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I know, oddly specific isnt it? But I am actually lost at this situation. Usually my thought on this is that I need to control my dog, or puppy during those certain moments but I am thinking, i shouldnt handle this situation or future sitiuations like this anymore. Here is some information about my two dogs:

Dog 1 Chica: Catahoula/Ridgback mix, Age: 1 year, Weight: Mid 50lbs, Energy level: Low-Medium. spayed

Dog 2 Cocoa: Doberman/Pit Bull mix, Age: 7 months, Weight: High 50lbs, Energy Level: Low-medium. not spayed

Dog 2, or Cocoa, is 7 months old, besides me correcting her at certain times she has a good life. I socialize her with dogs and humans. I've taken her to the dog beach in huntington beach, mt. shasta, and the various trails here in chico. She is playful and she is powerful, which should make her psychologically powerful too right? But she has some odd behavior at home if she hears foreign sounds outside our window, or door she barks. When she is in the backyard if hears people or strange noises she barks (that can be problematic since we live in a relatively quiet neighborhood). This entices my other dog to bark as well.

She also shows odd behavior at the park next to my house. Sometimes while we play chuck it or run around at the park, she barks at other people or dogs who sometimes are far away from our play vicinity. For seven months she barks loudly. Sometimes while trekking our six mile hikes she stares at the joggers, bicyclists, or other dog walkers from afar. Majority of the time she doesnt bark at any of them. There have been two instances where she has barked at hikers and bicyclists at the trails.

First there was this out of shape guy trekking the trails, he was coming towards us Cocoa spotted him. We was wearing shades, and a large black shirt, with a hat. Cocoa was cautious and the gentleman asked me "are they friendly", clearly he was a little scared too. Cocoa barked at him for trying to reach out to her. I thought that was very odd.

Second time at the trails, we encountered a bicyclist. As per usual, my dogs and I get out of their way so they can pass us. The bicyclist was coming towards and cocoa was staring. He stops abruptly, gets off his bike, reaches out for cocoa "here there lil buddy" Boom, cocoa starts to bark, this guy then thinks its a good idea to back pedal, swinging is bike as a defensive weapon against my dogs. Keep in mind cocoa and chica are barking from afar. This man feared for his life, as much as I want to call him a huge sissy and socially awkward, i think cocoa shouldnt have barked in the first place. If The bicyclist approached Chica she would of liked his his hand and whatnot. He had the wrong approach and wrong resolve but I believe cocoa shouldnt be so protective. Of what I dont know.

I've been detailed as I possibly could, my girlfriend bought a dog book, decoding your dog. I am going to spay her soon and go to a dog training class. Please send your awesome tips, inputs or advice to me!!! Please and thank you!!!
 

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:D I loved reading this. This is my dog and I's life as well. We even had some idiot on a bike come our way, jump off and throw his bike down, then reach down to pet Tucker in one fast, fluid motion. Then he got offended when Tucker started barking. Like, dude, you freaked ME out when you did that, think of how my five month old puppy feels. Now Tucker is very wary of bikes.

I don't have the best advice since we're working on it our selves, but time and practice has been great for him. I try to be as calm and unsuspecting as I can when I walk him cause now we live in a subdivision as well. Also, he does better when he's tired. When we start our morning run he may bark once or twice at everyone he sees. By the end of it though he doesn't so much as look at them. We had it so that he wasn't barking at all but it's gone out the window since we've moved.

I don't know the specifics of your dog exactly but after having mine since he was 8 weeks I believe that some dogs just aren't social. Since the day I got him I had him in public at a college town and, without overwhelming him, had plenty of people pet and play with him. Since that first day I also remember him sort of blowing people off. He didn't mind them, but he wasn't as interested in strangers like most 8 week old puppies are. He's a great dog but he's been a real challenge to socialize. I took him on a hike yesterday in fact and he either warning barks once at people or stares at them until they pass or I say leave it, so I definitely understand where you're coming from. I want to say Tucker started his barking around 5 months old, so yeah. I'm not a dog expert, and I definitely think you can get her to stop barking, but I think some dogs are just naturally not as social as others. Like people :)

Hope this helped some. I'm gonna be looking for the advice on this thread as well XD
 

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Have you had Cocoa since she was a young puppy? Was she socialised enough with a wide range of people?
Like us, each dog has a different personality and preferences, they have their own individual likes and dislikes. Even when well socialised they still might not like everyone they meet, especially if they don't have a confident nature.
Barking and staring suggests she is anxious and fearful. Don't let strange people pet her, she's clearly indicating that she doesn't want them to and she doesn't like it. They should know better than to pet strange dogs without asking the owner first.

Pups go through a second fear period from about 6 months so that could affect her behaviour and her hormones also could be affecting her.

Its not odd behaviour if she barks at noises outside or at the doorbell. Many dogs do that.

You can use Counterconditioning to help your dog over come anxiety and fearfulness in these situations.
 

