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Kaiser just turned a year, over the last month he startles at sounds behind him. He suddenly jumps forward and checks. He doesn't bark or growl. I always check to make sure it's not a coyote, cougar etc since it's a concern. Then I lead him closer to me from the heel position but otherwise ignore it. Am I doing the right thing? Do you think it will stop eventually?

He doesn't appear to be a fearful dog, he investigates new things and loud noises. Occasionally he'll bark at another dog or garbage can but stops when told a firm no. We did have a problem with him lunging and barking but it was resolved with a prong collar within two weeks.

Thank you for your advice.
 

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If your dog has never acted this way before, I'd lean toward believing he's sensing something you aren't or can't. Dog's can hear and smell WAY better than us humans. So, for example, if a cougar were lurking in the brush somewhere, you'd likely walk right by it without noticing, but a dog would know even without any sound. If he sensed something out there and then heard a sound, he'd be likely to look to make sure there was no immediate threat. I'd trust the dog's senses...
 

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My trainer told me a secondary fear period starts around 12 to 18 months+/-. Mine started closer to 13 months, he became more vocal with alert barking which i think the vocal barking is the attempt to scare things away. It could be a contributing factor to the dogs heightened sense of awareness. I like to think of the periods more of a growth spurt. I live rural my dog alerts me to things I can't see or sense and its slowly decreasing. He alerts me to many things I cannot see. The things I see often he makes no noise. I worry more when he takes a physical stance with no noise. If I stand in front of him or go and check out what he is alerting it helps when he is vocal. When he hyper focuses i body block and put him in sit no release until eyes on me. He had another I want to say right before 9 months then had a huge leap in maturity. I'm looking forward and am beginning to see the positive side that comes after this heightened sense of awareness. Now i have never had a dog before so hopefully if I am completely wrong someone corrects me.
 

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Thanks Apex. Fear period makes sense, he's been barking in the house at noises outside more often too. And you've given me hope the reaction might lessen. I'm happy his senses have heightened and he's taking care of business but the sudden jerk forward while in heel is really hard on the back since he's 100lbs.
 
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