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DOGS LUNGING AND BARKING AT PEOPLE AND DOGS

Lunging and barking at people and dogs is both frightening and intimidating to the recipient.

Some dogs want to get there as quickly as they can to say "Hi", check the opposition, without a though for anyone’s personal space. This, many times, is the  result of a lot of treats being given by strangers and visitors when your dog was a puppy - all they see is a food source. Your dog has no patience or self-control, it’s painful for you and him, and worrying for the other person who may not even like dogs, and in their best suit going to a wedding reception!

At the other end of the spectrum are those dogs who are barking and lunging and looking pretty fearsome because they fear what they see. The recipient of all this unwanted attention may well be looking straight in the dog's eyes, which, as far as the dog is concerned, could be interpreted as an invitation to fight. It all goes from bad to worse each time a dog lunges and barks ( whether it be at people or dogs or anything )and the owner shouts and pulls…as far as the dog is concerned the owner is joining in.

This all begins when the dog is a young puppy and gradually escalates as he grows up. Many times we are called to cases like this when dogs reach about 9 months of age. It’s been brewing since he was a puppy, now has turned into something rather big, uncontrollable, frightening and embarrassing, and above all, dangerous.
 
When the dog has reached 9 months (he left his puppyhood behind at about 16 weeks of age) or beyond and is behaving like this, there will be other issues that need to be addressed. The dog is lacking an owner whom he can trust to make the right decisions, and in order for this behaviour to be corrected, (or at least managed), the owner needs to address how they interact with him at home.  Invariably these dogs also pull on the lead. If you do not have a connection and trust between you when all is quiet and calm, then you’ll be hard pressed to get attention and focus from your dog when you really need it.

  • On the walk ensure you have a dog which focuses on you
  • Stop every now and again, change the direction of your walk...simply by crossing the road.
  • Being dipsy and chopping and changing your speed, stopping and turning to walk a different way, keeps your dogs focus on you.
  • If you lose his focus, then stop and back up calling him.
More on this in Blog about the walk

So what do you do when it all goes pear shaped? You know what your dog is reactive to so keep an eye out but be relaxed and concentrate on what your dog is doing and keep him interacting with you.

  • When you see his nemesis, say ”Thanks” or whatever word you choose to acknowledge his anxiety, and show you make good decisions walk him away. (See Barking at home as this needs to be practiced at home initially)
  • Before he reacts it is easier to get his attention, you then walk off in another direction away from what he sees as a threat.  Be inviting and offer lots of encouragement and praise.
  • Some dogs can become aggressive to their owners if taken away from the situation which, in their eyes, they are dealing with it.
  • Always muzzle your dog if he is aggressive 
  • Turn before he sees red and reacts to his nemesis big time.
  • When he is back focused on you, if you like, give him a food reward, but it’s you that really matters.
Off a lead, he has the choice to get out of there. By making the choice of removing him and you while he is on the lead he’s going to look to you as a great decision maker.
The more you do this the better he will get.

As you move forward and understand his body language more, and he is focussed on you, you will be able to simply cross the road and walk down the other side and reward with food as you pass or simply touch for reward.

This takes time and patience.

 (NOTE IMPORTANT you should get bespoke 1-2-1 professional help and your dog should be wearing a muzzle for any aggression or intimidating behavioual issues)

YOU DO NOT MAKE A DOG AGGRESSIVE BY NOT LETTING HIM INTERACT WITH DOGS YOU DON’T KNOW. YOU MAKE YOUR DOG AGGRESSIVE BY INTERACTING WITH THE WRONG DOG. CHOOSE HIS FRIENDS WISELY.

More advice in  "Why Does My Dog Do That?” By Caroline Spencer



POSTED BY: CAROLINE SPENCER DOG BEHAVIOUR EXPERT MARLBOROUGH
FEBRUARY 15TH, 2015 @ 19:19:26 UTC

 
 


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