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Hi, now i wonder if anyone has come across this and may offer some insight? Basically Reuben will sometimes bark at complete strangers and this morning he lunged towards a lady as we were waiting to cross the pedestrian crossing and she nearly jumped out of her skin! He use to sometimes bark at young men when off lead, so i use to keep an eye on him and get his attention to prevent this from happening. But now it seems to be when we are stationery and he just randomly picks on individuals. His superlorin is wearing off now and i wonder if it is hormonal etc?
Any ideas, and what do i do when he does it?
oh and just to add to this, he does it at random dogs on leads - not all the time but sometimes
not being up to speed on your Reuben, how old is he? Also, how socialised is he? Phil is 4 (near enough) and used to race around and go up to people, sometimes jumping up if they were friendly and knew him. He'd bark at other dogs on leads trying to get them to play.
A lot of this was puppy behaviour and he stopped doing it about a year ago. We broke his chain of thinking so he focussed on us: If he is near other people we don't know when walking I'll make him either sit until we have more room around us, or make the lead shorter so he walks closely at heel. Whenever we stop near people he is told to leave them - this means no playing, no sniffing etc and has evolved into stand - he'll lean against us and ignore the people or dogs! Key thing seems to be to be getting him to do something before he thinks of anything else! If he looks like he is going to do something he shouldn't we use stop - we'll stop walking, he'll stop doing and the walk will stop for him until he is calm.
He does keep close to my wife if she is out with him on her own so perhaps your dog's behaviour is a bit defensive -minded.
all the best
Well Sue, i did ponder a bit on whether a fear related thing. It is strange because it isnt like a surprise element but more like when next to a few people at the same time especially when at the pedestrian crossing in the morning on a school run and people standing close to us. so maybe it is an overcrowding thing ie, people to close his personal space. so possibly a defense response like Bryan suggested. He is on the lead at this point and in a sitting position as we await for the 'green man' to cross the road. In fact the last two times it has happened, this has been the case. he is usually quite hyped up as well as it is when his walk starts.
He did use to run up to random men and circle them and bark (when off lead) but to stop this happening I would call him close to me and pre-empt the situation and this seems to help and hopefully started breaking the habit. I think this morning shocked me as he actually lunged and did mouth the woman's coat and fortunately with my apology she wasnt cross (probably didnt notice the mouthing, but i did) and was just startled. He does lunge sometimes towards some other dogs on the lead (esp when crossing roads) and is quite vocal. So maybe it is a 'you are in my space' type of reaction?
I will monitor it more and tonight i did some 'watch me' training with him so I can strenghten his focus on me when I need it, as admittedly I think that has slipped (through my own lazyness).
Bryan, Reuben is 2yrs 4 months old, and has been very socialised and like most setters loves people and other dogs but has grown up a bit from that early young puppyness - thankfully, lol. and what you do sounds really good and something I do too but poss let slip lately. And those who know Reuben know he is quite a cheeky bolshy boy too! But yes it could be defense as you say as also it has been the last few months that he barks quite protectively at strangers at the door of people that I invite into the house that he doesnt know.
They really are a learning process arent they these dogs of ours!
Yep, seems there's always something new with our setters!
I reckon Reuben is still a bit young to be settled and is working things out. He probably has worked out that at road crossings your attention is elsewhere and if he is keyed up for his walk then he will get bouncy. Phil is very keen on his walk too so we break it up with lots of (relevant) commands to keep him in check and he likes to show off being good before he gets to run.
Btw I don't like Phil sitting too much unless I want him to stay in one place, e.g. when he is out shooting, sit is too close to crouched-down-ready-to-jump if he is excited.
On the subject of jumping, Phil only jumps up and mouths now during play we start. He's not to do it (it was a puppy thing I think) otherwise but sometimes he does to ask if we want to play. I often hide carrots etc in the garden or house and divert the puppy play into something more thought-requiring of him.
One of my bitches was terrible for doing the exact same thing. I found it to be an attention seeking behaviour. Basically when I knew a situation was approaching where this behaviour would be demonstrated I gained the bitches attention and got her to focus on a treat or me as the other dog or person passed. If she did bark I completely ignored the bad behaviour and just carried on walking removing her from the situation. After a while she realised that this behaviour would not be tolerated and she also did not gain any attention, either good or bad.
Give it a go I was amazed at how much this technique helped in this situation. If I can be of further help then please get in contact with me.
Thank you everybody for all your advice and help on aggressive puppy i'll take it all on board and let you know how it goes don't want to start dreading going for a walk! It's great to have advice from setter owners setters seem to respond to a gentler approach maybe moreso than other breeds and he is so lovely and i want to do my best for him he wants 2 rest alot when out so i'll cut the walks/runs down as suggested
Hi Teresa, I have only just seen this discussion and agree completely with Sue and Fran's advice. Our little darling Bella could be an absolute monster at times, particularly when tired. Like your boy she was angelic in classes but quickly saw games as an opportunity to have a good bite. Our dog trainer advised us that we needed to teach Bella how to play properly and put in some firm rules that we both stuck to (my husband was a devil for letting things get hyper) and as soon as Bella put teeth to skin then the games were over. It took some time (and initially some much larger toys!) but we are now at the point that when we are playing and I show her my hand (a bit like a traffic policemen saying stop) then she has to sit down and calm down until I say it is OK. We still have moments, she is only 2 after all!!
As I am the 'at home' owner she also told me that Bella needed some quiet time on her own where she would learn to settle herself and for her to learn that it was OK to be apart from me when I was in the house so I also built that into our routine and now when we get back from our morning walk she comes into the house and takes herself straight off to her bed in the hallway for a drink and a rest and I don't even get a look in.