Still a protective pup

Posted by puppylove
Sep 9, 2008
My nearly 11 month old doxie mix puppy was spayed two weeks ago. She was a very barky puppy and would bark at every little thing and sound. She has always been a very bold and some what stubborn puppy, as the doxie breed tends to be. She would bark and growl at most, but not [B]all[/B] strange men while out on walks, even men that she had saw nearly every single day that we walked since she was 4 months old when I got her. She has never lunged at or tried to bite them. We walk for 45 minutes-1 hour, two times a day. And play in and outside of the house in between.

Now after her spay, she is considerably less barky and only still barks at the mailman from inside the house as he walks across our lawn to the neighbors house. She no longer barks at the "strange" men that we come across on our walks, but she continues to stop walking and growl at them and now has included some women as well. I had hoped she would of became less protective after her spay and stop the growling as well. Most of the men have come to know Keira, and either ignore her or laugh at her as they walk by. Others will cross the road. But I would like this behavior to stop regardless! She's a sweet puppy and I don't like people thinking that she's just one of those bratty spoiled dogs, because she is not!

Any ideas as to why she would stop barking but continues to growl at men that she has seen nearly everyday for 7 months and now has included some women as well?

Every time she growls, I tell her firmly "no" and give her a quick tug to the side. I will also give her a little tap to her thigh region sometimes. She snaps out of it pretty quickly, but will sometimes still want to look back behind her to see the person that she just growled at. I have also tried a squirt from a spray bottle, and a shaker can to correct her growling. Any other suggestions that I could try?

She listens to me, and knows I'm her leader, I have always practiced NILIF, she doesn't pull on the leash, and walks at a heel. But for whatever reason she doesn't seem to think some men and now some women belong on the streets.

Is it possible she is just feeling something she doesn't like about them or could they be doing something that makes her react like this?
Posted by KOPsRobyn
Jan 23, 2010
Hi there,

The most important thing to remember is never to reward the barking. It is good that you are ignoring him when he barks as he is trying to get attention and he will realize that barking doesn't work. The moment she is quiet, say 'Quiet' to her and then give her lots of attention and a treat. This gives her something to strive towards, so that she knows what you want as well as what is considered bad behavior. Unfortunately, dogs often mistake people walking away to be a direct result of their barking, so it may be quite hard to stop her barking at people on the road, because she is getting her 'reward' each time they go past. To stop this, you may need to try the ‘Alarm-No-Command’ method. This will distract her for a few seconds, and allow you to get her attention, which should be plenty of time for you to give the 'quiet' command and reward her for his silence. Then you can give her another command, such as ‘sit-stay’, so that she will completely forget about the other people. Don’t forget to reward and praise her when she listens to your commands.

Making a big fuss of her when she is quiet is vital, but to ensure maximum efficacy you must not generally give her attention whenever she asks for it. Instead, she has to learn to work for it, for example, only playing with her after she has obeyed a command. This will make your attention all the more valuable and worthwhile in her eyes.

Dogs are commonly more aggressive on the leash than they would be off the leash. This is due to their natural reactions to a possible threat, such as the fight or flight response, has been reduced, because you are controlling their movement. Their only possible response to what they perceive as a challenge is to fight, so they view all situations with a more aggressive outlook from the beginning. It is possible that although you have been practicing the alpha dog training with your dog, she still sees herself in a protector role of the pack and feels the need to defend you in front of the possible threats. You must remember that protection is the leader’s responsibility and you should remind her of this when she starts acting aggressively. Take control of the situation should it arise, and lead her in the direction you want her to go. This may involve turning around and heading home when she misbehaves. By doing this you are not only controlling her movement as an alpha dog would, but you are also telling her that if she is naughty, it will be the end of her walk. She will soon realize that if she wants to be out and about she needs to behave.

Keep up with the obedience training, even if it is just 5 minutes a day, because this will not only result in a more obedient and responsive dog, but also in a better relationship between you.

I hope this helps and all the best with the training!