Can someone explain Sammy's behavior?

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Can someone explain Sammy's behavior?

Postby MaggieRocks » Sun Sep 07, 2014 10:19 am

There are 2 things about his behavior which seem kind of strange to me.

First-when we are at work or will be away for a while, we always crate Sammy. (Maggie & Emma have the run of the house.) If we're outside working and it's too hot for Sam to be out, we'll let him out of the crate and just check on him periodically. Now, here is what is strange....when I come home from work, as soon as I put my key in the lock, Sam starts barking. If anyone were with me, they would think we have a rabid rottweiler in the house! When he hears my voice, he stops. This weekend, we went away for maybe 2 hours, and we decided to let him out of his crate. When we came home, not only did he NOT bark...he couldn't even be bothered to get off the couch! Same thing just now-I ran down to the store, was only gone for 20 minutes, and when I came back-nothing. Why does he act like such an "attack dog" when he's crated, but so calm when not?

Second (and I find this one REALLY strange)...my SIL works insane hours (5am-2pm), so she gets home from work before us. She lives right below us, so she comes up and lets the dogs out before we get home. We gave her a key so she could do this. She gets Sammy out of his crate, and he is fine. The strange part? If she comes in the house when we are home and Sammy is uncrated-he will go after her like he's never seen her before! I literally have to grab him and crate him, or he would probably bite her. Why would he do this when he sees her just about every day and is fine with her getting him out of his crate, leashing him and going for a walk?

He is such a strange boy. He's the biggest love muffin with us, tolerates Maggie's attitude, and even lets the cats push him around. But as soon as anyone comes around, he turns into a "junk yard dog" and acts as though everyone else is out to get us and we need protected. :(
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Re: Can someone explain Sammy's behavior?

Postby Cindy » Sun Sep 07, 2014 2:08 pm

Hard to say but it almost seems like a kind of guarding/watch dog behavior. Certainly being in a crate makes him more vulnerable so I can understand the barking thing until he hears your voice. I suspect Sammy is smart enough to not "bite the hand that feeds him" or lets him out out/takes him for a walk when you're not around. But when you are around, maybe he feels like he needs to protect you. I really don't know - just a guess on my part. But we all know these dogs can be quirky and maybe this is just one of his :?:
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Re: Can someone explain Sammy's behavior?

Postby adele » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:17 am

Both my dogs are meek and scardy cats when I'm not around but when I am around both of them (Tramp especially!) can appear to be guarding me. I read somewhere (don't know if it was on this forum or in a book or mag.) that the dog feels it can act that way because it expects you to back him up. So he may be meek when alonge but gets "courage" when you're there. Don't know if that is right or not but it is one person's thought.
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Re: Can someone explain Sammy's behavior?

Postby Barb Wright » Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:44 pm

First issue: When he is in his crate his options for "defense" are limited (especially no flight ability) and so he appears fierce (defensive) until he knows who cometh. When he is loose in the house he has options so he is more accepting of persons arriving.

Second issue: He is protecting you, unnecessarily in this case because he knows the visitor, and so you have a training issue. That means working on his greeting manners. Commands (sit, wait, down, whatever) and treats when you have visitors arrive will soon get across that if you are letting someone in it is an okay situation and he does not need to be on alert (or guard duty). He should be allowed a couple barks at least until you determine who is at the door and then tell him it is "okay, no barking". This will take planning and cooperation from your arriving guests, and probably quite a few repetitions until you achieve obedience.

Guarding their "pack" members is pretty normal for most dogs and not something you would want to train out completely. You may be approached by a stranger in another context where you would want the dog to be "guarding" you. The object is to have them stand down when you say it is "okay". Training !!!
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Re: Can someone explain Sammy's behavior?

Postby MaggieRocks » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:39 am

I get such good information here! :D We are not in a development-we're in the country and guests are sporadic. That makes it especially difficult to work on his manners, but maybe if we put more effort into it, we will have some improvement. I'll have to enlist my SIL and a few others to stop by more often!
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Re: Can someone explain Sammy's behavior?

Postby Cindy » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:19 pm

We are not in a development-we're in the country and guests are sporadic.

That's the same problem we have. Layla has gotten so much better at the dog park. She doesn't often scare other dogs or people away with her "talking" which sounds pretty threatening if you didn't know her! :oops: But we have yet to cure her of alerting us when someone knocks at our door. It's hard to practice when no one ever comes over!
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Re: Can someone explain Sammy's behavior?

Postby adele » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:25 pm

Well, to me it sounds like both of you just have to start party-ing! (It'll be a long drive for me so I'll crash at your places)
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Re: Can someone explain Sammy's behavior?

Postby MaggieRocks » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:46 pm

adele wrote:Well, to me it sounds like both of you just have to start party-ing! (It'll be a long drive for me so I'll crash at your places)



:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Can someone explain Sammy's behavior?

Postby Cindy » Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:00 am

Well, to me it sounds like both of you just have to start party-ing! (It'll be a long drive for me so I'll crash at your places)

You're exactly right!! We don't have any friends that live closer than a 45 minute drive so when we do get together to "party" it's usually for an overnight!! Seriously, that's what's really hard for Layla - she a VERY social Brittany. We've never had one before but she loves nothing more than meeting new people and dogs. Even the dog park we take her to is becoming boring - same old dogs every time! :lol:
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