what is my dog trying to tell me?

Posted by thartley
Sep 16, 2009
Sometimes during a training session with my 5.5 month old Lab, I'll give her a command that she already knows, but instead of doing the command, she just stands there and barks at me. Not just one or two barks, but over and over like a machine gun. If I ask her to do a different command, she usually does it just fine. She seems to do this more when I ask her to 'play dead', but sometimes it happens with something as simple as 'sit'.

I don't like changing the command because in doing so, I feel it might inadvertently teach her that she can ignore me when she feels like it. So instead, I try ignoring her when she starts the barking. I turn my back on her. Sometimes she moves around to face me while continuing to bark.

Later during the same training session, I can give her the command that she barked at before and she will do it just fine.

So what is she trying to tell me with the barking?

Is ignoring her the right thing to do?

Is it okay to give her a different command without getting her to do the first one?

Posted by LetsPlay
Sep 16, 2009
Hi there,

she might be testing your boundaries or she might be insecure. If you are confident that she knows the command (which it sounds like she does) than the first option is more likely. Also the fact that she wants to bark in your face even if you turn around indicates that she is dominant.
You should not give in or change the command. Your pup is at an age where testing to see who is the real pack leader is quite common, so you want to make sure that whenever your pup tests you you re-establish your leadership status.
Be matter of fact, calm but firm. Tell her to stop barking. If she does give her a treat. If she doesn't ignore her, walk away and don't continue the session unless she calmed down. When she is quite again continue where you left it off.

Let us know how you get on.