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Jack just turn eight months and his "protective" instincts have definitely kicked in, he has started barking/howling whenever he sees something he deems remotely threatening, including anyone with a shovel, large snowballs and dubious plastic bags. I am honestly not so concerned with the inanimate objects but he has barked at our roommate when he was carrying a shovel and even my fiancé when he was carrying a shovel and even last night when he was just carrying a small humidifier. Jack is very close with my fiancé and our roommate so I am very surprised that he would bark at either of them, he has never barked at me (but then again I have never been carrying a shovel, and certainly not actually shoveling!). I don't want to completely discourage him from being protective, is this a phase that will past or is there an appropriate correction for these situations.
 

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Honestly at 8 months, he's probably not really being protective, but rather going through another fear stage. Most of my dogs went through a phase around 8 months where they were a little more reactive than normal, and viewed things they previously hadn't been concerned about as threatening...with consistent continuing socialization and positive redirection it passed.
 

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I agree ^^^ Brody is starting to do that and he is almost 9 months!
 

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You need to show him that you are the one to look to so he doesn't feel the need to be in control of the "scary" situations. Otherwise you'll end up with a reactive dog that is hard to manage later.
Don't correct him for his behaviors, just redirect him to other things BEFORE he starts zoning in. Read his body language and have yummy treats on hand at all times right now.
Keep up with the confidence building, too. Most dogs will work thru this with proper management. If you correct him, he'll see the corrections as coming from what he is reacting to, so that is a backfiring.
Ignore his behavior and just move on if you don't catch it in time.
 

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Why would most folks assume that a dog barking at something new is something that the dog is doing out of fear? Could be he just sees it as "new" and wants to alert that there is something new and different!

it seems that some trainers where i am do this very often - my dog was on a down stay and he sniffed the ground - trainer said it was because he was "Anxious' and I should go over to him so he will relax. I thought he was sniffing because there were some good things to smell on the floor.
 

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Another thing you can do to NOT re-inforce this behaviour is to show him that his behaviour is silly. Laugh at him. No, really! Act like being afraid of a shove is the silliest thing in the world! (and, it is!). Show him that the shovel is a FUN thing! Take the shovel and play with it, while ignoring Jack. Sit on the ground with it (less intimidating than if you are standing), and act like the shovel is the mostest funnest toy in the world. Jack should watch you with surprise and curiosity, which is better than reacting in fear. He may come up to investigate. Ignore him, don't try to make him accept the shovel (or whatever object he is reacting to), just continue playing with the shovel, acting like you are having fun - he may want in the fun too! If he still keeps his distance, that's okay too - don't force it. The main idea here, as advised above, is that Jack should take his cues from you about scary things - if you are not concerned about something, he should not be concerned either.

It is probably a fear stage - protectiveness does not kick in until he is mature, about 18 months to 24 months old. Until then, he should have the advantage of growing up feeling safe and secure, because you are there for him as a role model and a protector.
 

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it seems that some trainers where i am do this very often - my dog was on a down stay and he sniffed the ground - trainer said it was because he was "Anxious' and I should go over to him so he will relax. I thought he was sniffing because there were some good things to smell on the floor.
Usually, sniffing the ground while training IS an avoidance behaviour dogs engage in because they are stressed and overwhelmed - but not always. My mixed breed is like that, she just gets distracted wayyyyy too easy, LOL! I wouldn't fault the trainer for misreading your dog - he probably sees a LOT of anxious dog engaging in avoidance ground sniffing behaviour. You'd have to see the overall focus and body language to know.

For example, I'd put Keeta in a down while I discussed something with others at training, or with the helper during bite-work, and she would get distracted by something and start sniffing around - but I knew it was just her being a bird-brain, not stress. The instant I called her name or moved back into position, she would explode back into focus on the task, her whole expression eager and alert for the next exercise. When dogs are sniffing the ground in avoidance, getting their focus back on you or the task is more difficult, and they will usually throw other stress signals around, like panting, looking away from you, yawning, etc.

