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Barking & Growling

2858 Views 18 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  GSDog
My GS will be 6months in a week. I started him at a very young age to train him for obiences. To this day he is very good and does what you say 90% of the time (still a pup)... I usually go powerwalking with him and he just trots along. For the pass few weeks I notice he was like not listening anymore so I went out for my 4k walk but to train him again so he doesnt forget. He's a good puppy. Sits, stays, heels, etc etc etc... And yes, one problem with him he barks and growls at people or dogs or cats whatever he hears or sees. It's not a on going bark either. More of a protective bark and growling. It is really getting out of control now. And believe me we did (and still doing) everything we can to make him stop. But seems to go in one ear comes out the other. Hopefully its a phase but we all know dogs. Give them an inch they take a foot. He looks out the window he will bark at people walking by with or without dogs. We stand up beside him to remove him and hush him, say firmly NO, change his mind, or put your hand as a claw gesture and tap on the side of his cheeks...anyhow whatever we do or say, he just doesnt care. We will tell him NO he moves away from the window goes to his bed and starts to growl instead of barking cause we just told him NO Barking. We always use the word barking so he knows the difference between what the NO will be for. When I walk him he wont bark or growl at everyone just whom he feels like. If the person or if there are more than one like a bunch of kids playing outside they make noise they will bark or growl. Eats his bone, plays with a toy, hears the birds outside (less now) he will growl. When i went out yesterday for his walk he came face to face with a family with little 3 kids age from 3-7. It was the first time he was close and come to think of it he meets children. We got him late Nov. so now that its spring he walks more and sees more. We go to the park very often and loves it and plays all the time...good friendly pup..

Anyhow, people will say he's protecting his land or us. Well I dont think so. I think its developing into a bad habit. I was thinking of a e-collar or training collar only when I take him out for a walk or when we are in the house so when he goes to the window we would be there to see what he does and then we can tell him again NO BARKING. Eventually he will get the message. Soon he will be going outside for the first time in the backyard. I can imagine him barking at the kids in the other yards etc, etc.

If any of you guys tried something else than a collar by all means let me know. And yes I tried changing his mind like telling him to sit, or down or whatever even treats. NOPE still doesnt care. You know what he reminds me of? like when you punish a child and the child turns around mumbling while he's walking away. My GS does that. Barks, you say NO and he growls while walking aways. I know sounds funny but after a while hes not.

thanks for your inputs
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Just my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt, but there are 2 issues going on here.

First is you have a baby that you are asking a ton out of as far as obedience. I don't even START 'real' obedience until around 6 months old. Not that we don't 'play' obedience. It's all just a big game with the 'sit', 'stay', 'come' etc. With tons of treats and toys and fun fun fun. So my dogs just LOVE all these 'games' and think it fabulous! So exciting for my dogs to train, I don't 'make' them do anything they do it fun and fast cause it's such a blast for them.

What I DO do with my dogs the first 6 months is what I see as your second problem. SOCIALIZATION!!!!!! That's my main goal and aim in life. To raise happy confident pups that, as adults, are confident in ANY situation. I think you have hit the nail on the head, your puppy isn't protecting you (they aren't old enough for 'real' judgement decisions in protection) he's terrified!

I've had friends with similiar problems because they wanted to train their puppies BEFORE bringing them out in public. Didn't want to be embarrassed by a dog that wasn't behaving. So they did all this 'training' while unintentionally also isolating the pup from the VITAL socialization they need the first year. Our pups go thru stages the first year in particular that, when we miss them, we can NOT get them back to do as well as we could have. Not saying we can't fix some of it, but not as well as if it's started from the day the puppy is born (really, it even matters how wonderful the bitch is to how wonderful the pups are!!!).

I believe your puppy is afraid, and if they bark/growl it keeps the scary stuff back and away so they can feel more comfortable. So it's all from fear, though it looks like something else.

What I do with puppies is socialize the heck out of them so they realize the world is a wonderful happy place with many glorious things in it, and they can look TO ME for guidance and leadership as we wander through it. So my pups know I will deal with scary thing so they don't have to panic and overreact by having to bark/growl to keep it away. Either it's not scary at all (look at mom, I'm happy). Or it may be something to be careful about but mom will take care of it (look at mom, she's in front of me and blocking away the scary thing).

I love puppy classes before 6 months because they show a better balance on the low levels of training we should expect out of such a young puppy AND have a huge level of play and socialization in a safe environment for the pup. So that when I DO start up 'real' obedience at 6 months it's with a confident happy puppy who is able to focus and listen to me in a room full of other dogs and handlers cause it's just another day out with me!

