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Is Bruno getting protective?

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  • Is Bruno getting protective?

    I plan to ask our obedience trainer too, but thought I would post here since we have such a wealth of knowledge.

    Bruno is a 5 month old Boxer. Doesn't bark at home except when playing. Doesn't react to the doorbell or knocking or people coming in, except, "Oh hi!" *cue wiggly butt*. We have been attending puppy and obedience classes, soccer games, softball games, parties, visiting, and made it through the list of socialization suggestions.

    Yesterday, I walked him up to the school to pick up the kids. While we were waiting outside, a man came walking across the field to pick up his kid. Bruno's hackles raised and he started doing the "alert! something is amiss!" quiet woofs.

    I tried to tell him "Thank you, that's enough" and redirect his attention to commands (sit, down, come front, heel). He did as asked but he wanted to keep an eye on the guy. He never progressed to full out barking or growling, but I could see where this may happen in the future.

    He did this hackles raised/quiet woofing once before - at my mother-in-laws. His second visit there and we were standing outside and he saw someone walking their dog next door. That time I simply called him to me and that distracted him enough to forget about the other dog.

    So, wise COTHers, what do you do with that?

    PS - The only other issue I have with him right now is that he keeps stealing the freaking toilet paper and shredding it!!

  • #2
    I learned ALOT researching for my GSD. You want to socialize him like crazy as a puppy, they learn good people behavior from bad people behavior that way. At your pups age, I think the consensus would be he's way too young to be "protective". What he's doing is actually a fear response. The best thing that could have happened right then would have been for the guy to come up and meet him (talk quietly as he walked by) , show him there's nothing wrong with a person walking by. Get your pup out there, to ballgames, walking where there's lots of people, parks, wherever he will interact with lots of different people's actions. The protectiveness might come later and you want to make sure he can tell the difference.


    • Original Poster

      that is what I am trying to stress. Bruno goes with us almost everyday somewhere meeting new people and new situations and he seems fine with them.

      Next time I will ask the guy to come say hello.


      • #4
        Keep doing it ;-) he will figure it out....he's still a baby.....


        • #5
          But maybe the guy WAS shady?

          My now 9 YO lab is more likely to lick a burglar to death than anything else. But I kid you not, he has twice just gone bat poo over certain people. One he knew well (and was attacking me in my home), the other was approaching with a dog who had attacked others and I believe he was protecting the wee one I had with me.

          If he's otherwise well adjusted, I think I would keep my eyes and ears open but be willing to consider the possiblity that the dog knew something you did not.
          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

          Might be a reason, never an excuse...


          • #6
            Some time ago I had a coonhound/shepherd mix. This dog loved EVERYBODY, and would go at some speed to say HELLO!!! Thankfully he didn't jump...
            When he was about 5 yrs old, I was on a road trip, running a bit early so stopped to get the car washed. Took the dog in the lounge to wait; some guy walked in; my hound dog (on a leash) took one look at him, backed up and growled. The only time in his 13++ yrs that he did such a thing. The guy looked perfectly ok to me, but I guess he wasn't
            We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


            • #7
              I agree with BuddyRoo, I think my animals have a reason for odd behavior. My TB loves men, but not one groom. He got agitated when the groom walked by, held out his hand and tried to make nice. A fellow boarder told me he had pushed my horse aside with his mucking rake prongs hard.
              My horse was right, and the guys "over nice" behavior confirmed it.

              Doesn't mean your father at school is a pyscho, but he might be a dog kicker at home and your dog knows it. My SO doesn't like cats, won't pet them doesn't want them on his lap, says " they want to be left alone", but my cats adore him and always seek him out. Even the barn cat at the stable came out of the barn to lie down and roll on his shoe. The cats know he is a gentle safe soul


              • #8
                I'd like to think dogs can somehow scent a "bad guy" from across a field that neither they nor the owner have never met --that WOULD be convenient for everyone! (Except the bad guy.)

                More likely there was something that the dog noticed that worried it. A strange outline, something about the guy's walk, maybe he had his hands in his pockets and looked to the dog like he had no arms, maybe the guy smokes cigars, or maybe just the fact of some guy out in a field--the possibilities are endless. I had a lovely, friendly puppy who was terrified of my friend after she got hair extensions. (I kind of agreed with the dog.)

                One night our current dog happened to look up and see the ceiling fan in a room he'd been in for a year, and got scared. It wasn't even on! The next night long after he'd normally have gone to bed, he was alarm barking off in another part of the house. When my DH finally went to find out what was wrong, turned out the dog had gotten himself stuck on the far side of the room, afraid to go out under the fan! When my DH opened the back door, he rushed out in a panic to escape. Ever since, he looks up at ceilings as if aliens might land.

                I'm sure dogs think we're whacky. They probably have threads on doggie forums:
                My Mom Went Ballistic! WWYD? Last night I was in the bathroom and my mom came in and just started yelling at me for no reason! Then she banged down the seat on the commode and dragged me out by my collar! She took me over to my water bowl, but I wasn't thirsty. Couldn't she see that I'd just had plenty to drink? I'd never bite her, of course, but I have to admit I kinda felt a buzzing in my teeth. WWYD? Should I sleep on the floor or on the bed tonight?
                Ring the bells that still can ring
                Forget your perfect offering
                There is a crack in everything
                That's how the light gets in.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MelantheLLC View Post
                  More likely there was something that the dog noticed that worried it. A strange outline, something about the guy's walk, maybe he had his hands in his pockets and looked to the dog like he had no arms, maybe the guy smokes cigars, or maybe just the fact of some guy out in a field--the possibilities are endless.
                  I agree. You don't know what he saw (or smelled for that matter) and I'd hate to project. If he does this again, try backing up away from the stranger if possible and just let him work it out. Once he is a little less focused, try some simple commands. If he can't do them, he can't. I also would not encourage scary people to come to him. Once he is a little more confident, they can come up, but for now.....I'd not make a big deal of it and just keep some distance so my dog was comfortable.


                  • #10
                    Dear Melanthellc dog,
                    Sorry to hear about your Mom's strange behavior. Humans have limited capacity in many areas, their inability to smell comes to mind, they can't hunt prey without us and they tire easily. Mostly they lack understanding and memory. That you and I remember Pterosaurs from our ancient forefathers and that you saw one in the ceiling and your Mom failed to recognize it just another example of their sweet but limited minds.
                    They are however friendly animals to live with and they can provide meals and be trained to open doors for us, I would not dismiss them as a species.
                    Just remember to keep training them, be gentle but persistent and the outcome should be a happy one. They respond well to tail wagging and a good lick on the hand. Remember they can provide bacon and are well worth the investment of time and love you put into them.
                    Labby Landers


                    • #11

                      I will say, on behalf of MelantheLLC dog, that ceiling fan never did work right.

                      Maybe he's worth his bacon.
                      Ring the bells that still can ring
                      Forget your perfect offering
                      There is a crack in everything
                      That's how the light gets in.