WB has just started doing this. he is 11 months old and has done this twice now in the past 2 weeks. tonight it was the lights of a car reflecting on our garden shed. last week it was my neighbour's dad climbing up on our fence.
both times WB will start a low growl and his hackles (sp?) are raised. then a few loud barks.
i want him to feel he can raise the alarm if he senses a threat but i want to be able to say something to let him know he can stop barking/growling now, that he has alerted my attention.
does that make sense?
this evening when he did it i got up and checked out the back and then called him to sit beside me. when he did i said "good quiet" and patted him. is that right? is tehre something different i should do?
Mine are pet rather than guard dogs but if they show a guarding instinct in so far as baying goes, I prefer to utilise it rather than eliminate it too
With ours we do a command when they start to raise the alarm, then 'quiet' when they know we are satisfied. This way they eventually learn to call out on command too, which can be helpful (as in, when I hear a noise that they haven't registered!). It just means I can encourage them to make their presence known, in a controlled manner, if need be.
I do 'speak' separately, as a bark per command, keeping it completely separate from intruder alert.
Booyhoo this is very common. Dogs enter a final fear phase it can go on until about 14 months. Things that they were confident about can become scary and things they have never even noticed before become huge scary objects.
I have a "go look/see" command. I do this to things the dog is happy with then if he barks at unusual things we can go see and he goes has a sniff realises it is fine and everything goes back to normal!
It will all settle down but do not make a big thing out of it.
Ahhh ... we have been getting this too. Sometimes it has been reflections in the window, another time dp had gone down to the bottom of the back garden and Rory obviously hadn't heard him go out and didn't recognise him from a distance!
I must admit, for a big soft lump, he can sound very scary! Again, it is not something I necessarily want to discourage completely.
If you see something ahead, anything really, try it with a tree "say go look" and purposefully walk up to the tree, pat it sound really interested and then say ok lets go.
What you are doing is showing that go look is ok, go look is safe and nothing too it.
Do it in the house a couple of times a day and be prepared to feel stupid .
Then when the fear element comes in just say "go look" the dog knows the etiquette and will play along with you and soon be calm and trusting that it is nothing to worry about. They will still bark and hackles will come up but the recovery time will be quicker.
I use it a lot with foster dogs/puppies who are nervous and unsure and very quickly they will realise that you can be trusted and they do not need to be a big scary dog to get rid of things they are unsure of.