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Basset keeps barking at me

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Lizziesfrisbee, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. Lizziesfrisbee

    Lizziesfrisbee PetForums Newbie

    Dec 11, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Hey, so I should start with saying these arent my dogs, they are my mums. We've had a springador since before I went to university and then whilst I was at uni her partner got two Basset hounds. He unfortunately passed away a couple of years ago, and we took the Bassets in. Ive now been living back at home for a year, but I'm really having trouble with one of the Bassets.

    The springador has free reign of the house, but the Bassets arent allowed upstairs or in the living room. We have gates to stop them going in those places because they still pee when they get excited, and my mum hasnt really had time to train them not to (Its been a very difficult time for her).

    Whenever I go to see the Bassets, I have one (Poppy) who will come over and say hi, will occasionally jump up, but I'm teaching her not to, so thats not a problem.
    The other one, Honey, will jump up at the gate to say hi whenever I come home after being out, but if I go in to see her she will often go sit in her bed.
    I call her over and start petting her, and she starts to growl. I'm not sure if she is growling at me or poppy, but if I carry on petting her then she starts barking instead.
    I used to ignore it and carry on petting her, because I assumed she was marking her territory againt Poppy, but her barking began getting more aggressive. So then I tried sending her to bed whenever she does it (which my mum told me to do), but now she seems scared whenever I walk in to the room and only comes over when called, but this hasn't stopped the barking.

    I'm really not sure what to do. The other two dogs are perfect angels, and I want to play with honey, but I'm worried all her barking will upset the neighbours.
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

    Feb 1, 2016
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    She sounds a little anxious. I would suggest you ignore her completely - not even eye contact. By calling her over, petting her etc., you are putting her in a situation where she feels uncomfortable. By growling etc. she is trying to tell you she is unhappy - the growl is an important communication and you should pay attention to her as this is her asking you to back off/leave her alone/stay out of her space. Ignoring it is like taking the battery out of a smoke alarm - the noise might stop but it won't alert you to the danger.

    Dogs give a series of signals that they are unhappy, but unfortunately most people don't recognise them because they can be quite subtle. To begin with there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - growl, snarl, nip then bite. If the early signals are not seen (or, in the dog's view, ignored) he won't bother with them because us stupid humans pay no attention anyway; so he may go straight to the bite. So it's important never to ignore a growl.

    After ignoring her, maybe over weeks or months, she may feel more comfortable and approach you. If so; fine but let her take it at her own pace.
    kimthecat, Lurcherlad and Ian246 like this.
  3. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums Senior

    Oct 27, 2018
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    JoanneF is correct (as ever :) ). If you're interested there's a thing called the 'Ladder of Aggression;' which shows the signs in diagramatic form. I've attached one version.

    Attached Files:

    kimthecat and Lurcherlad like this.
  4. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

    Jan 19, 2014
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    Screenshot_20180811-134454.png In case you cannot download pdfs and for any lurkers here is the picture version...

    As others have said she is finding g your behaviour intimidating. I know you don't mean to be but she is. Best to go in and ignore her. Let her set the pace, approach you. Rather than petting her let her initiate contact. If she wants to be petted she will show you. Gently stroke her shoulder a couple of times as this is the least threatening area to touch and then stop. If she asks for more then a few more strokes then stop. Avoid directly looking at her and keep all movements gentle and low key.

    Many nervous animals gain confidence when we sit on the floor at their level and read out loud to them. The rhythm of the reading and concentrating on a book and not them reassures them and being on the floor we are non threatening.

    Take in a few tasty morsels and occasionally toss a small treat in her general direction but not at her. Even if she doesn't eat the food she will begin to associate you with good things.

    Her bed should be a safe sanctuary. She shouldn't be approached if she is on her bed. If you need her somewhere else call her to you with some tasty treats.

    If she exposes her belly that's not an invitation to be petted, quite the reverse. She is asking g that you don't hurt her and is showing trust that you wont.

    At present she is insure of you. Let her come to the conclusion you are good fun to be around in her own time.

    Learn dog body language and learn to spot the very subtle signs like head turns lip flicks and stiffening of posture. If you are getting g to growls you have missed a whole lot if previous communication. Digs that learn that we understand their more subtle communications are far more trusting g than those that are forced to make their point by escalating their response. If she thinks you are listening she will feel more comfortable.

    Have a look at kikopup on YouTube. She has a whole series of excellent videos on training and behaviour and explains why digs react as they do.

    Here is one that you may find of interest to start with...

    kimthecat, Ian246 and JoanneF like this.
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