mature and bark

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Postby rockermom » May 21st, 2006, 11:23 am

This may seem stupid question to some but this is like my first dog. One thing about Rocky was he hardly would bark mostly only to go out. Never barks at door bell or knock. But all of a sudden he seems to be hitting teen stage and he has developed a protective or territorial bark. Barking and sometimes seeming a little fearful of some dumb things like a yard statue that I may have placed in a new location. Other day he barked like crazy at my son pulling a wagon through the back yard. That was really strange. He mostly seems to get upset about things being in his back yard. Once he realizes they are just a thing he is over it. Today was the first time he barked out the window that someone was in the driveway talking to my husband. So what I am wondering is this a maturity thing that he is learning to bark to warn me. Does he need to figure out all the new things with spring here. Like new plants leaves on the trees birds etc. I must say it is a little refreshing, I was gettting worried this dog would never warn me or warn off things.
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Postby mnp13 » May 21st, 2006, 11:41 am

Barking is great, just try to keep it confident and not out of fear.

I'm glad he's growing up!
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Postby LindsaySF » May 21st, 2006, 11:49 am

My gut tells me that Rocky is just being exposed to more things being that it is Spring time and people are out and about more (and yard statues are more mobile, while they probably stayed in the same place all winter :)).

When Aidan would bark at things like this I used to think that he was being protective of the house, but after his ATTS temperament test and comparing his behavior to Brutus, I really think these things just scare him and he is trying to get them to go away. His bark sounds menacing, but it is more of a fearful bark than anything. He needs more socialization, and I think once he realizes these things are not a threat, he will bark less. One thing I have noticed is that the hair stands up on his back when he is uncomfortable, so he is not just warning me of something being outside, he is scared.

Brutus's reaction is very different. He just stares at things outside the house with his tail straight up, very alert. He does not bark unless the thing in question approaches the house. Then he lets out the evilest bark I have ever heard, and he runs over to bark at me as well. This is more of a protective reaction and he trying to 'warn' me.

When Rocky barks at these things (wagon, guy in the driveway, etc), does he bark while backing away? Or does he approach the thing while barking? The first one is more of a fearful and defensive reaction to something he has never seen before, while the second is more of a protective bark.

And if he is being protective, then maybe he is just now seeing the house and the backyard as 'his'. :) How long have you had Rocky?


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Postby rockermom » May 21st, 2006, 4:38 pm

I have had Rocky about 7 mos. He was 4 mos old when we got him. As I said he rarely barks and it is still not alot just different. Sometimes he looks out back with his tail straight out. The wagon he probably was scared since he did run off with a growl and came back barking again. The guy in the driveway was kind of far from Rocky's location and Rocky did not seem to be fearful of him. Sometimes it definately seems fearful. Like when he barked at a hanging plant that he was eating, it moved in the wind that scared him he barked at it but once he realized it was ok he stopped. There are times it seems he is being a little territorial because most of the barking is at things out in the back yard and on the back deck. So I think it is all the new sights and sounds. Suppose most he will get use to. What do you do if they seem to be fearful? I have just been telling him to be quiet.
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Postby LindsaySF » May 21st, 2006, 5:18 pm

houlabulla? wrote:Suppose most he will get use to. What do you do if they seem to be fearful? I have just been telling him to be quiet.

I had to giggle at the hanging plant. Aidan has done similar stuff before. :)

The tough thing about fearful dogs is that if you yell at them, they might become more fearful. But if you reassure them, they might think the obsessive barking is ok.

If he doesn't act scared when you tell him to be quiet, I would continue to do that, and try to distract him to something else so he doesn't obsess over what he's barking at. And exposing him to as many strange things as possible (wagons, etc) will also help him to be less afraid in the future.

Anyone else have any advice?


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Postby pitbullmamaliz » May 21st, 2006, 5:23 pm

In my obedience class, she was telling us (and I've read it before) that if your dog is showing fear, go up to the object and act like they're just the silliest dog ever for being frightened. Don't force them to go up to it though - let them do it in their own way.
For example, she said if your dog is afraid of a chair, talk to the dog in a silly tone of voice, and just go up and touch the chair, move the chair, sit in the chair etc. Keep doing that and your dog will realize it's not something to be frightened of.
Inara used to be frightened of cars flying by us on walks (no sidewalks), so originally I would pull her as far off the road as possible, and just talk to her in a normal tone of voice while it flew by. Now it's gotten to the point where we can keep walking just fine, she'll just whirl around to watch it go by - but she doesn't freak out anymore.
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Postby rockermom » May 21st, 2006, 5:27 pm

Ok Lindsay thanks. He is not a very fearful dog. He seems to recover rather quickly once he realizes there is nothing to fear. He had a time when he would be nervous excitable about things but he has become very confident with socialization. I mean this is a dog who takes rides on the quad with my husband. Has run through full size curved agility tunnels without being coaxed just for fun. Yet he barks at a friggen plant. Well that plant was not there the day before. Neither was the frog statue. I had moved it up onto the deck railing. He was not afraid of the statue though more like he was saying what the hell are you doing there on my deck. Why wont you go away. I guess I just wanted to know if this was a normal stage of maturing especially with the fact being a puppy through the winter months.
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Postby mnp13 » May 21st, 2006, 6:01 pm

I think it is completely normal. just keep an eye on him - a plant in a weird place is something to get used to. A plant in a weird place that then suddenly tips over when he goes to investigate it will be a setback.
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Postby LindsaySF » May 21st, 2006, 6:02 pm

If he is not very nervous, then chances are he was not terribly scared, but more upset that things had changed. Some dogs do not like change. :)

Good point pitbullmamaliz! I forgot about that, as usually the things Aidan is afraid of are people in the neighbor's yard or something, so I can't walk up to it. But this would help Rocky with the statue and the hanging plant. If you walk up to it and touch it and stuff, Rocky sees that you are not afraid of it, so he will be less afraid.


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Postby rockermom » May 21st, 2006, 9:04 pm

Thanks all, thats kind of what I had done was to touch the statue and say silly boy its fake. He stoped barking and has since ignored it. Since then I moved it again. I am constantly moving things around in the garden. So Rocky will just have to get use to it.
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Postby LindsaySF » May 21st, 2006, 9:40 pm

houlabulla? wrote:I am constantly moving things around in the garden. So Rocky will just have to get use to it.

Hehehe :D :D
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Postby cheekymunkee » May 21st, 2006, 11:44 pm

houlabulla? wrote:Thanks all, thats kind of what I had done was to touch the statue and say silly boy its fake. He stoped barking and has since ignored it. Since then I moved it again. I am constantly moving things around in the garden. So Rocky will just have to get use to it.


He will. Justice was the same way. The vacuum in the wrong place warranted a bark & a sniff, anything out of place & she was like "whoa.....what's that?" She got used to things being moved around & doesn't think twice about it anymore.
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