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A new odd

752 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  GWHayduke
So I have always bragged about how Bumpy looooves all people, greets everyone that either comes in our door or that he meets when we are out and about. He wants to approach absolutely everyone with nub wagging. I mean, loves everyone - until last night.

I was working on his obedience on the sidewalk in front of the house, going back and forth between about three houses. This old couple (80's) is walking down the street and I have him in a down stay. As they are approaching I go to move him, but they say it is ok and start to walk by. I say thanks and comment that he is friendly. As they get about two feet away he absolutely loses his mind - all fur standing up, he gets up from his down stay and starts barking like I have never heard before. I do my best to correct him, he isn't listening and I drag his 100lb behind into my lawn and he is still barking like there is no tomorrow. I drag him into the house as he is still freaking out.

As he has never done this before and has only once raised his hackles (when he first heard a crying baby, he has since then gotten over that) I am not sure what to think or more importantly how to respond.

Any advice please. He turns 18 months tomorrow. I saw no behavior that would lead me to believe that he was agitated prior to this moment.

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Any one have any ideas for me?
Were there any canes or walkers involved? Maybe their movement sent him off if he never has been around that before. Older folks do walk slower and are hunched over sometimes. He might have interpeted their body lanuage as something.
Yes, they were hunched over walking slow. Do you think he misinterpreted their body language? I can't remember if there was a cane....I was trying to think about that earlier. I figure he got spooked, I just didn't know why or if this going to become a new behavior. I will say that he acted odd the rest of the night. Wouldn't jump on the bed with me, waited at the edge of the bed just staring at me.....something had him acting oddly.
It sounds like he took them as a threat. Not allowing eye contact. Using the leave it command--both will help. Also if you are prepared in advance have him in a heel position sitting. While he is making eye contact feed treats constantly until the distraction is gone or a distance away. He will associate whatever the distraction is with a good thing--treats.
Whenever we have new dogs in class or start a new class all dogs are considered a leave it to Tamora. That is what I taught her and it works great. She can only visit when I say she can visit. (this is on approval by me and the owner of other dogs. This avoids any possible conflict.
If they were very close to him and he never experienced these kind of movements before, this could have made him react they way he did. If there were some distances between them then it might have been different. In situations where there is alot of people around, I would try to keep his attention on you. When you have his attention he doesn't look around at other things. If you get in this situation again, I would reward him repeatedly as the older people walked by, just to associate this with good things or try to put some distance between them and him until he gets comfortably with it. Right now with your description of this, thats what it sounds like to me.
If the Old Folks were walking slow and kind of hunched over, maybe Bumpy thought they were stalking him, and you.

Slow and hunched over describes the "Doberman Stalk" pretty well.
Maybe they smelled like moth balls, and it scared mother still uses them in her woolens, makes me GAG, I can imagine how it smells to a dog!

I'm sure he thought you were in trouble because of how they were walking.

Another idea: did you notice if they wear hearing aids? I wear one (I'm hearing-impaired), and if for some reason it starts whistling, nearby dogs usually start going wacky, especially if the battery is dying and I have to turn the volume up to get the most out of what's left. I've been bitten by a dog before that reacted to the noise.
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