Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: El Dorado County, CA
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Barking in dogs' + people's faces...Why?
Am wondering what people think about this behavior from Bella. We adopted Bella about two months ago. I don't know a LOT about how she was cared for previously, but we think she was abused (a bit, not severely), and not well socialized with dogs and people.
When we are out and about, or at the dog park, if she's feeling shy or insecure usually she just avoids the dog or person in question, and over the past weeks, she's improved immensely. When I introduce her to people, she warms up pretty quickly now and seems to enjoy being petted, etc.
Sometimes however, she gets right in people's or dogs' faces and barks intensely. With the dogs, I think often it's her way of inviting them to play. IF the dog responds playfully, she plays back. But sometimes the dog gets its ruff up, and then she gets fiercer and louder. Today she was barking at a man. She went right up to him and barked and barked. She was not snarling or snapping, just barking and seeming agitated. He was very nice and knelt down, and I formally introduced them and then she calmed down and let him pet her.
My questions to the experienced folks out there, especially with rescue dogs: How would you interpret this behavior? I know she is insecure but she does seem to be making lots of headway in that department. So, what does the barking mean? How should I handle it? And, is there a way to train her out of it? I am concerned that someday she's going to meet an aggressive dog who doesn't like it. At least with people I can verbally explain her background, etc. But I would like it to go away eventually.
Thanks for any help you can offer.