Here's some sites that talk about socialization, fear stages, and expectations we should have for our puppies:
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MRL~thank you for those links, I am giving these to my breeder to see if she will put them in her puppy information packs, such a vast amount of information, and I feel those links would be helpful to new owners. She has a litter that is four days old,and I am going tomorrow to get a glimpse(maybe snap a few pic's if mom will let me)!
onyx'girl, glad you are enjoying the links, there is so much info to absorb it's amazing any of these pups get raised well at all

I'm always reading, learning, going to clinics and seminars, finding instructors I like and finding those that I do not. The more I know, the more I know I do NOT know! But also the better I can do with the knowledge I have (was that confusing
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You are 99% right dog does socialize cause if there is one thing i believe in even with humans its to socialize and not be a's been around dogs, cats humans since he's i know there isnt any problem there...and yes he's only 6months old and trust me i dont care or wont feel dumb infront of people if my dog does something wrong...cause i know he's only a pup...just that i find it scares people and i see them cross to the otherside of the street not to walk near my dog...or some will get off the sidewalk and say "you have a beautiful dog" and smile and yet they got off the sidewalk far enough to say that...hmmmm he doesnt bark at everyone either...just when he feels like it when im walking him...often we go to the dog park and will leave if there is a dog that becomes aggresive so he doesnt take bad habits...there is one dog that doesnt stop of them hunting dogs...even the owner cant shut him just wondering if my dog isnt picking up an another bad habit with that hunting dog...I even have to tell the owners dog to be quiet among other owners cause we cant take

My pup doesnt look afraid cause usually he's the first one to go up to the issue to check it out...ex: he's the youngest at this park we go which most of all dogs there are really good dogs and friendly and playful...if one comes along and gets aggressive ours for no reason and bites him, he will run with some kind of whining and barking but like growls at the other dog wanting to get him back and once he even jumped on a dog cause that dog bit i grabbed my dog and removed him and left the park...he is too friendly and a happy pup and i refuse for him to become a mean dog...its not my goal either..i dont go that parks much anymore...just once a while so he keeps socializing with the good dogs...if i see certain ones that are mean i dont go in...and yes i know hes like a year younger than all of them..and yes i know it can confuse him at times what to im careful with that too

ok im off to check out your links...seems interesting...thank you for them links...

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Ok, so after supper we decide to bring the dog to the park to see his buddies...I live infront of a nice park. I walk out of the house cross the street to the park and there was this man walking his dog. For no reason our dog turns around, yes he's on a leash starts barking and growling at the other dog and his hair goes up. My husband was the one that was walking him and jerked him and said NO barking, heel. But our dog was like growling under his flappy lips..for a few yards...then we come across another dog on the other side of the corner street and again does the same thing. What i found weird is that when he's in the park with the other dogs he doesnt bark but just play. He runs after all the dogs and just having fun with them. And yet, if he's on a leash or walking on the streets he does the opposite. Going to have to do more research i guess.
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GSDog, maybe your dog is trying to protect you while you have him on the leash, maybe...
GSDog, a young dog has no ability for real 'protection'. They haven't the background or experience to make a real informed decision so are as likely to find granny a threat as the rapist coming down the walkway.

It's not uncommon for our dogs to react when on leash, and act differently when free. A good article on this is it's sounds like exactly what you are experiencing.
I rather find granny than the rapist.

I went on your webpage but not sure what article your talking about. They are talking about a barn that caught on fire..ok im going back to check the whole thing out...

oh one more thing...a friend of mine lend me her barking collar...that was a joke...we went outside with the dog, yes he started to bark and all...even the collar didnt would hear the collar buzz but this dog is sooo husk with full of flappy skin and fur on this chess it didnt even do anything to no put putting
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yes it sounds like my dog but the thing is that I DO exactly what they say to do so he might stop his barking...ex: the leash is never tight and he does heel properly beside no way a nervous person when i walk with him cause other dogs dont scare me at all...i do pet him on the head, ears etc and do talk to him, praise him, even stand infront of him to talk so his mind can stop the barking mode...i did tell him to sit, stay, down, whatever i do he doesnt care..

you see when it comes to learning things, this dog is like extremely good and fast...not cause its ours...maybe just lucky...hes a very calm dog and easy going...he's 6months now and does all what you ask..obience training and more...when i powerwalk with him 4k around the 2k he wont bark or mr. is too tired and wont bother...i have a leash that goes around my shoulder and waist to his collar so my hands are always free to walk while he's tied to me..and he follows right beside me as we walk fast...yes maybe he's tired thats what he needs but no reason for him to do that barking and growling the first k...and yes he has to learn when its time to train its training time for him and not play time...most of the time its just a playful walk cause he's still young and i dont want to burn him to watch his joints...I guess you would have to see him to understand what im trying to say...its hard to explain...sorry
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Have you considered having a trainer or behaviorist observe your dog & help you understand what's going on? Even experienced owners can be 'too close' to the situation & misinterpret what's actually happening.

