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Hello, I’m new here and have a question about our 8 month old shelter dog, Frieda, who’s been with us for about 5 weeks. We got her partly to help with our other dog’s separation anxiety. Worked like a charm – he’s really calm now when I come home from work, but of course now we have all the challenges of educating a new puppy.

One challenge is her barking in the car. I’m pretty sure it’s territorial barking – it only happens when she sees another dog (not people) nearby. She was afraid of the car when we first got her, but she’ll joyfully jump in now, so I don’t think it’s fear. She’s still difficult to crate, so for now, that won’t work, and anyway, we don’t have room for two dogs in the car if they’re crated.

Usually, I’m driving and the only person in the car, so my ability to react is limited. Mostly, I just say “quiet” and keep driving, hoping she’ll lose sight of the other dog soon, but sometimes the barking continues even after the other dog is gone. And once, the other dog was in the next car, who drove along beside us for quite a long while.

I’m not completely new to dogs, but this has me stumped. To get her used to getting in the car, I spent a lot of time sitting in the trunk with her, praising and treating and practicing getting in and out. I thought of doing this with dogs walking by, but it was hard to control – only my friends’ dogs walked by (we planned this) and she didn’t react to them. I’d appreciate any thoughts or advice
 

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Does Freida do the same if she sees other dogs through a window in the house or from behind a fence or on leash ever?

Good job on acclimating her to the car and of course the rescue.
 

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Hello DriveDog,

Thanks for responding.

Frieda's behavior has developed a little since I wrote the first post. I haven't needed to take her with me in the car much, but where she was fairly quiet before, she's starting to bark more in other situations: when she's in the yard she barks at people and dogs who walk by our house (we unfortunately live on a high traffic road), but while she barks a bit at people, she goes crazy when there's a dog. She also went ballistic once when she saw our neighbor through the back fence - I had to take her inside to calm her down.

On walks, she's better. When we're walking past someone else's yard and the dog behind the fence barks, she's fine and doesn't respond. When we meet other dogs out on a walk, she's friendly and sometimes play barks, but isn't aggressive.

We don't have windows with a view to the road, so I don't know if she would bark there. When the doorbell rings, she barks once or twice, but is nonaggressive and easy to control when I open the door.

In general, I think she's settling in and with increased confidence she's starting to challenge me. A few weeks ago she would sit and come without hesitation and wouldn't dare get on the sofa. Now she takes her time to sit, sometimes walks in the other direction when I call her, and tries to jump on my lap when I sit down to read or watch tv. I'm not too worried about that - with time we'll get the rules clear. But I really don't know how to approach the barking problem.

Thanks again for any thoughts.
 

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You've been together 5 weeks and she's 8 months old, that's quite a volatile dynamic of sorts. I think your intuition regarding her "settling in " has merit to it and is a phase where opportunity exists. 8 month old pup is testing boundaries with it's passing into adolescence and with 5 weeks of a new relationship you have an opportunity IMHO. I'd up the training and put the pup through some NILF exposure. The changes you make today will be infinitely easier versus letting undesirable behavior develop and dealing with it later. I don't know if this will be well received but by you setting boundaries and training the pup appropriately, you will take a lot of pressure off the pup with your leadership.
 

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I think part of the problem is her age..you have a teenager on your hands. I have a 'teenager' too and you have my sympathies. What breed is she? My teenager is german shepherd cross and her guarding instincts have started to kick in..she will bark at the boundries of our home, and in the car when she feels she needs to guard us/the car..sounds like yours is doing a similar thing :)
 

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Thanks for your comments, DriveDog and fruit loop. I've had some internet issues, so I've only just been able to read them and respond.

Yes, Frieda is definitely displaying teenager behavior. We don't know what breed she is. She may well have some shepherd in her, I'm guessing a good handful of terrier. She comes from Martinique. We live in France and because the shelters in their overseas territories are small, they occasionally round up the strays and ship them to mainland France for adoption. We assume this is one reason she doesn't like the crate and was afraid of riding in the car. Not a lot of information available about her origins, but they at least had a birthdate, and her first vaccinations were at 9 weeks, so we think maybe they picked up her mom and she was born at the shelter.

I'd never heard of NILF, before but looked it up. It sounds like the philosophy we learned when we were training our first pup, Migo (now 8 yrs old). It worked well with him, even though our kids had trouble sticking to it. Without small children in the house, it's been easier to do with Frieda.

We've just got her enrolled in a pup school. I'm excited because they have groups at varying ages/levels and an agility club as well. I'm feeling better about the barking - she's started lying down in the car so she doesn't see out. Barking in the garden is still something to work on though, as is mouthing/nipping when she greets us.

Thanks again for the good comments.
 
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