I'm currently in the process of moving into a new apartment. My roommate is a stranger who I met on Craigslist, and she has been living in the apartment for the past two years. She has a 6 year old Jack Russell mix.
The first time I came to the apartment to take a look, my roommate-to-be was already outside walking the dog when she greeted me at the parking lot. The dog seemed totally fine.
Today was a different story. I came to the apartment to unload a few boxes. When I walked in, the dog ran up and barked at me like crazy. I basically ignored him, and as my roommate and I started talking, he calmed down a little bit. I noticed him apprehensively giving me the side eye once in awhile. After chitchatting, I went back outside to grab more things. After about 20 minutes, I walked through the door again. The dog runs up and barks again. This time, as I'm carrying a box into my room, he bites my calf. I was wearing stretchy gym pants and mid-walk when he did this, so he got a better grip of my pants than my actual leg (Thank God). I am not sure if he was actually going to bite down. My roommate yelled, "NO! Go back to mommy's room." As she apologized, she said that he's normally not like this when she's not home and mentioned that he's a rescue, so his past could potentially be contributing to his behavior.
Several years ago, I lived with another roommate (also a stranger from Craigslist) who also had a dog. This dog would also bark whenever I came home, but ONLY if my roommate was already home. If she wasn't home, the dog would pay me no attention to coming in. During this time, I spent the majority of my time at my boyfriend's house, so it makes sense that this dog never got "used to me." I get the sense that my new roommate's dog will also be like this, based on what the roommate said today.
These dogs are obviously territorial and are trying to protect their owners. I officially move in in two days, and this incident is sort of making me worried. The last thing I want is to live in an environment where I'll be stressed out about coming home because of my roommate's pet.
How do I establish to the dog that I belong there? Will he eventually calm down after he gets used to my presence? My friend, who fosters dogs regularly, said to do so by taking him on long walks a few times, never reward him or acknowledge him when he's behaving that way but instead push him away from me and ignore him. And when he does behave, reward him with a treat. Any other ideas?