Dog Gone Problems is a weekly advice column by David Codr, a dog behaviorist in Omaha. David answers dog behavior questions sent in by our readers. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dog Gone Problems,
I have socialized my puppy since I adopted her from the humane society at 3 months old. She just recently started barking at the door bell/people who enter the house.
She has been going to puppy daycare for two days a week for about a month. Today she barked at a woman in the lobby waiting to pick up her puppy. I was taken back.
All the woman did was put her hands out and say hi. She loves people and just the other day a girl about the age of 12 came into the drive way and said hi and my puppy barked at her. I gave the little girl treats to give Penny and she became more calm.
Any suggestions? Thank you.
I wish you would have mentioned how old your puppy is now. Puppies go through different developmental and fear periods, and it's possible your puppy is in one of those stages.
Dogs sleep 13 to 17 hours a day (larger breeds tend to sleep on the higher end and smaller on the lower). So if your dog was at daycare for eight hours, she may have been overly tired and a little off her game. You may want to ask if the daycare can give her a little break in the middle of the day. Sometimes this can help a dog recharge his or her batteries a bit.
It's possible your dog was over-tired, didn’t like something about the woman in the lobby or was anxious or stressed out. Daycare is pretty active for dogs. If your dog was playing with other dogs, then suddenly brought out of the play room and into the lobby, she may have just been all charged up.
You may want to start having treats with you and when anyone asks to pet your dog, give them a treat to give to your dog first. This can put the dog into a good mood and also offers a bit of a distraction, which can help.
Something else to consider: Just like us, dogs don’t always want to be touched by everyone they meet.
A nice way to determine if this is the case is to have the person reach out but stop a few inches from the dog’s nose. This gives the dog the opportunity to decline. The dog will say no by turning her head to the side, backing away or lowering her head.
If you see your dog offer any of those movements, ask the person to give another treat instead or not pet the dog. The more your dog sees that people are listening, the more confident and relaxed she will be.
Good luck and remember — everything you do trains your dog. Only sometimes you mean it.
Meet the 10 (very good) dogs who have been at the Nebraska Humane Society the longest:
Meet the 10 (very good) dogs who have been at the Nebraska Humane Society the longest
These are the very good dogs who have been at the Nebraska Humane Society the longest. All are up for adoption as of March 10. For more information on the adoption process and to see all dogs available for adoption, visit nehumanesociety.org/adopt.