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AAARF!
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I took Finn to the vet's this weekend and we met a new-to-Finn vet. When he walked in Finn started barking at him. I've noticed Finn barks at things he's a little unsure of and then will settle down. The vet informed me that Finn was dominant, he wanted all the attention on himself which was why he was barking, and on a scale of 1-5 Finn was a 4. He said I was going to have a pretty tough time the next two years with him. Gee, that was encouraging. Is that all it takes for a pup to be labeled dominant - being barked at a little bit?
 

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You need to find another vet! That's ridiculous. To look at a pup for all of what? 2 minutes and decide you're in for trouble?:doh:

It sounds to me like YOU know your pup best. All puppies need to go to puppy school and then obedience classes...has nothing to do with dominant or not.

We'd love to see pictures of your when you have the time. :D
 

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This vet says to find another vet that understands dog behavior. I would, in fact find that kind of behavior more based on fear or being unsure... most dog behaviorists say that the truly dominant dog actually doesn't do any of those behaviors that people ascribe to them. A truly dominant dog doesn't have to do anything... I would also find a good trainer to help you learn how to distract him in situations where he is unsure.
 

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This vet says to find another vet that understands dog behavior. I would, in fact find that kind of behavior more based on fear or being unsure... most dog behaviorists say that the truly dominant dog actually doesn't do any of those behaviors that people ascribe to them. A truly dominant dog doesn't have to do anything... I would also find a good trainer to help you learn how to distract him in situations where he is unsure.
I agree that sounds more like nervousness than anything and quite the opposite of dominance.... I agree with Sallys... your vet doesn't have a clue about dog behavior and I also agree with sallys finding ways to make your pup feel more confident would be a good thing....
 

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Definitely not dominant! My Toby, who will be 8 years on 1/24/12, was at his eye doc appointment today and barked when they said Hi Toby, when another dog and owner came out to check out (he wanted to greet the dog), and again when the vet tech came to get us and take us to a room. He also barked at the ophthalmologist to tell him he was a little too slow with the treats he was expecting for letting them poke at his eyeballs. Everyone in that office knows Toby is exuberant and vocal, is not dominant or aggressive, and that's just his "style". In fact the front staff jokes about how well he recognizes his own name!

Yes, you may have your hands full for the next several years, but it's not due to dominance, but to a vocal dog.
 

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I get so tired of people labeling dogs and puppies as dominant over very normal behavior.

I had a sweet, submissive puppy come stay with me for training. The trainer I am working for wanted me to take her to a basic training class for socialization. The trainer of that class came over to greet her and was petting her when the puppy stepped on my foot while trying to get closer to the trainer. I was then chastised by the trainer (who apparently wasn't aware I was working for the same trainer she was) for letting the puppy be dominant by stepping on my foot. Ridiculous. It took everything I had in me to stay for the class.
 

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I get so tired of people labeling dogs and puppies as dominant over very normal behavior.

I had a sweet, submissive puppy come stay with me for training. The trainer I am working for wanted me to take her to a basic training class for socialization. The trainer of that class came over to greet her and was petting her when the puppy stepped on my foot while trying to get closer to the trainer. I was then chastised by the trainer (who apparently wasn't aware I was working for the same trainer she was) for letting the puppy be dominant by stepping on my foot. Ridiculous. It took everything I had in me to stay for the class.
Yikes, Toby is always sitting on my feet at vet appointments--it's his comfort place and it calms him!
 

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AAARF!
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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for all your responses! I'm glad I'm not the only one that thought it was ridiculous. Finn didn't even bark nonstop - it was like 6 or 7 times!

I have one heck of a time trying to find a good vet so the search will continue! I haven't gone there very long - just 6 months or so. They're AAHA-accredited, but maybe that doesn't really mean much?

I definitely think it's because he is unsure. That's what I've noticed at home. If he sees something new when we're out and about he'll bark at it, but it's not a constant issue. We went for a really long walk yesterday where he'd never been before and he never barked once.

I will talk to his trainer though about ways to build his confidence. We just started puppy class on Saturday and it went really well.

