Growling and Barking at Strangers
DogForums.com is the premier dog Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Growling and Barking at Strangers

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    6

    Growling and Barking at Strangers

    My dog is 9 months old. In general she is very well behaved and obedient. The only problem that we have is that she growls at strangers and other dogs. Her hair on her back stands up and everything. At first I thought it was because she was scared but now I'm not so sure. We have a screen porch where she sits and looks out the door. I don't see how she could be scared of someone when she is in an enclosed, protected space. now I think it might be aggression.

    She does this at the dog park too. What I don't get is that once the stranger gets close enough for Suki to sniff them, then she licks them to death!

  2. Remove Advertisements
    DogForums.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Senior Member BoxMeIn21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Fraggle Rock
    Posts
    3,856

    Re: Growling and Barking at Strangers

    Dogs go through two fear imprint stages, the latter being one around her age. The second one is normally the one you notice because what your dog didn't even flinch at before, they are actually starting to be unsure of or down right scared of. From what you are describing (and I am by no means a behaviorist), it sounds like she is actually unsure of what's coming, not aggression. And especially since you say she falls all over herself when the actual stranger comes to greet her. Which is good.
    What you need to do is totally ignore her and remain confident and upbeat. You might even bump it up a bit by standing outside yourself and saying hello to some of the strangers and ask them to have a quick convo with you, but to totally ignore your dog. What you are doing is showing her through your own actions that there is nothing to be afraid of. You might seem a little silly at first, but once you explain what you are doing you might get some cooperation. Rowdy got this way at the door for just a short period - so hopefully she will get over it quickly as well. What I would do at the dog park, is sort of the same thing; get a stranger to come up to you and just talk to you - ask them to not even look at your dog until she initiates contact and then have the stranger bend down at the knees and turned to the side (so your dog and the stranger are side by side). This far less threatening to an unsure dog than getting greeted head on.
    That's my two cents...

  4. #3
    Member Sookie's mom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    California
    Posts
    99

    Re: Growling and Barking at Strangers

    This is funny because the other Sookie's mom is having the same trouble. My 8mo old lab/pit was perfectly friendly and submissive when I adopted her when she was 5mos. I found that some of the growling was just her way of "talking". Over the last three months she started raising her hackles and when she had that look about her, it was hard to judge what was the talking and what was aggression. Strangers would come up to us, and like yours, the growling would stop and the licking would start. Around other dogs she pitches a fit. The only thing I've been doing when we're around other dogs is make her sit/stay and pet and praise her for sitting and give her a treat or two while ignoring the dog. Since I started doing this we can walk right by the neighbors dog with nothing but a glance.
    Good Luck. This is so frustrating.

  5. #4
    Senior Member skunkstripe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    up in the frozen north
    Posts
    373

    Re: Growling and Barking at Strangers

    Quote Originally Posted by Suki's Moms View Post
    My dog is 9 months old. In general she is very well behaved and obedient. The only problem that we have is that she growls at strangers and other dogs. Her hair on her back stands up and everything. At first I thought it was because she was scared but now I'm not so sure. We have a screen porch where she sits and looks out the door. I don't see how she could be scared of someone when she is in an enclosed, protected space. now I think it might be aggression.
    It does not sound like aggression to me either. But is it possible that she is being protective as opposed to being scared? Like she is saying "I smell you out there, get away from my territory?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Sookie's mom View Post
    This is funny because the other Sookie's mom is having the same trouble. My 8mo old lab/pit was perfectly friendly and submissive when I adopted her when she was 5mos. I found that some of the growling was just her way of "talking". Over the last three months she started raising her hackles and when she had that look about her, it was hard to judge what was the talking and what was aggression. Strangers would come up to us, and like yours, the growling would stop and the licking would start. Around other dogs she pitches a fit.
    I am so glad I found someone else whose dog "talks" by growling! Our Golden does the same thing! She makes a ferocious sounding noise, but it is her way of showing that she is happy! A friend of mine has a Golden who does the same thing-"growls" at you when he wants you to play!
    Get in touch with your inner canine!

  6. #5
    Senior Member BoxMeIn21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Fraggle Rock
    Posts
    3,856

    Re: Growling and Barking at Strangers

    That is too funny! Rowdy does this low growly sound too - it actually sounds like Chewbacca from Star Wars - it's cute.

