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Old 09-16-2008, 06:12 AM   #1
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Question Is my puppy protecting me?

I know it sounds silly... but I am very curious to find out anyones opinion.

My 6 month old Shih Tzu is sitting beside my feet whilst I watch tv. Suddenly, someone walks past the window, or the dishwasher beeps to let me know it's finished, & my puppy growls & barks his head off!!!

It's not an everyday occurance, but I have learned now that if I calmly pet him to reassure him that everything is okay, he stops. However I am curious as to why he does this. Is he protecting me? Himself? Or is he just plain scared?

Any answers would help...

Thanks,

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Old 09-16-2008, 10:15 AM   #2
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It's hard to say for sure, but many dogs will bark or growl at strange noises, they do it to alert you and to let the noise know they are there.

You'll be able to tell if he's scared by his body language, if his tail is between his legs, he's cowering, or his ears are back then it is probably a fearful reaction. If he's tail up, ears forward and chest pulled up then he's confident and just being a watchdog.

My cocker spaniel barks and growls her head off at noises outside and to the outsider probably sounds really vicious, but as soon as you open the door she's all over the visitor wanting them to fuss her. I don't mind this too much. My collie on the other hand, will quietly growl at noises from behind the sofa.... she's a big wimp!

What you need to watch out for in a breed like yours is him becoming possessive of you around other people. I know quite a few small breed owners who don't see the signs of dominance aggression in their dogs and let it progress until it becomes a real problem. How are you getting on with socialisation?
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Old 09-18-2008, 02:29 AM   #3
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Tilba was barking madly the other day outside. I had a look & couldn't see anything. Hubby went out & said she was barking at the garbage bin in the front driveway. When I got home I tipped it over, she hadn't seen it like that before.
The worst thing you can do when they are doing something like that is to pet them. It's only telling them it's ok. It's best to ignore it.
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Old 09-18-2008, 02:45 AM   #4
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What I would do....

Have some yummy treats handy. If she starts barking at w/e, use a cue word like "thank you" or "enough" or "quiet" then use the treat to get her attention on you. Don't give her the treat until she's focused on you, just kinda stick it in front of her nose so she knows you have it and then bring it towards your fact. Try to say the cue word right when she focuses on you so she makes the connection between the word and stopping barking to give you attention. Once she realizes you have goodies, she'll stop barking. At that point, give her the treat and praise her.

Do this consistently and eventually you'll be able to use your cue word and she'll stop barking.
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Old 09-18-2008, 02:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugardog View Post
What I would do....

Have some yummy treats handy. If she starts barking at w/e, use a cue word like "thank you" or "enough" or "quiet" then use the treat to get her attention on you. Don't give her the treat until she's focused on you, just kinda stick it in front of her nose so she knows you have it and then bring it towards your fact. Try to say the cue word right when she focuses on you so she makes the connection between the word and stopping barking to give you attention. Once she realizes you have goodies, she'll stop barking. At that point, give her the treat and praise her.

Do this consistently and eventually you'll be able to use your cue word and she'll stop barking.
Great advice, I'd forgotten about that. Then you can also put 'speak' on cue.
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Old 09-18-2008, 06:40 AM   #6
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I agree with Sugardog. Often when they see that you are aware of the 'danger' and are taking care of it they stop.
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Old 09-18-2008, 06:51 AM   #7
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I concur with sugardog too, its not good to give a dog the wrong kind of attention when it larms. If you want a calm and quiet dog ignore it period when she starts this behavior. I do with my dogs and now it takes some special sounds to make them react and that is how I want it. I don't want them to bark at people passing by etc then they might wake me up in the middle of the night. They don't bark at the door bell either which I feel is a bliss. They only bark if someone rattles the door and don't come in after 10 seconds cause they know that we have th ekey and one night when I was asleep I had forgot to lock the door and my drunk neighbour stepped off the elevator on my floor instead of his and he was having my apartment one floor up so to speak. Oh boy did he get a good welcome... *LOL* I woke up as I heard the door go SLAM. (she's a 80 lbs rott mix)... I dont like my dogs barky... but that is just me and a few examples for you to how you can make your dog react and I think it is a mix between alerting and being insecure about them sounds..
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