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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, as my dog's gotten older (and I guess more observant of the world around him) he's started barking and pulling away when people pass by him. This is usually when I take him out to go to the bathroom in the morning and at night, but not on normal longer walks. And it's not an aggressive bark, it's just his scared, semi-"bark". I usually just pull him away until the people pass and then return so that he can go to the bathroom. It's just really frustrating because he can't stop focusing on the people long enough to do his business. Any suggestions? Will he just grow out of this? Should I give him a treat when people walk by so that he associates people with something good?

Thanks!
 

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Hi, as my dog's gotten older (and I guess more observant of the world around him) he's started barking and pulling away when people pass by him. This is usually when I take him out to go to the bathroom in the morning and at night, but not on normal longer walks. And it's not an aggressive bark, it's just his scared, semi-"bark". I usually just pull him away until the people pass and then return so that he can go to the bathroom. It's just really frustrating because he can't stop focusing on the people long enough to do his business. Any suggestions? Will he just grow out of this? Should I give him a treat when people walk by so that he associates people with something good?

Thanks!
My dogs were always lackluster about treats so I always had to find other ways besides treats.

What I did was always the "sit" command. My dog is very much used to having to sit anytime we have people pass by on a walk and we can't keep going. It also provided her the security that I'm in charge and she need not worry.

Is there a way you can find a quieter place for him to potty? I am wondering if your own wanting him to hurry is affecting his need to be alert when he relieves himself. I've had several dogs who are "country dogs" and who really did not like to pee or poop when people were looking at them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Actually, I'll take back what I said about walks. He can walk by people, but he doesn't like people on his "tail". He gets nervous and I usually let people pass.

As for treats, he loves them!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm in a big apartment complex and there's always someone walking by. But yea, I guess I could take him behind our unit-there's a grassy area there with less traffic. But I hate to avoid people, I'd like him to get used to that.

Well, I am usually in a hurry when I take him out but I don't know if that's what you mean? Or you mean me pulling him away when people come?
 

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I'm in a big apartment complex and there's always someone walking by. But yea, I guess I could take him behind our unit-there's a grassy area there with less traffic. But I hate to avoid people, I'd like him to get used to that.

Well, I am usually in a hurry when I take him out but I don't know if that's what you mean? Or you mean me pulling him away when people come?
That's what I mean. You are thinking "hurry up dog" and he's thinking "OMG OMG there's something to be alert about". Dogs don't have the reasoning skills we do. You may think you are giving off a "hurry" vibe but the dog is getting a "be alert" vibe.

Let the dog poop in peace. There's no need for him to have to be used to socializing when he's doing his business.

If he's good on normal walks, this isn't an issue to die on the hill over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I took him out back where there's less traffic and all was good until I walked him back from there to the apartment. We passed a woman and he pulled me so hard to get away. SO I guess this isn't just something he's afraid of when he's going to the bathroom, seems to be an every day occurrence. But like I've said before, he's very social in daycare and at dog socials, and loves to play with other dogs. I think I've noticed that he's OK with people as long as they also have a dog. If they don't, he can be spooked if someone comes up to say hi to him. He didn't use to be so hesitant around strangers. But I guess it's just like kids-they grow up and become more aware and suspicious and maybe this is what he's doing? I just hope he stops pulling me so hard because he's so nervous. If I didn't have a good handle on the leash, it'd rip out of my hand and he'd be gone...
 

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first, how old is your dog ?
Second, building off what @seashoreduck mentioned, are you sure your dog is tensing when a stranger approaches, or are you subconsciously tensing, and relaying that through the leash to your dog? One of the few things "He shall remain nameless" gets right is we communicate a lot, both consciously and subconsciously, with our dogs via the leash .
 

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I took him out back where there's less traffic and all was good until I walked him back from there to the apartment. We passed a woman and he pulled me so hard to get away. SO I guess this isn't just something he's afraid of when he's going to the bathroom, seems to be an every day occurrence. But like I've said before, he's very social in daycare and at dog socials, and loves to play with other dogs. I think I've noticed that he's OK with people as long as they also have a dog. If they don't, he can be spooked if someone comes up to say hi to him. He didn't use to be so hesitant around strangers. But I guess it's just like kids-they grow up and become more aware and suspicious and maybe this is what he's doing? I just hope he stops pulling me so hard because he's so nervous. If I didn't have a good handle on the leash, it'd rip out of my hand and he'd be gone...

Well...I've always had "people dogs" my dog loves people unless they already have a dog and she is like "bah, occupied".

I would be really nervous over a behavior change like that. Dogs don't normally go from liking people to going crazy to get away from them. I would see if you can practice with people and if this behavior persists get him to a trainer. He could be going through a phase, but thats a puzzle. :ponder:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi, he's 8 months, so I realize he's still a baby. Just seems to be getting more scared instead of less scared.

I agree it could be me sometimes, but last night and this morning when we just happened to pass somebody, I had no reaction that would've made him feel that way. He just started pulling me away as they were approaching us from down the street.

Yea, just seems strange. And I think I mentioned this before, he gets really nervous when people are walking behind him, too. He loves my family though!
 

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That can be a very pivotal age, expose, expose, expose. The more exposure it gets to different enviroments, the more confidence it will gain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I agree. I thought I was doing enough with the puppy socials that I started at 3/4 months and now the daycare and dog parks, and sometimes walks. But I probably need to do more walks, where are there are more people around him than dogs.

Thanks!
 

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walks are probably the most important thing, it exposes them to the unexpected, which everytime nothing happens it builds confidence. And careful with the dog parks, disaster waiting to happen, especially at this vulnerable age . How many times a day do you walk your dog ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
On the days he goes to day care, I haven't walked him. As for the other days, I try to take him on a walk downtown that lasts about 20 minutes or so. I do that same walk on weekends.

There are probably a couple of nights during the week where I really don't get a good walk, maybe a shorty around 10 minutes. He seems to hate the dark, and by the time I get home, it's so dark already. He hasn't really made me want to walk him because he's so nervous.

I really should start making more time in the morning for a morning walk.
 

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Well that's a good start, my advice would be, don't do the same walk, go a different direction, mix it up, variety is key. If he fears the dark, go out in the dark, if only for five minutes to start, lot of treats, pets, reassurance, maybe walk with a flirt pole for distraction. It's all about facing the unknown (fear) conquering it, and realizing it wasn't so bad, that builds confidence :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Morning would really have to be the same walk since I don't have time to drive around to a different spot each time before work unfortunately. And I myself am definitely a creature of habit so we walk the same place usually in the evenings. That one I can definitely change up :)

Also, what's a flirt pole?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
What would you recommend when he starts barking and pulling away? Do I sit him down, pet him, and reassure him everything's ok?
 

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I am dealing with the same thing with my 8 month old puppy but to a lesser scale. Look at the CARE for reactive dog's program... I know Trucker's Mom uses it and so does the behaviorist who I work with for my dogs on occasion.

You need to start by identifying specific triggers. How far away is the person before he starts to pull away and get nervous? What kinds of people? Is he more sensitive to loud people or being "sneaked up" on?

Then, start slowly desensitizing him to these things using the program. I would suggest asking a trainer to work with you for a session- you can probably take it for yourself after one or two meetings.

For now, remove him from situations that make him nervous. Don't make him struggle through it- take him farther away from the person or take him inside. If you can catch him in a place where he sees a person but doesn't reach his threshold where he displays fear behaviors- GIVE TREATS!!!
 
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