Recently I've noticed that Coby seems to be very timid and shy in front of new people. Most of the time, it's just my G/F and I at the house, and since we were waiting for his puppy shots to be completed we very rarely took him into public. Over the last week or two, a few people have come over, and he is very protective over us. He barks very loudly from a distance. He won't allow anybody to pet him either.
He also has picked up the bad habit of barking non stop when outside. It started out as a whining as he ran down the stairs (trying to hold it until he got to the grass to pee). Since then it's turned into barking at anything that moves. Not the nicest barking either. I don't want anybody to think he's a mean dog, but I'm afraid that's the impression he's beginning to give off.
What can I do to change these habits? I'm assuming we just need to socialize him more now that he's done with his vacines and he'll be a little less nervous. What can I do about the barking at people? Are the two problems related?
He's a rescue... we've had him from at least 6 weeks old, but the vets are now thinking he's younger then we thought... so possibly even 4 weeks. I take him on walks around our apartment complex, where he's constantly seeing other dogs and people, he's met my brothers Corgi a few times and plays with him no problem. Other then that not too much, just the occassional trip to Petsmart. He seems to do fine in those situations, but for some reason has seemingly become a nervous and loud. It has been a few weeks since he's been around other people/dogs though... maybe this has something to do with it?
Why has it been a few weeks since he has been around other people and dogs? socialization is an on going process...
I think his reaction is probably a mix of his background (you getting him at a young age), his personality and a lack of socialization. If all he has ever known is your apartment complex up until now he is stuck within his own little comfort zone. You need to break him out of that -- now.
Have you been to obedience classes? that would be my first suggestion.
Well the strange thing is, the main problem he's having is inside the apartment complex. For the most part when we take him to Petsmart, the Beach, my brothers to play with his dog, etc.... he acts quite normal. The only issue seems to be people who come to visit us, and when he's outside our place. He seems to be ok while we are on our walk, but while we are outside to use the bathroom, he finds any and everything that moves to be something he needs to bark at.
Some pups go through a fear stage. When you notice it don't make a big deal of it. And, I agree with Trickster, he needs to be in an obedience class and needs to be out every day to meet and great people and dogs.