Thank you again! I love this forum and how helpful everyone is! :)
 

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Considering he's only a few months old I wonder if he barks at things as his way of talking. Not unsure at all but asking "what are you? I've never seen you (trash can, vet, shopping cart...whatever) before.

He sounds like a very friendly, engaging pup. And could anyone with a Golden pup want anything more than to have their hands full of loving Golden puppy!
 

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Humankind. Be both.
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Vet school usually offers about one week of behavior info.

He might be a fine vet medically, but don't worry about soliciting his advice for behavior-related issues, and take what he says regarding your dog's behavior with a grain of salt.
 

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AAARF!
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Considering he's only a few months old I wonder if he barks at things as his way of talking. Not unsure at all but asking "what are you? I've never seen you (trash can, vet, shopping cart...whatever) before.

He sounds like a very friendly, engaging pup. And could anyone with a Golden pup want anything more than to have their hands full of loving Golden puppy!
That could very well be! You are right, he is a very friendly and curious pup. He really doesn't bark a lot either and definitely not at every person he meets or at every object he sees.
 

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I'm sure you have nothing to worry about. I see he was born on my birthday! :D which would make him only a little over 3 months old? I distinctly remember my Sophie around that age going through a fear stage. She would bark at the mailbox, at certain garbage cans etc. She got over it once she realized that they were harmless.
Sophie is now 3 and I would call her a timid yet gentle and happy girl who loves people and wants to please... definitely NOT dominant.
I believe Finn will eventually get over his fear stage with a little help from socialization and reassurance.
 
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Definitely time to find another vet, if this one thought a few barks was a sign of aggression!

Yikes, Toby is always sitting on my feet at vet appointments--it's his comfort place and it calms him!
My Dexter does this, too, wherever we go. Actually, he'll do it to anyone who stands still long enough. He goes up with rear end wagging, then circles and sits on their feet and gazes up adoringly. When we were training to get his therapy dog certification, the trainer told me that I shouldn't allow him to do that because he was "resource guarding" me and that it was a sign of aggression that needed to be stopped immediately. I laughed at her and walked out.
 

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It sounds like it's fearful behavior.

Get to puppy class ASAP.

Get him out ASAP and get socialized. You need to do it now, no delay-- or it will be a problem for you... and not just for 2 years.
 

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AAARF!
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Discussion Starter #17
It sounds like it's fearful behavior.

Get to puppy class ASAP.

Get him out ASAP and get socialized. You need to do it now, no delay-- or it will be a problem for you... and not just for 2 years.
He has barked a handful of times at items he was unsure of. An object in my neighbor's yard when he was 8 weeks old, an object at the local park a few weeks ago and a new Christmas decoration that I put up next to my fence. He has never barked at a person besides the vet on Saturday.

He HAS been out and about meeting new people and experiencing new situations. With the exceptions listed above he has been fine and loves to meet new people and go places.

As I stated earlier in the thread Finn is in a puppy class. It started on Saturday and he did great with the trainer, the other owners and their puppies. I also stated I would talk to his trainer about ways to build his confidence.

Thank you for your concern.
 

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IKE- Canine Blood Donor
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I agree with the others, it's not a dominance issue.

My son's dog just turned 2 and has started barking at everyone he does not know. It's obvious that he's nervous and a little fearful. This is a new behavior and hopefully just a phase he's going through. He is sweet, gentle, and very submissive. Not once has he been dominant toward his people or other dogs.

My Ike is a barker too, but only because my husband encouraged him to bark at people who pass our driveway. ( He thinks it will scare off would be tresspassers.) If someone did venture toward our barking Ike, they'd be overcome by licks and presented with toys.
 

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Shoregold
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I don't like when someone labels a dog on a 5 minute evaluation. I get it all the time when puppy owners pick a puppy because he was sleeping in the litter pile and thinks that is the calm one or pick the one that came to them because the puppy chose them. (really) Evaluated what a dog is or needs takes more then a visit and someone who understands behavior.
 
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