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Our pup is 9 weeks old (we got him when he was 8) and I have a behavior question. Yesterday morning, while taking him out for potty, he saw someone walking their Husky on the other side of the street. The hair on his back stood up, he growled and then he barked a few times. Is this normal for a dog his age? Other than that, he seems very socialized and is the most loving, cuddly pup (I read in another thread where someone called their Doberman a "velcro dog"...that's our Damon!). We have 2 other smaller dogs and he shows them no aggression at all. The only reason I ask is because many years ago, friends of ours had a young cocker spaniel pup who at a few months, did the same thing, the hair on his back would stand up and he would growl at anyone who wasn't family...he ended up being so aggressive even before he was 1 year old that he bit a small child and our friends had to get rid of him.
 

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Holier Than Now
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Our pup is 9 weeks old (we got him when he was 8) and I have a behavior question. Yesterday morning, while taking him out for potty, he saw someone walking their Husky on the other side of the street. The hair on his back stood up, he growled and then he barked a few times. Is this normal for a dog his age? Other than that, he seems very socialized and is the most loving, cuddly pup (I read in another thread where someone called their Doberman a "velcro dog"...that's our Damon!). We have 2 other smaller dogs and he shows them no aggression at all. The only reason I ask is because many years ago, friends of ours had a young cocker spaniel pup who at a few months, did the same thing, the hair on his back would stand up and he would growl at anyone who wasn't family...he ended up being so aggressive even before he was 1 year old that he bit a small child and our friends had to get rid of him.
First, Cockers are notorious for biting children--if they are badly bred, that is, and the US is flooded with badly-bred Cockers.

Second, yes, what your pup did is a normal fear reaction. It's NOT aggression, per se.

It's the baby thing of "I'll make myself look bigger and sound scarier so maybe you will leave me alone."

Just continue socializing, socializing, socializing.

Also, pay close attention to what you do when your puppy acts this way. Sometimes humans inadvertently reward and reinforce this behavior.

The "There, there, it's alright" is taken as verbal praise by dogs--don't do that.

Be upbeat, calm, matter of fact and start some training exercises that will help when you encounter SCARY THINGS.

Look up kikopup on youtube and learn how to teach a solid "Leave It" to your pup.

Also, the game of "Check It Out" is invaluable. On this one, every step forward or even sideways, so long as it's not a retreat step, gets marked as "correct" whether you use a clicker or your voice saying "yes," and then the pup is rewarded.

If you do this exercise properly, you'll soon have a pup who eagerly goes forward to investigate new and scary stuff.

In the case of other dogs, of course, only let them approach a small distance, as you don't know if the other dog is truly safe, or not. But with inanimate scary objects--and you will find there are killer trashcans and demonic gas meters and plastic bags blowing in the wind with homicidal intent--you can let pup go all the way up and sniff. Praise like crazy for that, and his confidence will build accordingly.
 

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First, Cockers are notorious for biting children--if they are badly bred, that is, and the US is flooded with badly-bred Cockers.

Second, yes, what your pup did is a normal fear reaction. It's NOT aggression, per se.

It's the baby thing of "I'll make myself look bigger and sound scarier so maybe you will leave me alone."

Just continue socializing, socializing, socializing.

Also, pay close attention to what you do when your puppy acts this way. Sometimes humans inadvertently reward and reinforce this behavior.

The "There, there, it's alright" is taken as verbal praise by dogs--don't do that.

Be upbeat, calm, matter of fact and start some training exercises that will help when you encounter SCARY THINGS.

Look up kikopup on youtube and learn how to teach a solid "Leave It" to your pup.

Also, the game of "Check It Out" is invaluable. On this one, every step forward or even sideways, so long as it's not a retreat step, gets marked as "correct" whether you use a clicker or your voice saying "yes," and then the pup is rewarded.

If you do this exercise properly, you'll soon have a pup who eagerly goes forward to investigate new and scary stuff.

In the case of other dogs, of course, only let them approach a small distance, as you don't know if the other dog is truly safe, or not. But with inanimate scary objects--and you will find there are killer trashcans and demonic gas meters and plastic bags blowing in the wind with homicidal intent--you can let pup go all the way up and sniff. Praise like crazy for that, and his confidence will build accordingly.
I used to have a horse that was terrified of Daffodils and he was 17.2hh so how scary must stuff be to a small pup.
 
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