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Discussion Starter #1
So my puppy just reached 6 months old. He's been through puppy classes. He has some other regular dog friends. He's been socialized.

When we go for walks, he never barks at other dogs. Just tries to pull towards them until I tell him no. Never barks. When hes in the fenced yard, he will bark at any dog on the other side of the fence. But he mostly whines to be played with. Hair always down, no agression.

Yesterday a lady was walking her two dogs that we've seen probably 4-5 time so far. Hes always barked/whined but yesterday he barked with a huge patch of hair on his back standing up. he then did it 2 hours later towards 2 people all in black and helmets on a motorcycle.

Should I be concerned? Why would he get agression at that dog?
 

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It may be a fear stage that is beginning, don't comfort him when he does this, just redirect and go about your way. And stay with the socializing, and training classes.
 

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Yup. Hackles are normally raised as a defensive reaction when the dog feels scared in some way. They go through stages where they fear more than usual at that age. Ignore any hesitant/fearful behavior and do not acknowledge him when he acts this way. Keep walking and just drag him past whatever is spooking him like it's not even there. You can even turn around and keep going by it until he ignores whatever it is, as it's a great way to desensitize him. I came across at least three nutty dogs in fenced yards on Sunday when walking my 16 month old female. She hackled a bit and I took the opportunity to walk back and forth past those houses at least a dozen times while working on sits and downs ignoring the dogs. If my dog reacts to an inanimate object I will sometimes go as far as pick her up and put her on it or near it.
 

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wrenny, my 6 month old just started this as well. If we walk and she does this I just keep moving as if I dont see what the problem is. Sunday she went to the beach for the first time and barked at all the dogs. The big girl bark! I just kept going about my business. Once she started to bark at a couple of people that were walking past us. I corrected her on that one. I dont know if I should have but my instinct took over and I didnt want her scaring these people. I corrected her mid bark and she didnt do it again. I plan to go to the beach more often to work on this. I guess its the age...
 

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Puppies will go through different fear stages, as onyx's girl said. No positive attention for it, it only re-inforces the fear. Petting, rewarding, talking soothingly to your dog, telling it it is "okay" means to them that it is "okay" to be afraid, and the petting is a reward for their behaviour (i.e. being fearful).

Best thing to do is to laugh it off, distract your dog, be matter of fact about it: "Leave it, let's go!" and keep walking. Continue with socialization, but try to avoid negative experiences. Set your Lex up for success. If you know anyone with a motorcycle and a helmet, maybe you can ask to allow Lex to investigate motorcycles and helmets in a comfortable, safe setting.

There are dogs out there that give off some kind of energy or vibe that other dogs will react agressively to. (Lucky me, I got one of them!). Other dogs, even dogs that are normally quiet, submissive and friendly, will bark, hackle and lunge at Keeta, even if she isn't even looking at them! ("My dog NEVER acts agressive with other dogs!" I hear this so often, I'm sure they aren't ALL making it up! I joke that the other dogs act that way because they are insanely jealous of Keeta's good looks and intelligence.) If Lex barked at some strange dogs, it may be the other dogs' energy that was negative. Just to say that it may not have been Lex being fearful, there occasionally may be dogs that will bring this kind of behaviour out fron ANY dog.

Regardless, I'd use a "leave it!" command if Lex acts that way around other dogs, get him to focus on you, be matter of fact about the situation. No coddling (as in: it's okay, they are just little silly dogs!), but no stern corrections either. Same type of neutral, matter-of-fact reaction (act like those dogs that Lex got upset about are the most boring things you ever came across in your life and isn't even worth a nanosecond of your attention). Do keep up with dog-on-dog socialization with dogs that you know and trust to be good with Lex, and do try to get him to meet other dogs, keeping things under control, and keeping things relaxed and positive.
 

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My two knuckleheads have an issue with people who they see with hats or hoods on. I think since they cant see their faces that they could be a threat. ive had to have a few friends come by and stand in the yard with their hats or hood on and walk mya around them in circles doing random sits and downs until she ignored the boys. then they took their hoods off and she played a ball game with them once she was stable and comfortable around them. She learned that hoods and hats are now a means of playng ball!

Just about anything new to a dog can set them off, just be persistant and patient and this too will pass as a phase!

Good Luck to you!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I like the idea of going back and forth across houses that have dogs to work on distraction issues but I feel so weird about doing it, lol.

THanks for the all advice.
 

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The way I see it, the people chose to leave their barking dog outside unattended. I'm going to take advantage of it. Teaching your dog to ignore other barking dogs and focus on you is key, and where else can we get that opportunity for free?
 

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I would not be overly concerned. My dog Timber, at 20 months did that just last night. We have a moderate flood here in SE Wisconsin and a friend came by last night to ask if he could store his motorcycle. The hair on the dog went straight up, so before letting the friend in I made Timber go to his cage. Subsequently, Timber settles, the friend sat down and things were fine.

It happens, but the best advice I got was to re-direct the dog's attention. The second best was he is not a lab or retriever, and there may be situations in which the dog will become protective or defensive.

As for why he reacted that way toward a specific dog, I have no idea.
 
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