A trainer friend was called on by people terrified by their beloved dogs vicious aggression towards each other. They'd been advised (on line & by well meaning but ignorant friends) to have both dogs PTS pronto before a tragedy ensued.

The story didn't make sense. They happily ate from the same bowl (simultaneously!), slept together (same crate), drank from the same bowl & shared toys. Only outside did they turn into killer demon dogs.

The dogs were playing. These folks had never had dogs that wrestled around & played a bit rough. They thought it was all real (even without any injuries!) Thankfully they didn't follow the terrible advice they'd previously rec'd!
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I dont think its "misinterpret". He just has a hard head when he decides to growl but really in a low tone. Like he thinks we wont hear him. Example, I was in the front garden cleaning leaves that got stuck in the headges and our GS was on the front balcony made all in blocks so there is no rails. Now there is a front street thats kind of busy but he knows he cant go on the street. A lady walking her pup about a 1/4 size if not smaller than ours (ours 85lbs 61/2months old) and i would say like 25lbs. Our dog growls jumps over the balcony heads toward the little dog I turned around and shouted NO so he stopped. I grabbed and he kind of pulled cause he wanted to see the pup. Now I know he wouldnt do anything cause all he wants is to play. But that poor lady first thing that came out of my mouth is i told her "dont worry hes only 6months and wants to play but forgets his size" she was nice but i think she was just being polite. Little pup just kind of went behind the lady so i took our dog by his choker and pulled him away and as i was doing that he opens his mouth to take a bit on the pups head when could of fit in our dogs mouth. I told the lady that I was sorry and that he forgets hes too big to play with other dogs and that he's only a pup himself. Then the lady walks aways with her pup and Im looking at mine wanting to smack him one but heh, i would of got hurt at his size and he would of just stood there looking at me thinking "that didnt hurt" lol.... anyhow, i was really mad and in a harsh voice i look at him and pointed towards the balcony and say "GET UP THERE NOOWWWWWWWWWWW" When i stretch my NOW he takes off fast cause he knows he'll get punish. Yes I know he's only a pup and it takes time and patience. But if you have to grab fast on a choker its hard on the finger at 85lbs.

Aside from this low tone growling, hes a good dog. He listens well and does what we say. If he gets that fraction of a second decision in his head he will head towards what he wants. The only way to solve it from what we've notice is to raise our voice in a really sharp tone and call his name he will stop. But i find that its like raising kids. If you start raising your voice they get use to it and wont work later on. Last night what we did we put him in the house and he was in his cage for a good hour without coming out. He knows his cage is punishment. Often if he does something wrong like running after our cat and we say "Leave the Cat alone" he goes on his own in the cage! LOL.

all this to say, patience patience, patience hes only a pup.

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I wonder if you have taken classes with this dog- did I miss that? I'm asking because I wonder about your timing- with the incident with the little dog- when you told him to "get up there NOW" with the intent to punish him it sounded like enough time had passed he was probably in the dark about why he was being yelled at.
I agree with RubyTuesday that an objective look from another person might be able to shed some light for you. I found that when I read books and took classes that there really was tons I didn't know. There is tons more I don't know, so I'm no expert, but if I was in your shoes I'd look at some good, professional training.
GSDog, hopefully you scrolled down the flyingdogpress sites I posted and came to all the articles BELOW the 'barn fire' stuff.

I know this is going to hurt your feelings and I'm sorry for that, but (and this is just my opinion) you are coming down WAY too hard on a puppy and have WAY too high expectations. Dog classes would be such a help to put things into perspective for what you SHOULD be doing and how your young pup SHOULD be behaving.

To me, you are expecting adult dog behaviors from a puppy who is clueless and not getting the leadership and guidance it needs.

And by 'leadership and guidance' I am NOT saying 'obedience'. And I am NOT saying you should be coming down on you pup like a ton of bricks when he misbehaves.

Crates aren't supposed to be PUNISHMENT, they can be a time out, but not punishment.

