Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
215 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Naima's now just about 7 mos. old. Aside from some occasional barking in her crate (generally doesn't last too long) and some other random times every so often, she hasn't been a big barker.

In the past week or so, though, she's been finding more things to bark at. Last night in bed she did it a few times--once when some people were yelling outside (perfectly reasonable), and then again when she was asleep and I guess I moved suddenly to look at my phone. This morning she barked when the phone rang (it seemed to startle her), but then stopped. Most of the time she's incredibly friendly with strangers, but every so often she'll see someone (usually kind of in the distance) and start barking at him or her.

She also does some "demand barking" when she wants me to get her food or something, but we've been working on that (thanks to tips from people here), and it's not much of an issue any more.

I know that at some point puppies go through a phase where they're easily startled by things, so I'm assuming that that's part of what's going on. When she barked at the people outside, I took a look and calmly told her it was OK and thanked her for saving our lives, and after a while she chilled out. As long as it doesn't get out of hand, I certainly don't mind her barking a little when she thinks there might be a threat of some kind.

But I'm wondering how I should handle it in the other situations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,699 Posts
It seems at that age they are starting to notice more things about the world, and feel they have to bark and make noise about it. They are basically obnoxious teenagers. With time and training they do grow out of it.

Yes, puppies do go through fear impact periods. There's one around 6-9 months, 12 months, 14 months, and I believe 18 months (not entirely sure, but you can google it). Sometimes you notice, sometimes you don't. You have a few more to go, lol. In those times, try not to expose her to bad experiences as she could remember them forever. What I've noticed during these periods is increased reactivity to things that previously were not an issue, reactivity to nothing (seriously), and just generally bratty behavior.

I would suggest installing a good "Look at me" command for these situations. If you see someone approaching, issue the command and reward for compliance. Continue treating and praising for calm behavior as you pass the thing. Also reward and praise for looking at the thing and returning attention to you. You can look up LAT (I think that is what it is called) where they have more information on that. Also, sometimes allowing them to observe or have a freak out if necessary is helpful in deciding from themselves what is a threat and what is not. If none of the above work, it's time for a nap.

Other things I've noticed in this maturity phase is barking and having a tantrum at something, but continuing with that tantrum even after the stimulus has passed. Usually happens when they are overtired. Make use of the "Time out." The barking at people one day, and then wanting to make friends the next is pretty normal. Freaking out if people are in a place there is not usually people, or a box is in a place there is not usually a box. Lunging at the end of the leash at....a plant. Being deathly afraid a weed that is kind of tall. You will wonder if your dog is going nuts.

The demand barking will get worse in my experience even if she was mostly done with that. I found that ignoring demand barking to play for 30 minutes straight usually ends in a 4 hour nap which looks like death. But Naima seems like a normal pup. Weather the storm and continue reinforcing calm behavior is the best advice I can give, because a lot of this is simply a young dog learning that the world is a big place, and sometimes they just need to figure it out for themselves with guidance on your part when needed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
215 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
It seems at that age they are starting to notice more things about the world, and feel they have to bark and make noise about it. They are basically obnoxious teenagers. With time and training they do grow out of it.

Yes, puppies do go through fear impact periods. There's one around 6-9 months, 12 months, 14 months, and I believe 18 months (not entirely sure, but you can google it). Sometimes you notice, sometimes you don't. You have a few more to go, lol. In those times, try not to expose her to bad experiences as she could remember them forever. What I've noticed during these periods is increased reactivity to things that previously were not an issue, reactivity to nothing (seriously), and just generally bratty behavior.

I would suggest installing a good "Look at me" command for these situations. If you see someone approaching, issue the command and reward for compliance. Continue treating and praising for calm behavior as you pass the thing. Also reward and praise for looking at the thing and returning attention to you. You can look up LAT (I think that is what it is called) where they have more information on that. Also, sometimes allowing them to observe or have a freak out if necessary is helpful in deciding from themselves what is a threat and what is not. If none of the above work, it's time for a nap.

Other things I've noticed in this maturity phase is barking and having a tantrum at something, but continuing with that tantrum even after the stimulus has passed. Usually happens when they are overtired. Make use of the "Time out." The barking at people one day, and then wanting to make friends the next is pretty normal. Freaking out if people are in a place there is not usually people, or a box is in a place there is not usually a box. Lunging at the end of the leash at....a plant. Being deathly afraid a weed that is kind of tall. You will wonder if your dog is going nuts.

