Our 9 week old puppy Emery has fit in pretty well and we all love her. She is playful and tolerant with the kids, smart and seems to want to please and is already very alert and watchful. She is also making good strides on simple commands and knows the word 'no' already.
There are some expected problems like mouthing, jumping and potty training and we are working on those.
BUT, I am seeing some concerns as well. She cannot start training until 10 weeks and the puppy training classes we want to go to open up new classes next month but I wanted to get some help/ideas that I can work on until then.
First, even at her very young age I am seeing some protective tendencies when she eats. She didn't do this at first, but in -- the last week I would say -- she has started growling at everyone when they get near her bowl. And, I need to stress, this is NOT a play growl. I try to give her privacy when eating but sometimes people are going to have to walk by her bowl.
Before you think I am crazy, I KNOW
she is a baby, but I also know unaddressed 'baby' issues can become 'big dog' issues. So, I am trying to get to the root of this now so she does not feel she has to protect her food. I am feeding part of her meal by hand, dropping extra yummies in her bowl and having my 5 year old daughter do the same. This may have to do with her past as we rescued her at 5 weeks from a neglectful home. They had both her and her sister outside by themselves and just dropped food in a bowl for them to fight over. Any other ideas???
The other thing is that she has also recently developed a fear of strangers and has started barking at them, especially men. Again, it is different from her 'I want to play' bark. She tucks her tail and seems nervous. This seems extremely early and unusual for her to be showing behavior like this to me. She is just a little over 2 months old... Is something wrong? Is this normal and I am overreacting? I have tried to distract her and walk the other way, but she turns around and keeps barking until they are out of sight. I have socialized her as much as possible and she has been to petco, vet's offices, parks, to meet my daughter's preschool class, we go on daily walks, etc.
Anything else I can be doing to help her feel as though she is safe and not be so apprehensive around strangers?
Thank you for any helpful advice and ideas.