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:D I loved reading this. This is my dog and I's life as well. We even had some idiot on a bike come our way, jump off and throw his bike down, then reach down to pet Tucker in one fast, fluid motion. Then he got offended when Tucker started barking. Like, dude, you freaked ME out when you did that, think of how my five month old puppy feels. Now Tucker is very wary of bikes.

I don't have the best advice since we're working on it our selves, but time and practice has been great for him. I try to be as calm and unsuspecting as I can when I walk him cause now we live in a subdivision as well. Also, he does better when he's tired. When we start our morning run he may bark once or twice at everyone he sees. By the end of it though he doesn't so much as look at them. We had it so that he wasn't barking at all but it's gone out the window since we've moved.

I don't know the specifics of your dog exactly but after having mine since he was 8 weeks I believe that some dogs just aren't social. Since the day I got him I had him in public at a college town and, without overwhelming him, had plenty of people pet and play with him. Since that first day I also remember him sort of blowing people off. He didn't mind them, but he wasn't as interested in strangers like most 8 week old puppies are. He's a great dog but he's been a real challenge to socialize. I took him on a hike yesterday in fact and he either warning barks once at people or stares at them until they pass or I say leave it, so I definitely understand where you're coming from. I want to say Tucker started his barking around 5 months old, so yeah. I'm not a dog expert, and I definitely think you can get her to stop barking, but I think some dogs are just naturally not as social as others. Like people :)

Hope this helped some. I'm gonna be looking for the advice on this thread as well XD
Thank you very much man! I am glad to know that I am not the only one who has to work through this. I thought maybe i was doing something wrong. Yes, I will take the time to practice. I believe its the only way to fix a behavior, practice the situations that cause the actions. Hope you're situation gets better.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Have you had Cocoa since she was a young puppy? Was she socialised enough with a wide range of people?
Like us, each dog has a different personality and preferences, they have their own individual likes and dislikes. Even when well socialised they still might not like everyone they meet, especially if they don't have a confident nature.
Barking and staring suggests she is anxious and fearful. Don't let strange people pet her, she's clearly indicating that she doesn't want them to and she doesn't like it. They should know better than to pet strange dogs without asking the owner first.

Pups go through a second fear period from about 6 months so that could affect her behaviour and her hormones also could be affecting her.

Its not odd behaviour if she barks at noises outside or at the doorbell. Many dogs do that.

You can use Counterconditioning to help your dog over come anxiety and fearfulness in these situations.
Wow thanks dibby! I've had cocoa when she was 11 weeks old. I've socialized her with many people, and dogs. You're right some of those instances are because she is anxious. I am going to start training her. I should be a better leader to get a better friend/follower. Thank you for your advice and information.
 

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Welcome to Dog Forum!

The instances you described sound like she was simply startled by what she perceived as weirdness (hat and sunglasses, person and bike suddenly approaching). That doesn't seem too unusual. Neither does barking at strange noises or doors. Some dogs are simply more alert and vocal than others.

Can you explain more about correcting Cocoa? When, why, how?

As Dibby said, dogs go through a second fear period and her reactions could be due to that. If she were my dog, I'd want to work on helping her feel safe. As Dibby mentioned, don't allow people to approach or pet her. You can use counter conditioning to help build positive associations with strange people and objects.

Both of these resources were written for dogs who are already reactive, but contain useful information on the basics of counter conditioning and should help prevent Cocoa from actually becoming reactive.
Reactivity, On Leash Aggression, and Barrier Frustration
Care for Reactive Dogs – prepCARE

Also in the sticky section, you might want to check out Impulse Control and Calmness. Both are excellent skills for any dog.
 

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Welcome to Dog Forum!

The instances you described sound like she was simply startled by what she perceived as weirdness (hat and sunglasses, person and bike suddenly approaching). That doesn't seem too unusual. Neither does barking at strange noises or doors. Some dogs are simply more alert and vocal than others.

Can you explain more about correcting Cocoa? When, why, how?

As Dibby said, dogs go through a second fear period and her reactions could be due to that. If she were my dog, I'd want to work on helping her feel safe. As Dibby mentioned, don't allow people to approach or pet her. You can use counter conditioning to help build positive associations with strange people and objects.

Both of these resources were written for dogs who are already reactive, but contain useful information on the basics of counter conditioning and should help prevent Cocoa from actually becoming reactive.
Reactivity, On Leash Aggression, and Barrier Frustration
Care for Reactive Dogs – prepCARE

Also in the sticky section, you might want to check out Impulse Control and Calmness. Both are excellent skills for any dog.
thanks for the links cookie face. I would say she is alert and more vocal than my other dog chica. When she was young, she would run the opposite direction from a jogger running towards us. She would bark and yelp and run at the same time. I totally just remembered that now. That can explain her nature right now. When she's off lease at the off leash trail in Chico's, upper bidwell park, she does fine certain times. But its just a few instances where she goes on alert mode.

My corrections include the leash tug, the aggressive sit command, or the touch. Sometimes i can see that it can snap her out of her focus. But sometimes I can see that it can frightened her. I keep forgetting, for the physically strong dog that she is today, she was a bit scared when she was younger. Thanks for reading and giving feedback.
 

