my husband has just come back from a walk with our 14 month old lab merlin and he was a little worried. Merl is the softest dog ever who never barks, just gives everyone a nasty lick and thats that... but...
when out walking, martin (hubby) noticed 2 girls and a couple of small dogs walking in the distance, and behind them a small child of about the same age as my son on a shiny scooter.
merlin just went mental...he barked, growled, and his heckles went up at them. he has never ever done this before and my hubby was gobsmacked. the only thing i can think of is that, I have a small son who goes out on a scooter with us when we go for walks as a family and he may think its him. But why bark and growl like a crazy dog
we are a little concerned as its any area where he normally has off lead time as up to press her has not once shown this type of reaction. We have had him since 12 weeks old and thought he was a big softy.
The only thing I can think of os Alfie did same thing around his age but it was aimed towards the dogs even though he loved them off lead, is Merlin neutered? If you find him doing it more towards other dogs I definately get him done. Not sure what to suggest if it was aimed at the child though.
Was the scooter shiny and moving? For some reason when Sammi sees balloons, flags or shiny things flapping around she will react like that, mostly if she sees them when we are driving around. No reason its just crazy! I wonder if those things just look different to them
mertin did say that the scooter had the winter sun reflecting on it. earlier today when we took him for a walk with my son, and when my son was walking ahead or in and out of the tree's, merlin kept looking for him. wonder if he is protective. he is neuted (sorry cant spell) and he gets on well with other dogs and has no issues with children so its all very strange.
Dogs will sometimes react in that way to stimuli that they perceive as 'strange'. That is why some dogs will bark at old people that walk in particular way, people with hats/beads/uniform, people riding bikes, etc. It is a fear reaction and the dogs way of saying "I am not sure of what you are, so keep away!". This behaviour is especially common in young dogs that are going through adolescence, and it is not something you can always socialize for, depending on what the dog is reacting too. While you can expose a young dog to an awful lot to socialize it, you cannot expose them to EVERY scenario. So while you are aware that the shiny scooter is no threat, something about it spooked Merlin and he reacted in that way. Dogs don't rationalize.
I would not worry at all. My dogs have done this their fair share of times and I assure you they haven't turned into aggressive savage beasts.
If Merlin does it again, immediately distract him by turning him away from whatever is causing the reaction. Then have him 'sit' and praise when he is quiet.