    "Please allow me to adjust my pants, so that I may dance the good time dance.
    "


  7. #6
    Senior Member Tess&Coco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Oxford, England
    Posts
    631

    Re: Growling and Barking at Strangers

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxMeIn21 View Post
    That is too funny! Rowdy does this low growly sound too - it actually sounds like Chewbacca from Star Wars - it's cute.
    That's amazing! I was just about to post in reply to Skunkstripe that Coco makes this Wooky (sp?) noise when she's first let out of her crate. It's like she's greeting us. She only does it at that specific time (although she's let out of her crate 3-4 times every 24hrs).
    He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.
    Unknown Author

  8. #7
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    *here* pointing to palm of right hand
    Posts
    3,312

    Re: Growling and Barking at Strangers

    ok there is a difference between talking and a low growl, barking and hackles raised at strangers.....

    while this is likely not a sign of things to come it is something that needs to be nipped in the bud.....

    so ok first no coddling.... when you dog does this just keep going.... as if nothing is happening and if you hadn't noticed.... DO NOT I repeat DO NOT say anything like "ooohhhh baby its ok..... they won't hurt you"................. in that sing song voice that people do.... when you do that you are teaching your dog they have a reason to be afraid.

    Rather, carry a pocketful of treats.... and when you see another person and you think your dog has seen them BEFORE your dog reacts .... tell them what a good dog they are and give lots of praise and treats..... this must be done before they react..... so it will be your job to keep an eye out for people that your dog might respond to..... what you want to teach your dog is that ALL good things happen when they meet a stranger..... if you have people around that know your dog is a big wuss or who are dog savvy... then ask them to come over.... give your dog a treat..... not to touch him or look at him but just give him the treat while you are in control..... as long as you are sure that this is just a big show.

    Shalva at around the same age got a little weird about strangers..... we coiuld walk around a dog show ring without a problem at all but if she saw one individual or two people walking towards her she would get VERY nervous..... its a fear period that lasts until around 13 mos. so you need to work with it.... if you do it wrong you can end up with a dog that doesn't like people..... or you can end up with Shalva who just is beside herself now when she meets others.....

    however, I clearly remember her being in the back of the car.... not crated at that time and a man and his son approached the car at a dog show..... they weren't even coming to my car but walking by....

    I asked him if he liked dogs (assuming he did it was a dog show after all) and if he would do me a favor please and give my dog a treat.... I explained quickly that she was nervous of strangers but wouldn't bite or be aggressive and he gave her the treat.... gave her a second to collect herself and then was able to pet her just brieflly......

    if you do this and you know the person well ask them not to make eye contact.... just give the treat.... say good girl or good boy and walk away....

    again the goal is "all good things happen when we meet strangers"


    good luck
    s

  9. #8
    Member Sookie's mom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    California
    Posts
    99

    Re: Growling and Barking at Strangers

    Geez.........Yesterday while on a walk, Sookie saw a dog before I did. It was a tiny little white dog being walked by a suddenly very nervous woman. Luckily, they were across the street. She scooped up her dog and kept on going. On the other hand, until I got Sookie under control, I felt like I was a water skier and my dog was the boat. Embarrassing!

  10. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    29

    Re: Growling and Barking at Strangers

    Yeah..you want to nip the growling in the bud and quick. I had to put down a very good dog because of this behavior. We had a lab/chow mix that was perfectly trained in everyway except one...he wasnt people trained. Bear, was around people for the first few months then after he was house broke we kept him at home and he became very protective of the house. At first we thought it was harmless when he growled at someone walking by or knocking on the door. If the person came in the house and we assured Bear they were OK he would be just fine with them... On the other hand if I didnt say anything when a stranger knocked he would be furious trying to get to them. He was pretty much fine around other animals just not people.....
    My brother and sister in-law were visiting when Bear carried in a ball of wax from a candle. Bear knew these people even slept on the floor next to the bed. Bear came in the living room dropped the ball of wax on the floor in a way of saying "hey, play with me"... my sister in-law picked up the ball of wax and Bear almost took her face off... Fortunate for us I was in the room and reacted VERY quickly or the situation could have turned very ugly in a hurrry. She was obviously scared to death and more over they have 2 small boys that were now very unsure and scared of the dog. Well, unfortunately we had to put Bear down, we just didnt trust him anymore and this was just the tip of the iceburg..he really was showing the Chow side of him that was not a very pretty site. I hated letting go of the dog but I belive I did the right thing in the end before someone got seriously hurt by him..
    I hope you do the right thing and get this corrected as soon as possible. I would definately take the dog around people as much as possible and get him associated with different faces so he doesnt have the same problems. We made sure and positive with our dogs now that they are very well people oriented and they get along with other dogs...when they see people tails are wagging and they greet people and dogs in a very friendly manner that says "Pet me"!!!!!! Im Friendly!!!!!!

  11. Remove Advertisements
    DogForums.com
    Advertisements
     

+ Reply to Thread

Quick Reply Quick Reply

  • Decrease Size
    Increase Size
  • Remove Text Formatting
  • Insert Link Insert Image Insert Video
  • Wrap [QUOTE] tags around selected text

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
SEO by vBSEO 3.5.2 ©2010, Crawlability, Inc.