the other side of the room. Now I was purposely looking right at him to see how long it would take to trigger him as this behavior is becoming more frequent.

I have done some research on chows so I am becoming a bit more familiar with the breed. He is a very sensitive dog though, he is not big on loud sounds etc. He plays with other dogs fine and at the dog park he will go lean on the owners of the dogs he is best friends with but no one else.

I want them to be able to channel the guarding behavior so they are not always having to worry about when the guarding behavior will manifest so I told them to check out some positive reinforcement only schutzhund training.

Do you guys think this is a good idea? He is about 8 months old now and so I want them to get a handle on this early before he matures.

Any other suggestions. I have already had them have strangers give him treats thinking it was just timidity but he will take the treat and shy away and now that the guarding behavior is manifesting I do not want to force him to have people try to pet him as when he gets pushed too hard he really growls and wants people to back off.

He has growled a couple of times in the store at people just walking by his owners. He has not lunged yet or tried to bite but I want to give them tools.

He has never been abused.

Thanks for the input.


Experienced Member
Some ideas

A click to calm yahoo group

McDevitt's youtube page [media][/media]


Rec reading for CAT and fear/aggression issues there's a nice biblio here


New Member
UPDATE on Beanie (his name hehe)

So we had class today and I used the watch me along with a bit of the CAT concepts. I will break it down by person as I had three employees from the store be the "bait people" :)

First some good news. When I joined them Beanie came right up to me and sniffed me, I gave him a treat and he allowed me to pet his back and the top of this head. I gave him about 4 treats and he allowed me to pet him each time. We were all excited about that. His owners told me a bit of good news as well. There was an older lady who was holding a small puppy that they came across and Beanie walked right up to her,sniffed the puppy a bit and was fine being by her. She did try to pet him, he shied but not as much as usual.

I had emailed some of the responses here and some info about chows to the pet parents last night so they had an idea of what we were going to do and they liked the watch me idea.

I started with me: I had them put Beanie in a sit, I approached and if he started to shy a bit they said watch me, we clicked and treated. I wanted to get him getting the concept with someone he was comfortable with first. After a few times he was looking up to the pet parents as I approached. So I moved to the next level, I stopped and stared at him, when he started to get growly I turned away from him, and when he calmed down I walked away.

The first person from the store I used was Annemarie: I explained to her what we were doing and how she should act. I had everyone stop about 5 ft away from him to not push his threshold too much. She approached, Beanie started to shy away, the pet parent said watch me, Beanie did, C/T and Annemarie stopped. I had Annemarie continue to look at him, not in a overly dominant way but how people would on the street. When he got growly I had her turn, he calmed down I told her to walk away. We did this with Annemarie about 4 times. As we progressed Beanie started to look at the pet parent upon Annemarie's approach and did not shy away as much. He also stopped growling as soon as the person turned to the side

Second person: Jennifer: Same routine as above. The difference became that Beanie's hesitated a bit more on the growly. He would still go there but was not as intense. Beanie also started shying away less as he started to look at the per parents more. He would growl but the pet parent could say watch me and redirect him. I had Jennifer do this about three times and then gave Beanie a break.

Third person: Milli: Same routine however Beanie was less growly and would growl and look up at the same time. He also was looking up a lot more on his own when people approached.

So there was quite a bit of progress in 45 minutes.

I told the pet parents to do this with people they and he know a couple of time during the week. They have my number so they can call if they have problems. I will probably call in a few days to check on them.