The demand barking will get worse in my experience even if she was mostly done with that. I found that ignoring demand barking to play for 30 minutes straight usually ends in a 4 hour nap which looks like death. But Naima seems like a normal pup. Weather the storm and continue reinforcing calm behavior is the best advice I can give, because a lot of this is simply a young dog learning that the world is a big place, and sometimes they just need to figure it out for themselves with guidance on your part when needed.
I can't tell you how much your reply helped me out today! Naima is, in general, very easy to train, but the barking thing was driving me kind of nuts today. :)

It really does help to be reminded that it's a phase she'll grow out of if I deal with it calmly now.

And I didn't know that the "fear" periods can happen more than once! She's definitely going through one now; I'll take your advice and try to keep the environment as non-threatening as possible in various ways.

My son is turning 18 in a couple of days, and is now really a young adult. So what do I do? I go and adopt myself another teenager!! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,699 Posts
I can't tell you how much your reply helped me out today! Naima is, in general, very easy to train, but the barking thing was driving me kind of nuts today. :)

It really does help to be reminded that it's a phase she'll grow out of if I deal with it calmly now.

And I didn't know that the "fear" periods can happen more than once! She's definitely going through one now; I'll take your advice and try to keep the environment as non-threatening as possible in various ways.

My son is turning 18 in a couple of days, and is now really a young adult. So what do I do? I go and adopt myself another teenager!! :)
I'm glad it helped. I enjoy sharing the moments when I thought my dog was absolutely nuts. Luckily, a dog's teenage phase only lasts for about a year, as opposed to a humans 10+ years, lol.

I would suggest reading up a bit on fear impact periods, because it does make you feel better when your puppy is doing really well, and then suddenly a maniac backslide occurs, but you know what could be going on because your puppy is 6 months old and a fear period is right about in there. And I can't stress the importance of naps! I sometimes had to force Ralphie to take a nap by crating him, or like I said, ignoring him (one time it did take an hour) until he just crashed!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
215 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I'm glad it helped. I enjoy sharing the moments when I thought my dog was absolutely nuts. Luckily, a dog's teenage phase only lasts for about a year, as opposed to a humans 10+ years, lol.

I would suggest reading up a bit on fear impact periods, because it does make you feel better when your puppy is doing really well, and then suddenly a maniac backslide occurs, but you know what could be going on because your puppy is 6 months old and a fear period is right about in there. And I can't stress the importance of naps! I sometimes had to force Ralphie to take a nap by crating him, or like I said, ignoring him (one time it did take an hour) until he just crashed!
Yes! I forgot to say in my last reply that I think the most important thing I've learned so far about puppies is that when they start to have tantrums or just act like maniacs, it generally means the same thing it does with babies/small children--a nap is in order! It's always a relief when Naima seems to start to lose her mind and I remember that.

And amen to the year-long adolescence. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,699 Posts
I have a really great example of the craziness that can ensue with adolescents and their fear periods. Ralphie is around 14 months old now and still dealing with this puppy stuff.

Anyways, this morning as we began our walk a young child ran out from his house in front of us (it's dark out, by the way). Ralphie wasn't too surprised, but interested. The kid ran down the street, and then went across the street to wait at the bus stop (why this was happening at 5:45 in the morning, don't know, but whatever) and sat on the curb. Ralphie kind of lost sight of him, but then as we got closer he saw the kid again and had an absolute meltdown. Brain on the ground, hackles up, barking and flailing at the end of the leash meltdown. Because he thought the kid was weird. Would not respond to commands, so I put myself between him and the thing, blocking his view until I could get him calm enough to move past with me.

Then he saw the child's mother. Another meltdown. Note, these people were not moving toward him, or really moving at all when he spotted them. They were doing things he is familiar with, things he would usually not be too concerned over.

Then, about a block later, we met a jogger moving toward us at a fast pace. Ralphie had no reaction. Did not care one bit.

Traveled another block. Started huffing and getting concerned about something I couldn't see. So probably a rock or a plant or something. Or because he thinks its funny, who knows.

Next block, he sees someone getting into their car. Doesn't like that. That's weird. Huffs and makes snorting sounds at it. We stand there for a bit and watching until he is satisfied that the person getting ready to go to work is not an axe murderer.

Then, as we're finishing the walk and preparing to go into the house, he sees a couple that walks every morning around the neighborhood. He sees them everyday. Nearly had a meltdown, but I managed to call him off before his brain leaked out of his head.

Is this his normal behavior? No, absolutely not. On some days when he's behaving this way I don't take him out at all, just play with him in the backyard because sometimes I don't have the patience to deal with his meltdowns, and thats ok! It usually only lasts a week or so, with varying levels of crazy. It is so frustrating, so disconcerting when your puppy acts like a lunatic, but it will pass! Obviously watch for the signs of a real problem, but if its random things with no real pattern, it's probably a adolescent thing, lol.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top