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Hey all-this is my first post to the site, I'm so glad I found this! Anyway, I have a 5-month old golden named Oscar and for the last month he has started barking at EVERYTHING! I live in a very dog-friendly apartment complex, so unfortunately that means that we see at least a couple people plus a dog or two every single time I take him outside. He just goes absolutely crazy barking whenever he sees another person or dog. However, he's not aggressive whatsoever. If someone/another dog comes up to him, he is always super friendly. He finished training classes about a month ago and I was told to divert his attention when he starts barking, even if that means walking the other way, but that doesn't seem to work (then he'll just pull the leash behind me while I try to walk him in the opposite direction). I even reward him for being good outside (during the rare occurrences when that does happen), so the whole positive reinforcement thing doesn't seem to be working either. Is this just a temporary behavior due to his age or am I not doing something right? I'm getting desperate! It's embarrassing every time I go outside I have to profusely apologize to people for him going nuts, but otherwise he's a really good dog! Plus I really don't want to resort to a bark collar. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

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He's just being a puppy and saying HELLO, WORLD!!! Since this is his only fault...let it go. You don't want to stifle his friendliness by telling him that somehow it's wrong. He's being 'doggie' friendly.

He'll outgrow it when the world becomes a little more mundane for him.
 

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What about one of those little air canisters that make the 'whoosh' sound, that distracts them from what they were doing?

I have one, it's great for interrupting one of my old BCs barking at the GR pup, or the pup chasing chickens!

You do the 'whoosh' and say 'quiet' or 'no' or whatever. Eventually just the word does the trick.

And as you say, you reinforce the good behaviour. I use a clicker so I can reinforce the second Daisy does something right, even if she's not near enough to me for a food treat - she gets that later (I read the Karen Pryor book about starting clicker training to learn to do this).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks so much. I think I'll definitely try that can you mentioned. Any idea where I can get one of those?
 

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Well I'm in the UK, so my sources may not be too useful :) I bought one at 'Pets at Home’ and also one on Amazon. I would have thought most big pet shops. The type I have is called 'Pet Corrector'.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for your answers! They're very helpful. I'm also wondering-could this partially be due to his age? He's getting neutered in about a month so I'm wondering if he'll calm down a little after that. Any thoughts?
 

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Lead him far enough away from whatever he's barking at that he can shift his attention to you and the treats. Stay at that distance and reward him for seeing the "thing" he wants to bark at, but not barking (b/c of the distance you've created).

Practice often. Expect improvement in weeks and months vs days and weeks.

Be patient. And consistent. Both are key.
 
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I think you got some good advice here. Redirection/distraction and rewarding positive behavior is great. Puppies go through a second fear period anywhere from 6-14 months. Make sure you continue socializing your puppy to all kinds of people, dogs, things and situations. Also make sure the experiences are positive. It's possible he may be nervous and that's why he's barking.


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Thanks so much. The treats/distracting him have been working a little, but I will have to be more consistent with it. consistency does seem to be key! He used to hold the leash in his mouth when I would take him out and because if treats and luring him away he's great walking on the leash now!
 

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I am having a similar problem with my five month old male. He barks has weird people or animals on the TV, strange machine that carpet cleaners use, the maintenance guy's supply cart...

From my research I leaned that dogs go through a fear imprint and a flight instinct stage during growth. The first fear imprint stage is 8-11 weeks, flight instinct lasts about a week around 4-8 months and the second fear imprint occurs 6-14 months. The fear imprint period means your puppy may be fearful or cautious of things he was normally fine with before. He is anxious with new experiences. The flight instinct is similar to the fear imprint stage I believe. The dog will sometime act like it's forgotten all it's training and act out. It just takes support, understanding and consistent reinforcing training to get the dog back on track.

Sometimes I think my pup is straight up challenging me when he misbehaves! But we just have to remember that if we stick with the training our dogs will come around and be the most well behaved dogs out there!


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I am having a similar problem with my five month old male. He barks has weird people or animals on the TV, strange machine that carpet cleaners use, the maintenance guy's supply cart...

From my research I leaned that dogs go through a fear imprint and a flight instinct stage during growth. The first fear imprint stage is 8-11 weeks, flight instinct lasts about a week around 4-8 months and the second fear imprint occurs 6-14 months. The fear imprint period means your puppy may be fearful or cautious of things he was normally fine with before. He is anxious with new experiences. The flight instinct is similar to the fear imprint stage I believe. The dog will sometime act like it's forgotten all it's training and act out. It just takes support, understanding and consistent reinforcing training to get the dog back on track.

Sometimes I think my pup is straight up challenging me when he misbehaves! But we just have to remember that if we stick with the training our dogs will come around and be the most well behaved dogs out there!


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Thanks for the reminder about fear periods. They are real and it is important to keep working on a daily basis on getting through these things. Ignoring it will not make it go away.
 
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