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Discussion Starter #1
We're having a little issue recently with Caeda. She seems to bark, or chuff (yup, at 6 months she chuffs like a grown up and sounds BIG!) at LOTS of stuff. People don't really seem to be a problem, mostly vehicles pulling into the driveway (shared with 3 other houses, so not all coming here), and any new thing. The best example is the other night a friend dropped off some large wooden benches for us. Caeda didn't see them the night they were dropped off, but in the morning we brought her out on her tether while we sat outside for our morning coffee. She saw the benches, got as close as she could on her tether (about 10m away) and first barked, then chuffed at them and stared VERY intently at them. Not aggressive, just alert. She isn't a scared dog at all either. If there is something that makes her nervous (which we see from her calming signals), she runs at it or walks towards it and barks at it! Usually she will be in front of us when she does this, which is part of the reason we think she might think she is guarding us.
We need to train her to not do this! Not just when we are home to tell her "Shhhh" or "hush" which does work to some degree. Hints, suggestions, experiences, anecdotes? It seems like such an abstract thing to train so we're pretty stumped.
 

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I don't know how much help I can be, but I would work on this every time it comes up. It sounds to me like she is nervous/unsure of changes around the house (which is normal and understandable) and may also be trying to figure out her place in your family.

As for the example you gave, I would suggest letting her explore whatever it is that is causing her to alert. Give her lots of leash and freedom to smell and explore the object. If she seems uncertain and does not want to approach, you can do some gentle coaxing and use food rewards for every movement she makes towards the item. You want to build her confidence and trust and by showing her she can 'conquer' the scary item. As for the barking, I think it depends a lot on the situation. With the benches, I would not cue her to hush. She is barking for a reason and more than likely, once she gets acquainted with the item and realizes it causes no threat, she will stop barking.

I think its important to do this often, with every single item she may look timid about. I didn't catch a lot of the cues that Ozzie gave as a puppy and now I have 100# to try and console when a wayward leaf comes flying by. (thats an exaggeration but not by much :p)

As for the people coming/going from the driveway.... pff... I'd love to know!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well... she saw the benches, sniffed and didn't really care much lol.
Another "guarding" type thing she did was when we had her at a kennel overnight a few weeks ago. We got there late at night, it was dark, and we went up the walkway to where the kennel was (it was brightly lit there). The two people from the kennel were there with her offleash in the enclosure. She heard people coming but didn't know it was us. She sat right down in front of the other people and barked her "way too big for her puppy size" bark. Then she heard our voices, wagged and ran for us :D
Although it seems sweet that she wants to be protective it worries me that it is an exhibit of fear, despite the fact she NEVER cowers, puts her tail between her legs or runs away. She barks and faces things head on. A big worry with vehicles! We do cue her to hush with the neighbor's vehicles going by because we don't want her to be a nuisance, but taking her to the benches was a great idea.
I know we haven't socialized her as much as she needs to be (taking her into a city environment hasn't happened enough yet), but we thought she had been socialized enough to vehicles going by, and to well.....grass growing lol....We don't want her warning us of the potential danger of every leaf that falls later this year, so we're trying to figure something out. We don't think just strapping on a citronella bark collar is the right way to go though either (a friend suggested this).
 

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I think this is a normal fear cycle behavior. Her vision is getting better and when she sees new things, she reacts. She will grow out of this stage, but you can help things by socializing her and exposing her to as many different experiences, things, and people as you can. In this way, you 'train' her that new things aren't scary, because 'new' is an everyday experience for her.
 
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