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Mom to Fyodor & Gibson
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Discussion Starter #1
I've noticed that Gibson gets uneasy when he hears a dog barking somewhere in the distance or even when he can see the dogs barking (territorial barks) through a fence. I didn't think much of it because he's young and it would make anyone a little nervous if you hear territorial barking and you don't know where it's coming from. I never made it a big deal or coddled him when he got nervous.
Last night, we went to a part of the neighborhood that was new to him, and at the start of the walk last night, he was less focused and sniffing everything, but I think it was just the newness of the place. But after a few minutes, he heard a dog barking somewhere, couldn't see where it was coming from and kind of panicked. He got visibly nervous and was in a hurry to get out of the area. He was nervously looking for the source of the barks. After the barking started (which continued for a while), he kind of spooked at every little sound and even a car passing by. This morning, he was still nervous on our walk and even jumped a little when he saw rows of cars going to work!
Since he's always been a calm, confident pup and did well in public places I've taken him to (I've been taking him out since he was 7.5 weeks to get him used to different places.), I'm a little concerned at this.
Is it just the age? I know there is a fear period around 8-10 weeks, sometimes at 12-16 weeks, and again at 8-12 months. I've searched online and saw a few mentions of another fear period around 4 months, so I wonder if that's it... Although he did get a little nervous when dogs barked even before this 4 month mark.
Will this go away on its own as he gets older and more confident? When he's playing with other dogs, he's GREAT and confident with all breeds and sizes of dogs (loves to wrestle them) and has never had a bad experience with dogs.
 

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Mom to Fyodor & Gibson
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1,303 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Vito gets the same way sometimes. But it has gotten progressively better with age!

Hi Nicole~
Good to hear it got better for Vito with time. I wonder if this is a normal thing for pups or if our pups are a little on the sensitive side. You and I both took our guys everywhere and exposed them to everything early on, so I don't think it's lack of exposure for Vito and Gibby...
 

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Now Caue's Dad Too!
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37,489 Posts
Caue pulls like a sled dog when he hears a dog barking. I've been trying to get him to sit/stay when he does this to get used to the noise. Oakly does the same thing on Main street on windy days when the hanging signs are squeaking.
 

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I don't remember Tucker acting that way when he was Gibson's age, but now I notice he is more alert when he hears dogs in the distance. If he starts to focus on them, I give a lease correction and tell him to leave it. He is getting to the point where he just ignores it now. He does pull like a truck if he sees a dog, so we have been doing the sit like Caue with his back to the other dog until he settles.

Perhaps you can carry his favorite toy and use it as a distraction to redirect his behavior when he gets nervous. Tucker is quite the sniffer in new places as well, and sometimes I think he gets a sensory overload that can get him worked up - perhaps limiting Gibson's sniffing while walking will help him from slipping into that nervous state. On our walks, I now limit Tucker's sniffing to a time and area I designate from him to do his business. I try not to always use the same area so he doesn't always know where and when it will be. I do notice that he is more relaxed on the leash after he has a little bit of "Tucker time".

Thanks for posting the ages for the fear periods. I do some fear in Tucker (9mo) in him occasionally for things I would not expect. For example I will take him with me if I need to pick up something at the office after hours. He usually rides the elevator without an issue, but the other day he refused to get into it, so we had to take the stairs. He also gets afraid of jumping out of the car as well depending on where I am parked.
 

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Daisy - my heart
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12,575 Posts
Daisy went through some interesting fear stages when she was growing up, I'd say up until she was 1-1/2 maybe. Thinking back, it wasn't just being uncomfortable with certain things for awhile (like horses you put quarters in at the grocery store, black silhouette statues in people's yards, Ronald McDonald LOL) but I also recall one-time incidents that really took me by surprise.

One incident, we were at a late night craft fair. We passed by a lady who was carrying her baby in one of those front type baby carriers, like a back pack but it was in the front. Daisy started growling and barking, I was so embarrassed and I'm sure the lady was a bit intimidated too! I just think Daisy didn't know how to interpret what she was seeing.

Another time we were traveling, waiting outside a restaurant at a rest stop and a black man was walking towards us. Very strong reaction from her there ... had to have a long talk with her about that LOL

I think it's just all part of growing up. Daisy is fine now, it takes a lot to rattle her and I really think Gibson will be okay too with more exposure. It's great you're getting him out there :)
 

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Missing Selka So Much
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17,303 Posts
I think some dogs are more sensitive to sights/sounds, just like people are.
Selka could care less about anything out of the ordinary, he ignores most stuff or is oblivious.
Gunner on the other hand, like Daisy, notices anything different! And he can hear someone walking on the sidewalk when he's behind the privacy fence yards away!
A plastic bag, a garbage can out of place, my neighbor's motor home (which of course is hard to NOT notice but Selka could care less!) send Gunner into a barking fit! ALERT! ALERT! SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT IN MY WORLD AND I NEED TO MAKE SURE MOM KNOWS!!!
He also watches TV and Selka acts like it's not even there. I think Gunner just has a special talent. : )
And I know no one could ever sneak into our house or yard without us knowing!
 
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