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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

Darwin is almost 8 months old and he has a new behavior of growling while in our apartment when he hears various noises. It isn't a protective growl, but rather he will get up, growl and run to his crate as though he is scared, tail down. We aren't sure how to respond to this behavior because we don't want to re-enforce the fear, but we also don't want to have him growling at every little noise!

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to proceed in this case?

Any advise would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
 

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My guess is that he may grow out of it without you doing anything, once he gets used to the various noises and develops self-confidence. Some people have had good success with looking outside and saying, "no problem," in a calm, casual voice. I think dogs do respond to "show, don't tell," so if you show you notice noises but aren't concerned about them, he may eventually get the idea they're nothing to be concerned about. Our behavioral vet (doggie psych lol) suggested the best way to handle Rosie's fear of new people (in addition to having them give her treats) is that we shake hands with the new person to show we accept them. I guess the approach I'm suggesting is similar with noises (look outside, say no problem, go back to your business). That said, we haven't been able to cure Rosie of barking/growling at noises yet (and she's 16 mos).
 

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Try not to say 'its ok dont worry' and go over and stroke him or he might think you ae prasing his behaviour.
My parents have got a 'loud noises' CD for their dog who was scared of heavy rain,thunder,fireworks etc, they playing it during the day while they are all doing normal things and it has all sorts of weird noises and bangs and people knocking and stuff etc on it, and it completely got him used to all noises. They got it from their Vets but you can buy it online http://www.soundsscary.com/Page 3.htm
I know he is growling at the noises rather than showing anxiety but it might get him used to them so he ignores them.
 

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We have been trying to figure out what the specific noises are that set him off so we can make them and just get him used to the sounds. We also have been ignoring the behavior and when he comes back after running off to his crate and looking normal giving praise and a good scratch. I really like the idea of a way to show him it is okay! I will try this out and let you know how it goes!

Thanks!
 

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Glad to have this reminder of that CD. We should try that with Rosie. Might even give her treats while she listens to it (counterconditioning). I think we also need to start having someone ring the doorbell repeatedly. She is super "barky" when the doorbell is rung. She's the most anxious dog we know.
 

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Darwin seems to be really bothered by sounds on the TV. He'll be in the room with us hanging out, then when we start watching a movie, he'll suddenly look at the TV, get up and skulk off to his crate growling under his breath. He'll come back while the movie is playing, then some sound in the movie will freak him out again. It's not any noise in particular, it seems pretty random. He must be hearing something we can't. Either way, I'm afraid that comforting him will reinforce the behavior. We spent about 2 days reprimanding him with a sharp "QUIET" and baby gating him in the room with us so he can't avoid it (so maybe he'll get used to the noises), but it seemed to make matters worse. He seems to be reacting with more intensity.

So we're trying to decide if we...

1.) should just baby gate him in the room with us and ignore him pacing around with his head down and growling? Or...

2.) let him keep skulking in and out of the room on his own accord?

Just to clarify, this behavior has just started in the past couple of weeks.

Thoughts?
 
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