Puppies go through weird stages though and they can be fine with something one day, and be reacting in fear the next. No biggie - just work through it, pup should be fine.
 

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Another thing you can do to NOT re-inforce this behaviour is to show him that his behaviour is silly. Laugh at him. No, really! Act like being afraid of a shove is the silliest thing in the world! (and, it is!). Show him that the shovel is a FUN thing! Take the shovel and play with it, while ignoring Jack. Sit on the ground with it (less intimidating than if you are standing), and act like the shovel is the mostest funnest toy in the world. Jack should watch you with surprise and curiosity, which is better than reacting in fear. He may come up to investigate. Ignore him, don't try to make him accept the shovel (or whatever object he is reacting to), just continue playing with the shovel, acting like you are having fun - he may want in the fun too! If he still keeps his distance, that's okay too - don't force it. The main idea here, as advised above, is that Jack should take his cues from you about scary things - if you are not concerned about something, he should not be concerned either.

It is probably a fear stage - protectiveness does not kick in until he is mature, about 18 months to 24 months old. Until then, he should have the advantage of growing up feeling safe and secure, because you are there for him as a role model and a protector.
I am laughing, wondering what my neighbor would think if he saw me tossing around his garbage bags in a playful manner while Niko barked at them. :spittingcoffee:

We've turned all manner of hand tools into "toys", since we've had the same thing happen here. Beware of the tape measure though!!! Rosa says it's still not to be trusted.
 

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Good advice ^^^^^^. He is just an anxious puppy somewhat threatened by the unknown objects. He's not being protective except maybe of himself.
 

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Another thing you can do to NOT re-inforce this behaviour is to show him that his behaviour is silly. Laugh at him. No, really! Act like being afraid of a shove is the silliest thing in the world! (and, it is!). Show him that the shovel is a FUN thing! Take the shovel and play with it, while ignoring Jack. Sit on the ground with it (less intimidating than if you are standing), and act like the shovel is the mostest funnest toy in the world. Jack should watch you with surprise and curiosity, which is better than reacting in fear. He may come up to investigate. Ignore him, don't try to make him accept the shovel (or whatever object he is reacting to), just continue playing with the shovel, acting like you are having fun - he may want in the fun too! If he still keeps his distance, that's okay too - don't force it. The main idea here, as advised above, is that Jack should take his cues from you about scary things - if you are not concerned about something, he should not be concerned either.

It is probably a fear stage - protectiveness does not kick in until he is mature, about 18 months to 24 months old. Until then, he should have the advantage of growing up feeling safe and secure, because you are there for him as a role model and a protector.
:thumbup::thumbup:

This still works for Sage. When something catches his eye that startles him or he deems odd he will give a half bark little "woof" Then he looks to me and I laugh my butt off and call him a big goofball. He gets all excited and will come check out what I'm playing with.

When we first started working on this it was much harder to get his attention. He would quickly get over his threshold and bark and hackle and I would have to drag him away until I could get his focus. Then we play and get him relaxed and can reapproach the object knowing how he will react to it and make it seem fun.

Now I can read his body language pretty good and can see him react before he barks. So before he even thinks of barking I can distract him by "sage look at that!" and make whatever he thought was scary into the coolest most exciting thing ever before he reacts to it.

As he's getting older and more confident he is reacting less and less to "strange" things and looking to me before he decides it is something to bark at.
 

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That makes sense that he is reacting more out of fear, I have tried to take the "silly" approach you mentioned i.e. speaking an a fun happy voice "Jack it's just a snowball/plastic bag/our sketchy teenage neighbor (ok maybe I don't say the last one -but just think it) and then I will approach whatever it is and touch it to show him it's ok. I wasn't sure if it was having much of an effect but I will keep it up and try to be more of a confident leader for him.
 
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