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My sweet little puppy just turned 6 months and all of the sudden he feels the need to bark at noises in the house. For example my niece was in the laundry room the other night starting a load and the rest of the family and the dog were watching TV in the living room she started the washer which got his attention and when she came around the corner he went charging hair up barking which really freaked her out. To add to this problem we did a DNA on him which shows good amount of pug with Irish setter and pit bull which you can't tell he looks like a puggle we didn't know for sure cause he was a stray taken in when he was 9wks old .. My husband has never been a fan of pit bulls so what he did the other night has really put him on edge. So if there is any advice anyone could give me on how to calm this behavior down I would greatly appreciate any training tips.

We are also getting him fixed soon will that help?

Please be mature. I asked this same question on yahoo and lord ppl are so immature some times telling me to kill it, whoop it, get rid of it etc. Any good training advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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If the pup didn't continue to threaten your niece after he realized who she was, then there is no problem. It's normal for an adolescent pup to start getting protective and territorial at about that age. It's probable that he just lost track of where everybody was in the house and was startled by noises in the laundry room. It's now merely a matter of teaching what and who to bark at, and how far to carry it.
 

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Hard to say why he was this way, i would consult a trainer that can actually view him. Sometimes people misread the signs in their animals. For example someone came to me once with a 10 month old puppy who was scared of thunderstorms. So they tried things like music and stuff to calm him down and drown out the noise, really they were simply mis reading him. When I finally got to see him during a thunderstorm he was not scare at all but curious as to what that noise was. To him everyone else was panicking around him turning up music and to him he just heard a rumbling coming from outside. I sat there with him and had a comforting hand on him the whole time and we watched the storm come in and go, it was actually quite nice to sit there watch the wheels turn. Once he made the connection we went out and played in the rain. Never a problem since. There are dogs with thunder anxiety, however there are a lot of dogs simply misread and get trained to be anxious by their owners.

Being he has all those breeds in him really doesn't matter a whole lot. It is not genetics that made him act that way. It was something else. You can take him around the house, make a game of it learn what all those noises are. If he gets scared don't feel bad for him. Just sit there patiently and strong and keep making the noises let him investigate. Next time you do laundry take him with you let him watch, get his attention and keep it. He is at a good age where he is curious about new things and will investigate things. Make it a game. Still though if this keeps up consult a trainer that can watch this behavior and read your dog.
 

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Also, puppies go through fear stages. It's part of their development. When they are in a fear stage they can become afraid or startled by things that didn't used to bother them. Puppies are like babies, they go through lots of development.
 

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Yr I would like that my dog was aware & "trying to take care" of the family, in this day & age I would like that. His breed shouldn't be an issue to anyone. Izze will even bark at OH in the morning when it's dark out & she is just going on sight. But once she realizes who he is she's fine.
 

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If I were you, I'd ignore the DNA test results. They're notoriously unreliable.

That being said, your pup is turning into an adolescent. With that comes change. But my money is either with Marsh Muppet or Doxiemommy. Or both.
 

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Since most reputable DNA companies don't even invite pitbull dna to the party (to prevent bsl madness) I highly doubt your testing was accurate to any degree and regardless of that DOGS bark at things when they are startled, go through several fear periods at different stages of their first 1-2 years and can develop fears at any time and for many reasons.

You don't like the behaviour, that is fine, so you start watching carefully for the initial stiffness or alertness that comes JUST BEFORE the rush and bark at the trigger. Then work on figuring out WHAT triggered it, was it a sound, movement, a sudden appearance of a person? And then work on conditioning a different response with food.
It certainly shouldn't be ignored or left to get worse, as my mentor says, Fear Grows Roots...so working on it when it first shows up is important. If you are unsure how to do this then get yourself a good positive trainer and get the hands on help that you need.

A good resource is www.fearfuldogs.com
 

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It doesn't sound on the surface like a the roots of fear aggression/reactivity to me, but im not a professional lol, just Joe Blow with a bit of experience in dogs lol.

But the link that Cracker posted is worth a read... Just in case this TURNS into FA/reactivity then you would know what to do :). But it sounds like it was just a misguided youngster trying to do right by his family.
 

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First thing would be a complete vet check, especailly have the eyes, thyroid (sent to Dr. Dodds), and a tick titre. It's ALWAYS best to eliminate all possibilties of health related conditions that could cause anxiety/fearfulness. Then you need to get familiar with dog body language so you can manage the dog properly to prevent a bite. Catching the dog early in the reactivity is key to counter-conditioning the dogs reactions.

ON TALKING TERMS WITH DOGS - CALMING SIGNALS, 2ND EDITION

CANINE BODY LANGUAGE - A PHOTOGRAPHIC GUIDE

STRESS IN DOGS - LEARN HOW DOGS SHOW STRESS AND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

DOG LANGUAGE - AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CANINE BEHAVIOR

From there you can start counter condioning the reaction, you may need professional guidance.
 

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DNA testing at this point is a money grab. They aren't reliable. And any tendancy your pup may be showing isn't because there may be a bully breed in there.

I have a friend who is a biotechnologist working towards being a geneticist. She's posted before on why canine DNA testing doesn't work, but in the last year has done some scholarly class projects on it.

