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Hi!

I have a question on what you think of this behavior.

So for the past few nights and some of the day my hound mix dog has been outside for hours on end, which is very unusual for him since he hates being outside (he's an old couch potato.) He stays by the fence line on the edge of the property, and just stares very intensely.

Now for the past 2-3 nights I've been letting the dogs out (the hound and german shepherd) and they both race to this spot on the fence and stay there. I can't even get my GSD off the spot with her favorite tennis ball if that says anything.

Now tonight my mom let them out and both again raced to this spot and my hound went crazy barking, which he's not a barker by any means. We've had him for over 1 1/2 years and heard him bark 5 times (mostly to see where my dog is.) However he's never bark like this before.

My other dog (who is a barker) went crazy barking as well, and staring jumping on the fence, which she never does even when the neighbor (whom she hates) is outside next to the fence. So this was something I've never seen.

I have heard rustling in the back (we live in front of a creek so not much room back there) and simply assumed it was our cat taunting the dogs. However after tonight I'm really not sure, and heavily think someone is back there. We've had a few homeless people in the past at the park nearby, but the creek path follows from there to our house.

I'm a bit worried someone could be back there after this and would like to hear some thoughts and opinions. We do live in the city, and I suspect our very friendly hound would likely bite an intruder. I don't think my GSD, although she is the one that scare people (we are working on socialization) I don't think she'd bite. However she would alert.

I'm not really sure what advice I'm looking for but feel free to chime in.

Thanks,
Alyssa
 

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Trust your dogs. If you and your mom are alone, call the police to come investigate, or call a friend or relative to check it out during daylight hours. Dogs don't do that for no reason, but it could be something like a racoon or a fox, who knows. I wouldn't jump to any conclusions without knowing more. But err on the side of safety until you know for sure!
 

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If your dogs have never displayed those kinds of behaviour before, I'd say of course there's reason behind it. And if there really was, consider yourself lucky to have them. Dogs sense things differently than we do. Their sense of smell alone can determine if there was a possible intruder or not.

I trust that my dog understands my body language and I believe that if there was ever an intruder, he would most likely attack should I command him to or should he pick up on my body language at all.

Same thing with yours. If you're positive there's been an intruder on the losse, I'd be more aware for sure.
 

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There's something visiting that section of the fence regularly that they know is there (probably via smell). It could be a coyote that's taken to marking that part of the fence. It could be a raccoon with a den. Or it could be a homeless dude that sleeps there.

Either way, it's clearly not there during the day and only there at night. So a nocturnal creature or a skulking/sleeping human. You could try to see if letting the dogs viciously bark at the thing at night might scare it away. That may take a couple of days. Animals and humans aren't going to hang around for long near a place inhabited by angry dogs.

Talk to your neighbors. See if they've found anything. Check out what evidence you can find on the other side of that fence. Bring one of your dogs around to that side and see what they do. Maybe they'll pick up a scent and lead you along the creature's regular path. That might be enough to tell you roughly what it is. (Does it walk on the ground or climb along in trees/fences? Does it squeeze through small holes or is it too big to do that?) At the very least the dogs will mark there and if it's an animal, the animal might give up and go bother somewhere else.
 

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I would err on the side of caution and ask the police to investigate. I've had a dog do that over a woodchuck and I've had a dog do that in the middle of the night while guarding the bottom of the stairs and staring intensely at the back door. Know your dog and the situation.
 

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I would call the police also just to be safe. I think it is also good to pick up body language and different bark in the dog alerting to a animal versus a person on the property.

I have noticed a difference in bark -Max mostly- if there is a dog or racoon rummaging through our garbage or Feral cat sleeping on our front porch- or if there is a person on the property. The other day max was intensely barking at the front door- looking through the door glass, I saw no one there but he was seriously intent on letting me know someone was there by giving me eye contact looking at me over his shoulder and then looking at the front door in extra deep barks. I knew a person had to have to been at the door but did not hear any knocking. I noticed max looked through the door glass at the ground clearly alerting to me there was a really small box left on our porch by a strange suscpcious man (the hard working ups guy) we have a lot of wildlife around so I was able to see the difference in bark. I think that this is good as there will be no hesitation to call the police if he reacts like that during the night.
 

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I wouldn't worry about asking the police to check it out if you are concerned that there might be someone back there. They do stuff like that all the time! It would probably put that person off hanging around, even if the police didn't actually ever 'catch' them.

Have you gone over in the daylight to see if there is any evidence of human vs animal life? Cans / trash / animal tracks? Is there any way you could hook up a security flood light to that area? That's exactly what I would do! Dogs don't lie, but it could be raccoons or coyotes that your dogs are feeling particularly threatened by for whatever reason... they can definitely sense the difference between a coyote just passing by and one hanging around hungry and looking for food - ie your cat!... best not to take any chances either way ?
 

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Sounds creepy but I trust dogs. Can't you install a motion detecting camera? Ours records wildlife, passing through at night, pretty clearly. Sprinkle flour on that spot to see possible tracks. Check police records about possible peeping Toms in your area. Is one of your dogs in heat, which could attract strays or a coyote? Just brainstorming here. Keep us posted. Sounds like the beginning of a mystery novel.
 
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