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We had our first house guests (inlaws) stay with us since we have had Axel (5 months). They stayed four nights and Axel is friendly as usual, however when I get up in the morning early and take care of the dogs needs, and he is relaxing on his blanket he starts to growl and look upstairs when he senses movement from my inlaws on the next floor, he will bark and growl when they come downstairs, and even start a very low growl when he here's the toilet flush or water turn on in their bathroom. He has been like this for the 4 days they have been here, however he is totally fine once they come downstairs and he smells them and they pet him etc. Have any of you experienced similar experiences? Is this normal behavior? Protecting the house? I understand after the first couple days, but still doing it after 4 days seems kind of strange, I always give him positve communication like "it's ok, it's just grandpa and grandma, etc", but not sure if I should be trying to deter this behavior or if this is an instinctive behavior? Thanks
 

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Whatever you do, Do NOT nurture his behaviour by telling him"its ok". When he is growling or in an aggressive mood and you say "its ok shh shh" you are reinforcing his aggressive state of mind telling him that it is ok to be growling. You need to tell him to stop immediately and let him know that you do not like that behavior. I do the "tsst" sound that cesar millan does to let my pup know i do not like what he is doing. You should not nurture his aggressive attitude, but tell him "no, i dont like you doing that" instead... Keep us posted!
 

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Maggie D,

That makes sense, I have read Ceaser's book when he talks about the "tsst" sound. I suppose I was reinforcing his behavior by telling him it's "ok", although I didn't mean for it to be ok. So, just wondering when is it ok for a dog to growl or bark? When the mailman comes to the door? Or the ups driver rings the bell? What happens if a stranger/intruder walks into your house? How does your dog know the difference if he is trained to never growl? Just curious? Thanks for the good information.
 

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I think its your choice as to when you think its ok for him to bark. If you like him barking and being more intimidating to people at the door then you could let him bark, but if he starts growling and getting over excited to regular visitors i wouldnt let him do that because you dont want him to be aggressive, just sligtly protective. I think it is your choice how much you allow him to bark, you can decide when you think he is too aggressive and tell him no (like if its someone who comes to your door regularly, like the mailman or a neighbor) and let him bark other times when its strangers.

Typically, dogs dont like mailmen because they look deformed and funny carrying big bags and boxes so it makes dogs nervous. If you dont like him barking at the mailman maybe have the mailman make him sit and give him a treat once or twice so your dog isnt feeling threatened. Whatever you choose to allow him to bark at, just make sure youre consistent with what is and isnt okay so he doesnt get confused ;D
 
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