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I'd stop with the corrections. It's likely just making her more unsure about scary situations. Check out the CARE site linked above.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'd stop with the corrections. It's likely just making her more unsure about scary situations. Check out the CARE site linked above.
I was fearing that, that means i wasnt a good leader for cocoa. I am planning to take her to dog obedience classes. I also need to learn better ways to approach cocoa. Shes not fearful or a scared looking dog. But can her defensive behavior such as barking at people or dogs across the street or the park be based off fear?

Thanks cookie you're a big help.
 

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I'd stop with the corrections. It's likely just making her more unsure about scary situations. Check out the CARE site linked above.
does her being 7 months and not spayed matter at all? My girlfriend keeps saying everything will be fine once she is spayed. I doubt it though.
 

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I was fearing that, that means i wasnt a good leader for cocoa. I am planning to take her to dog obedience classes. I also need to learn better ways to approach cocoa. Shes not fearful or a scared looking dog. But can her defensive behavior such as barking at people or dogs across the street or the park be based off fear?

Thanks cookie you're a big help.
Doesn't mean you're not a good leader / guardian - just means you're still learning. We all are. :)

Yes, acting protective or defensive can (and often is) based on fear. I find that in the moment, fear, excitement, and "aggression" can look similar. Certainly folks with more dog knowledge will notice differences, but it can be difficult if you don't have as much experience with a variety of dogs.

does her being 7 months and not spayed matter at all? My girlfriend keeps saying everything will be fine once she is spayed. I doubt it though.
As was mentioned, age may be a factor as dogs experience a second fear period around this time. I wouldn't count on spaying fixing anything. Work through this using positive / force-free methods and, I'd recommend, consulting a professional who can see your dog in person and offer you practical advice for your situation (see the sticky on finding a good trainer / behaviorist). It will take time (after almost 4 years, I still need to manage my excitable girl on walks but she's come a long way), but it's definitely worth it!
 

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Doesn't mean you're not a good leader / guardian - just means you're still learning. We all are. :)

Yes, acting protective or defensive can (and often is) based on fear. I find that in the moment, fear, excitement, and "aggression" can look similar. Certainly folks with more dog knowledge will notice differences, but it can be difficult if you don't have as much experience with a variety of dogs.



As was mentioned, age may be a factor as dogs experience a second fear period around this time. I wouldn't count on spaying fixing anything. Work through this using positive / force-free methods and, I'd recommend, consulting a professional who can see your dog in person and offer you practical advice for your situation (see the sticky on finding a good trainer / behaviorist). It will take time (after almost 4 years, I still need to manage my excitable girl on walks but she's come a long way), but it's definitely worth it!
thanks cookie. I'm gonna do this the right way.
 

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Hi guys I have just signed up and have no idea if I'm in the right place but I'm desperate for some guidance. I have an almost 6 month male chihuahua named Brows Blue. He is the absolute live of my life and such a happy pup. Up to around 2 weeks ago I have had no real issues with Brows. He has typical pup behaviour for example he is still having accidents in the home and likes to chew fingers which I have been advised not to allow and to give toy in these instances which is what I and anyone else playing with Brows does, however, over the last 2 weeks Brows has been showing aggression in the form on growling,licking lips and more recently snapping when he is tired. He will get up on the sofa for cuddles and randomly begins to growl. In 2 instances this has resulted in a snap drawing blood! I have clearly been doing the wrong thing as I was led to believe I should assert dominance so I would shout at Brows, tap him and put him in the kitchen where he sleeps. Only other times Brows growls is occasionally when he is guarding a toy. He hasn't been nuetered yet and I was under the illusion that this may be the cause but after some research I have now learnt that this could make matters worse? Brows is great with animals, children and strangers and is a happy and loving pup. Please please help, how do I get my happy boy back before this gets worse?
 

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Hi Charli29,

Welcome to the Dog Forum! I'm glad you're here and I hope that we can help you and your dog. Before we start offering advice, I wonder if you should start a NEW thread in this same section - Dog Training and Behavior. It's really much better for us to take each case one by one. Maybe you could start a new thread with the same basic information?

ETA: Look for "New Thread" which is on the left-hand side. It's between the two big sections: Sub-Forums and Threads in Forum.
 

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Thank you so much for your reply. I have tried to do that I just can't seem to figure out how. That option doesn't seem to be available? Or I am just missing it entirely. I seem to only be able to read already created topics?
 

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OK I'll start with PC instructions.

1) Go to the Dog Training and Behavior section of the Forum

2) You'll first see:

Sub-Forums : Dog Training and Behavior

Training and Behavior Stickies
Puppy Help
Housetraining
Training Journal

3) Immediately under the box containing those threads, you'll see small WHITE letters that say "NEWTHREAD" with a small bluish box. To the far right, you'll see page numbers. Click on "NEWTHREAD." Right below that is a grayish bar with the words "Threads in Forum."

The words "NEWTHREAD" are very small and white so they are easy to miss.
 
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