Quote:anyhow, i was really mad and in a harsh voice i look at him and pointed towards the balcony and say "GET UP THERE NOOWWWWWWWWWWW" When i stretch my NOW he takes off fast cause he knows he'll get punish.
Another thing I know for sure (PLEASE LISTEN) is when my pups do something that gets me furious, and I react and punish in that state of mind.............. this is not training. My timing is NEVER proper so the pup really knows what it did wrong so it won't repeat it. And just because they are now afraid cause Psycho Mom has appeared so she's heading for the hills, I can almost guarantee that not only is she not making a direct correlation with the behavior that set me off. But she will NOT have learned to never do it again. So I may feel better after my freak out has completed itself at the pup, but IF MY GOAL IS TO TRAIN MY PUPPY.... that isn't accomplished.

Ok, let's put this in the puppies frame of reference. If everytime we get near another dog on leash my mom/dad jerks me into a heel position (not a training and obedience heel, cause I don't really know that as I haven't been to classes yet) but a continuous jerking thing to bring me close. And mom/dad's voice gets weird. And mom/dad seems to be getting more and more upset as the other dog gets nearer. OH MY GOSH there must be something really wrong with that other dog. Or the human. Mom/Dad is freaking out more, maybe I need to growl to keep them away cause they are so scary.......................
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Growling and raising his hackles (hair on his shoulders/back) is a sign of fear and lack of confidence. He is not barking or growling to defend his owners- he is an unsure BABY that needs to be shown that the HUMAN is in charge. Correcting him for barking and growling is apparently not helping or he would have stopped by now. You need to reward him for good behavior. When he starts to bark have him sit and give eye contact to YOU and then rewards him with an extra special YUMMY treat. If you tense up before or as he is barking then he will sense that as dogs can feel a LOT more through the leash than what you think they can. MRL has posted a LOT of awesome links that will help you. I also agree that a GOOD training class would be good for you and your dog.
Originally Posted By: MaggieRoseLee
Another thing I know for sure (PLEASE LISTEN) is when my pups do something that gets me furious, and I react and punish in that state of mind.............. this is not training. My timing is NEVER proper so the pup really knows what it did wrong so it won't repeat it.
This is huge. Let me give you my example:

Dante has been trained to wait at the front door for 3.5 years, ok since I got him. Wait was one of the first things we worked on and it evolved naturally into not going out a door until I say so.

Day before yesterday he bolted out the front door when I went to leave (he wasn't on leash because he wasn't going with me). I saw right away that he wasn't going to leave the yard but instead was sitting at the back of the Explorer. I had a pretty good idea that he would not listen if I called him in so I took a second and grabbed a favorite toy.

With that toy tucked under my arm I called him in and he came flying. We had a great game of tug in the house when what I was really thinking was 'how could you bolt out that door your dork' but since he came flying when I called it was party time!!

So please, listen to MRL - she speaks wisely
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I totally agree with the advice given.

I also don't want to hurt your feelings but here's my take on this:

You keep repeating he is a good obedient puppy, if he was, you wouldn't be having the problems you are :)) If he "knew" not to do something, he wouldn't DO IT. If he KNEW he shouldn't jump over the balcony, he wouldn't have done it :))

He is 6 months old, I will repeat what MRL said, you have a puppy that you are expecting WAY to much out of, and your coming down on him TO HARD. If you've had to repeat your "no" commands to him over and over for the same infractions, he does NOT understand what your asking of him..if he did understand it, he wouldn't do it in the first place :))

Growling, barking, hackling, he lacks confidence. Growling is a warning, and can be a prelude to 'bigger things' down the road. IF he was a happy loving dog, he would have no issues with ANYONE.

I think your best solution is to get him into a good age appropriate obedience class with a good trainer/behaviorist. He needs to be socialized more with people.

A good behaviorist/trainer will TRAIN YOU on ways to train your dog.

Good luck with him.
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I would have to agree with Amaruq...and yes I know he's nearly 7months old now and yes I repeat often he's listens well. But a dog can listen well but has problems for one thing which his is barking. His hair does go up so we know its fear cause he's still young. I dont yell at him never did. I only raise my voice and he listens and its NOT out of fear cause he comes back with a head thats nice and tall. I did go to a trainer and did ask other trainers and all said the same that he's still young and its normal cause its fear. We do give him treats and make him go to another position like sitting or down and he does listen when we tell him too. It is time and patiences and treats. Weeks hes great and days hes a bugger and overall, hes a good pup. Thanks for all the great advice cause its all so true what youve all posted...

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