Barking issue - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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Post Barking issue

Well yesterday was another big day out for Elsa, who will be 4 months next week, and I have had her for almost two weeks now. I have read some of the threads in here already about barking/aggression.

Elsa's story so far: At the house she is very friendly. We have two other dogs she gets along great with. She does bark at first when friends come over but then is fine, as well as their dogs. She takes to them fast.

We went out however to watch some dogs training at a location 20 minutes away and she barked at everyone and all the dogs. She did quiet when I tugged her leash and used the "quiet" command, but it took a few times. I believe it's fear based (she barked when we went to the state park at almost everyone except the people working, and at the pet store, altho the first trip to the store she only barked at one dog). Oh she also threw up in the car. I did not feed her prior to leaving but either she ate some of the other dog's food or my bf fed her!

I am starting her in obedience classes at the pet store, one for training and two for socialization since we live on a lot of property and don't see many other dogs/people unless they come over. I'd like her to go into Schuthund training eventually, if it works out that way.

Let's say, I'm assuming her problem is fear-based and definitely want to nip that in the bud now. I was not very pleased when one woman asked me if "I was attached to the dog yet". She said that was not a good sign of her barking so much in a new environment.

I realize she will need more socialization, but I guess that statement really bothered me. I got her because she was the one that barked at me when I went to the breeder, and I am dedicated to this dog.

Any other suggestions or comments or perhaps informational materials would be helpful, or nothing at all is fine too. Like I said I've gleaned some information already from I think it was Blitz's post in this section.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 11:05 AM
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I think you got it right SOCIALIZE and take charge . Let her know what you expect of her. Keep her on leash as much as possible so you have the control but don't forget in the yard or the in the house you must let her bond because you have only had her 2 weeks and she needs time to express herself and understand you are the boss.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 11:24 AM
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Barking is not only fear based, sometimes it can be excited or frustrated, depending on the sound of the bark itself and the body posture that presents with the barking. Sometimes dogs that get excited by other dogs will try to get to them, and when they hit the end of their leash they are frustrated and will bark. If it's a bigger, deeper bark at this age it's probably more likely fear.

With this kind of situation I am of the opinion that you should take socialization very carefully. It's not simply getting her used to things...(although 4 months is around when my dogs go through a fear phase and it evens itself out)...but it's about building confidence. She needs lots of exposure and she needs to not be overwhelmed.

Some pet stores trainers are good and some are TERRIBLE. I've seen PetsMart trainers greet a nervous dog by squatting over the puppy, petting very vigourously until the puppy collapses and submits. They don't relaize that's what's happened...they jsut think they're loving on the puppy. They go to a short course and that's all it takes to get their certificate, so be careful and I wouldn't necessarily consider them an expert on dog behavior.

If she is barking and nervous around people/dogs I've always found that the best thing is to first deter the behavior (such as a little leash pop to break concentration or a verbal No) and in general give them something else to do. If I was in a situation where I was just talking to another person and my dog was carrying on I would just have the person ignore the dog and talk to me for a few minutes. After the pup appeared to relax, I would then ask them to bend down, position themselves sideways, and offer the puppy a treat...and go from there based on the reaction of the pup. If I was walking down the street and my pup started carrying on, I would deter the behavior and perhaps pick up speed in my walk so that my puppy would have to start to refocus on me and when that happened I would praise the puppy. You're not really going to want to flood her, but rather take a slow systematic approach to densensitization.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Zayda and JKlatsky. I'm watching her posture, she does tend to step out when she is barking. She tries to take a step forward but I won't let her. And just yesterday she barked at a dead snapping turtle we caught, so I'm thinking at least in that case because it was something new on the dam she was afraid of it. I coaxed her over so she could sniff what it was, she barked once but then was ok.

I wasn't going to do a puppy training class, but want her to get used to going out in the car (she gets sick aw) and get used to being in the pet store. I met and talked with one of the PetSmart trainers and she has a very good background in training (not sure how/why she ended up there but didn't ask lol). I thought about private but would like to wait on that til she gets a little bit older, unless someone has a recommendation for that.

Thanks for your comments!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 03:25 PM
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I have a 9 month old female pup and I have gone through the same issue. She is well socialized and we have attended some form of class since she was 3 months. She just gets excited or sometimes even scared. We went around the corner of the pet store last night and there were some kittens in a cage. She wasn't expecting the kitties to be there and when they moved she jumped back and started barking. Not aggressively, just startled her. It was actually quite funny and the store cashier started laughing at her.
I have had various dog trainers and all say this is quite common in the breed and she will most likely grow out of it as long as the training stays consistent.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 04:11 PM
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Barking

I'm working on this with my new pup. I got ahold of the breeder ( I did not originally buy the dog from her), and she sent me quite a bit of information.
Here is the article online.

Leerburg | Socializing Puppies
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Oh thanks Ruger and CShepherd, I was looking at the leerburg site, I've heard some good things about them. Yea CShepherd, every day we walk up to the dam and every day Elsa barks at that dead turtle. It really is funny. I'm like "You saw that yesterday!" IT was funny, she did it again today, not as much and she is responding quicker to her nein command. She starts class Tuesday. I hope she doesn't drive everyone bananas lol
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Josephine View Post
Oh thanks Ruger and CShepherd, I was looking at the leerburg site, I've heard some good things about them. Yea CShepherd, every day we walk up to the dam and every day Elsa barks at that dead turtle. It really is funny. I'm like "You saw that yesterday!" IT was funny, she did it again today, not as much and she is responding quicker to her nein command. She starts class Tuesday. I hope she doesn't drive everyone bananas lol
Fritz is 9 months and he would non stop bark in the truck at everything,in the yard at passing dogs or people and would charge or lunge at people. He is extremely well socialized with dogs and people but has fear,submission issues. Enter the dogtra collar and a few sessions with a trainer about how to use it and confidence building/dog interaction and the barking is almost gone,the lunging is gone and the submissive peeing hasn't happened in about 10 days.
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