The science is not there yet for identifying breeds. It's fine for linking parentage of specific dogs or identifiable genetic abnormalities for health issues. She's posted multiple times on the topic before now. This is one of her posts

I have been meaning to make a thread about this for a while now. And acutally I am glad I waited. We are now doing population genetics right now, so I actually have a better handle on why these are a waste of money.

Ok so first things first. One must always look at the source of the information. The companies performing these tests make incredible claims, but.. An example of one of the companies doing these.. Mars 'Wisdom Pannel' is one that taken by your vet and sent off to the company. This is the same company that brings us M&Ms pedigree dog food and Uncle Ben's instant rice. Intersting no?

Ok anyway off to the science...

When they take a sample of a dog, or a human, in order to run a profile, they only look at a small number of alleles (locations on genes) They look at non coding regions of the DNA. So the alleles they use as markers do not code for blue eyes, long hair, brown spots, etc etc.
CODIS for example uses 13 loci to profile people. In lab this year we are profiling ourselves (and I get to profile my son as I got a great DNA sample from a tooth the dentist extracted...) So once you have mapped your alleles at these 13 loci, then you compare them to a database.

This is where the problem arises. Your results are only as good as your database. This is also where it gets tricky with humans in the court system too.

How you 'determine' if your suspect/dog is from a subgroup/breed is to calculate the frequency of those alleles in different databases. So if your alleles are more common in African Americans, then they assume you are African American. (and that can be wrong too) But lets say you only have a good data base of Caucasians, African Americans, native Americans, and Hispanics. You get your allele frequencies back and you compare them and you have most in common with Hispanics...what if you are Polynesian? You can't show up as that, as there is no database (this is all fictional, I am sure there is a Polynesian database somewhere)

Now this issues with the dog DNA tests is that they are only comparing a small number of breeds and the DNA is almost all from US databases. So if your dog has any foreign ancestry that can mess up the results. If your dog has a breed that is not represented in the database then it will mess up the results. Also many breeds share common ancestry, this too can skew results.

When I was researching this on the net there was a news show that covered this. All the news anchors had their dog's DNA tested. It was interesting how the one anchor with a beautiful pure bred golden retrieve was told his dog's DNA showed he was a mix (forget what the mix was, but it was pretty funny) he was obviously upset.


The other main issue I have is that the general public puts so much 'faith' in DNA results (thanx CSI) but DNA results are not that cut and dry. Esp when we are talking DNA + statistics. I get very leery when people start acting like the DNA tests are accurate (this is not to bad on this board) As soon as this gets wide public acceptance, BSL will take on a whole new meaning. That is a scary scary thought.
Purebred AmStaff who got tested http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a4CDvK868w
There is also the issue of foreign ancestry and the likely hood that the small databases these companies are using will likely be primarily north american lineage.

Most testing companies ask you not to send in samples from dogs whose lineage is known. There are multiple news segments, youtube videos and articles now on people who tested dogs who were papered purebreds and came back as mixed breeds of something entirely different that testing companies are starting to look as unreliable as they are. Pay for it for amusement.. sure. To actually know? You'd be better off using a crystal ball.
 

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You can feed a bunch of pups each in their own kennel run for 2 or 3 months and each day a pan is accidentally dropped and there are no problems at all. The pups hear the pan drop but they are bouncing around in their runs happy as larks (hungry larks)

One day you will walk out and start feeding and the accidental pan drops and one of the pups will run to back of kennel run screaming as if somebody kicked him/her. That's the day that one of those fear stages kicked in. This is not exactly what is happening to your pup just an explanation of fear stages and what is possible with young pups/dogs.
 

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My dogs still do this from time to time. I usually go to bed before my husband, and the dogs come with me. Sometimes they forget that he hasn't come to bed yet, and when they hear him coming up the stairs they go on the defense and freak out barking and charging out there until they realize it's him. Then everybody calms down and climbs back into bed. It's a totally normal thing for dogs to do, they are just trying to protect their "pack" (family). It's nothing to worry about and ALL breeds of dog will do this. My dogs are a Lhasa Apso and Bichon.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the replies.. i have been working on the issue by keeping him on a leash when everyone's home at night and watching out for the signs. It's only happened one other time so far and when he saw who it was he stopped..I am also having my niece spend more time with the dog which she didn't do before (teenager) ha ha.
 

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My 6 month old poodle mix has become a lot more "barky" lately. She's become more territorial and is also going through a fear stage where she gets anxious in new places. So far, I really haven't worried too much about it. She isn't aggressive... just loud. She's not territorial of me, just places she feels are her territory (my apartment complex, my car). She barks when people or strange dogs pass her territory. What I try to do is lead her away from the stimulus when she starts barking. That way she doesn't get what she wants when she starts barking (the chance to bark more and "chase" the danger away). She's the one being taken away. I think it's actually starting to lessen her barking problem.

As for her fear -- my solution is just to slowly keep introducing her to new places without overloading her. She does get over her fear of a new place once she's checked out the location. Essentially, I let her figure out there's nothing to fear by letting her investigate.

It sounds like your dog is going through some of the same things. He needed to investigate the strange noise to make sure it wasn't something dangerous or threatening. He figured out it wasn't, and then backed off. That's a good thing. Over time, the fear stage should pass and he should become used to various noises and people. He won't feel the need to investigate so much in order to alleviate his fear because he won't have as much fear.
 
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