Barking at SOME other dogs

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Barking at SOME other dogs

Post by Htilevit »

We acquired our male brittany when he was 9 months old. He rarely barked when we got him except when new people came to our house (clearly territorial) but that was just to alert us and has never been a problem.

He is now 5 1/2 years old - 6 in september - and about a year ago he started barking a certain other dogs. He's pretty consistent with German Shepards and Greyhounds/Whippets. Other dogs - generally big - are hit and miss. He does not bark at all at many dogs. Yet he is in a 3 hour group walk often with a German Shepard and has no issues.

1. I read somewhere that Brittanys often start exhibiting new behaviors around 5 years old.
2. Can anyone suggest a cause?
3. Can anyone suggest a cure.

We live in an apartment building with a terrace. With a balcony door open he often just needs to smell these dogs from his perch 5 floors up and he barks hysterically until they have passed.

Help? Thanks.

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Re: Barking at SOME other dogs

Post by gagesbarb »

I don't know about new behaviors coming out when britts are about 5 yrs...never heard that...will be interesting to hear from others...
Although hard to know why these things happen, I would wonder if somewhere/somehow he was startled/scared by a german shepherd or big dog like that, and developed a negative association...Gage and I were outside one winter morning; it was dark and a neighbor's shepherd came galloping up, startling both of us...she was not aggressive and nothing happened, but the startle was enough so that mine, ever since, goes into crazy barking whenever he sees her...he hasn't generalized to other dogs though...he does know her (though had never reacted negatively to her) so maybe the association he developed was to that particular dog, not all dogs that look like her...Your dog knows the german shepherd you walk with so that dog doesn't fit the category "unfamiliar dogs that look like german shepherds who have scared me."
Anyway, I would try to counter condition...have a bunch of very yummy treats and as soon as your dog notices the scarey dog, even when he's on the terrace, and give him treat, treat, treat...keep on until the dog has passed...the idea is to change his emotional association from big dog = scared, to big dog = yummy treat. Try to start with a big threshold (distance from the scarey dog) so your dog is not overwhelmed. Hard when you are on the terrace, but I might go with yours on to the terrace and watch carefully so that as soon as he starts to react, you treat...
If you use a clicker, this is called "click the trigger." Interesting (I know not the word you would use in the middle of the situation) issue and I'd like to hear what others might suggest and how things go...

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