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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So a few days ago I posted about my 6 mo that charged and growled at some people while I was hiking off leash. After that I decided to keep her on leash at all times to avoid something like that while she is still young and getting used to new things. So yesterday I took her on a nice long leashed walk and we ran into a few people and other dogs on the trail with no problem at all, but after we got home I was cleaning up her poop from the backyard and foolishly left my gate somewhat ajar. While Annie didn't bolt out and run (good), she did wander out and a lady happened to walk by the house and as soon as she saw her she growled and barked, when I saw her do this I told her "Annie No." and then made her get into the yard.

I have to be honest, this one worries me a bit, with the last time I kind of chalked it up to fear and surprise, but I don't know what caused this. She gets quite a bit of exercise, both physically and mentally, and she goes to a weekly puppy socialization class as well. What do you guys think I should do to fix this? Also if it happens again what should I do while it is happening? As I stated earlier, I am no longer letting her off leash until she is better socialized and I am going to have to pay much more attention to her escaping, which up until this point she has never done.

Thanks
 

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It could be a stage that she is going thru, feeling uncomfortable around stranger. Keep working with to make her feel more comfortable around people.
 

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It does sound like a stage. You might consider exposing her (on leash) to more social situations where she will encounter dogs and people - like pet stores, walking down busy streets, etc. Also, obedience and agility classes are always good for socialization and confidence building.
 

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One trick that often works is to expose her to situations that make her nervous, but at a distance that is just barely comfortable. So if people are making her nervous, you go close to people (but not too close) and do some training. When you are working on training, the dog knows what to do, which can reduce anxiety. I might find a park, or bench outside a store and sit there are do training with yummy treats. If your pup gets nervous, back up and go farther from the people. Another idea would be to ask your friends to help with training. You could have them come to your house (or meet somewhere else), then ask her to sit and give her a special treat. The more positive exposure to different kinds of people, the better. I am not a trainer and have very limited experience, but those are the things I would try. If it happens again, I might ask a trainer. Since you take her to a socialization class already, is there a good trainer who runs the class? If so, what does that person think?
 

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You have received all great advice, and I second the Fear Period stage--I sent you a link in an earlier thread that you posted, with the Fear Stages, and she's 6 months I believe? That's in the middle of a fear period (4 to 8 months). Don't get anxious over this either--what sends so many pups to greater heights of nervousness is the anxiety they feel from their owners.

Maya's mom also has several good ideas--you might want to start off with friends, people that she knows, and work up gradually to strangers--take her to Starbucks--take her outside in front of the supermarket--let her hear the clanging carts. Is there an open air mall? I have a "Town Center" by me that I can walk the dog and she can get gawked at. Don't force her on people--and don't force people on her; have lots of treats in your pocket for rewards. First chance at a growl or bark say "enough" or "knock it off" very matter-of-factly and just continue on your own way, and work up to closer encounters.

You realize now, more than ever, that it's good to keep her on leash for awhile, but this won't last forever. The bond you develop will be even greater and you'll learn to read your dog, and other dogs, even better after this period. Don't let down your guard though. Other fear periods, depending on the dog, could be ahead, so you want to continue with more socialization and obedience.
 

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Well, all I can say is well done for asking advice, as if more people did this on the very first time their dog exhibited an unwanted behaviour, they would know how to stop potentially screwing their dogs up.

My daughter's puppy Lexi is 7 months and yesterday ran and hid from my brother. She didn't growl, but my daughter reported that during her walk this morning she was showing fear to all sorts of things she had not before. I have heard about the 2nd Fear Phase so looked it up today. Very interesting reading, and nothing to worry about as long as you handle it correctly.

If this is a totally new behaviour, like others have said, work on making her more comfortable around strange people. It's important exercise patience, do not soothe her, nor shout at her (you'll be joining in!). If you're calm and show the object/person is nothing to be feared, she will get over it quicker.

Good luck, I'm sure you were worried, and am sure you will work through this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice everyone. I will keep letting her meet new people and see new things. The one constant is that both of these happened when she was off leash. So I will keep all new interactions as leashed ones. I often take her into stores and whatnot and have never had an issue, of course she is always on leash. She has often showed fear with new people and dogs when out and the way I handle that is I tell her in a normal voice "you're fine" and keep going about my activity, I never pet her or coddle her, and of course I never get mad about it either. I think if she growls or barks again I will tell her in a stern voice "quit" and keep going about my activity. Does this sound like the correct action?

Someone asked if she had a trainer and she does, but she is out on vacation until 01/11, so I will also ask her then.

Thanks again,
Chris
 

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My Shelley is pretty well socialized and loves people considering she was almost stolen a few days after i got her. But theres some people my goldens don't like and will aviod and if they get too close they bark and growl a little bit, I tell the people not to come any closer for the safety of them and my dogs. This doesn't happen often as my dogs love other people and run straight to them if allowed.

I think your girl feels insecure offleash and goes into defence mood eg growling. I would start socializing her onlead till she is comfortable around people then slowly making the lead longer till adventurely she is offlead.
 
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