Growling at strangers?
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Thread: Growling at strangers?

  1. #1
    Parafly9 is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultGrowling at strangers?

    Maui is a very quiet dog. He is 11 months, coming up on a year May 25th.

    He usually doesn't really bark much at all. but for some reason recently he barks at people. The other day I took him out at 5:30 in the morning before work and the neighbor was walking into his apartment and Maui flys off the handle, sounds super aggressive and is barking and growling all over the place untill the guy was out of site. He wans't pulling on the leash towards him or anything, just barking right there in place.

    He never did this before, and It's a littel confusing becuase he has a LOT of interaction with other people and dogs. We try to distract him when he gets to barking (e.g. get him to sit or something) but sometimes I just can't help it. I hate it when peopel get a look of "fear" over Maui, because the dog is so friggen playful he just wants to cuddle with everything. Any idea why? Is this just an 'adolescent' thing?
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  3. #2
    Trickster's Avatar
    Trickster is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Growling at strangers?

    It sounds as though he is being fearful. Not uncommon but you should nip this in the bud now...this behavior can get nasty if it escalates. I suggest you restart the socialization process again. Even if you HAVE socialized him well as a puppy, it is a lifelong thing and not something that should 'only' be done while the dog is young. Just as humans can lose their social skills if they have limited contact with others, so can dogs. It is a lifelong process...

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    JacksAndLabs is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Growling at strangers?

    What did you do when he did this?
    ~Nicole<br />Grand Ledge, MI<br /><br />

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    Parafly9 is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Growling at strangers?

    I tried to distract him by making him sit or beg or rollover or something.

    The trainer at our place said that he is probably doing it because he wants to play? and that if we punish him (i.e. "no Maui!") then we are negatively reinforcing something. She said the best thing to do is just distract him with something else.

    He is still socilaized quite often. I walk with him in parks and things like that and he usually does a great job there. It's more when it's a "surprise" person - like in the morning when I walk him before work. Nothing specific about the people he is barking at, although I do notice he gets particularly anxious around minorities, probably just becuase he hasn't really been exposed to many I would imagine.

    I was wondering if this might be just a function of his age (11 months..)
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    Trickster's Avatar
    Trickster is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Growling at strangers?

    It certainly could be partly due to his age. He is at the stage when he is growing from a puppy into an adult dog...boy to a man if you wish. Now would be the time to start thinking about neutering him if you haven't already.

    [The trainer at our place said that he is probably doing it because he wants to play?
    This doesn't sound like play to me...

    "Maui flys off the handle, sounds super aggressive and is barking and growling all over the place"

  8. #6
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Growling at strangers?

    Puff does something similar.

    She's an Omega-Wuss dog and I think would never normally bite a person BUT WHEN SHE'S WITH ME and she sees another person, she barks at them.

    For 4 years she barked at my neighbors on either side of us whenever she saw them (despite seeing them daily) and then when offleash, would go tail wagging, fanny wriggling, running and barking towards them then leap up and plant a quick lick on one person's face and then skeddadle back to me. This despite my shouts of "NO!" "NO!" Fortunately I have very nice understanding neighbors and in the last year she's rarely done that.

    BUT she does do it with people we meet when she's offleash on our morning walks in a nature preserve. With a few whom we see often, I've given them a few kibbles to feed Puff from their hand and 20-30 repetitious meetings like that has quieted Puff down to the point there's no barking -- just the running towards them, tail wagging, etc.

    My previous Lab, Bess, used to sound the alarm for WW-3 whenever she saw the postman pass by the picture window to leave mail in the box beside the front door. I apologized once and he said, "You know, she never barks unless someone is home."

    Likewise with Puff -- when she's dozing beside me on the bed while I'm using the computer (WiFi) and she hears the postperson put mail in the box attached to the house, she jumps off the bed, runs toward the front door and barks her head off.

    BUT whenever I've returned home from an appointment about the same time as the mail would typically arrive and it's not there, I've rattled the box's lid and there's never a peep from inside the house.

    So, while in some cases it may be fear, in at least some cases I think it's just a warning to (and protecting of) the owner.
    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
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  9. #7
    Parafly9 is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Growling at strangers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trickster
    It certainly could be partly due to his age. He is at the stage when he is growing from a puppy into an adult dog...boy to a man if you wish. Now would be the time to start thinking about neutering him if you haven't already.

    [The trainer at our place said that he is probably doing it because he wants to play?
    This doesn't sound like play to me...

    "Maui flys off the handle, sounds super aggressive and is barking and growling all over the place"

    Hmm

    He was neutered in December

    I don't want to make it sound like Maui is aggresive because he's not. but he does usually play rough> he's the typical Alpha. He likes to tackle other dogs and be the dog on top, unless it's like a bull mastiff or some other dog much bigger than he is.

    Also, he usually only barks I think when it's kind of a surprise or unexpected to see someone. But he used to just wag his tail. I think it might be just a fucntion of his age still... we'll have to see.
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  10. #8
    Chester B. Dickens is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Growling at strangers?

    Collar correction and QUIET or QUIT IT or some other phrase that you've taught to mean knock off the growling.

  11. #9
    Dakkerdog is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Growling at strangers?

    It could be age, but Moose who is 3 does this on occasion. He always barks and growls at anyone that comes to our door - we are constantly working this one. But on occasion when out on our walks if something unusual startles him he will growl. There was a guy the other morning delivering mailers and he was wearing one of those sacks that cover the front - Moose went nuts. I corrected and kept walking - poor guy. I know with Moose it is done out of fear of an unknown and if I expose him he is okay once he knows what something is. He doesn't do it much at all outside, but it does happen.

    I would just correct and when you have an opportunity let him get exposed to the unfamiliar person.
    Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky

  12. #10
    TimC. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Growling at strangers?

    It sounds like it might have been an isolated incident. Was the guy wearing anything unusual? Did he have a hood on or something covering his face? Oona doesn't like it when she can't see a person's face. For many dogs the shape of the silhouette has changed and to them the person looks like an alien.
    Olie

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