a quick dog behavior/training Q

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by patandchickens, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I feel dumb asking this, b/c if it were *horses* the answer would be obvious to me, but although I have been "around" dogs a lot, this is the first one of MINE.

    Just want to check if I did the right thing here:

    yesterday Russell (8 mo. yellow lab) apparently had some sort of 'brain fart' when he looked out the kitchen door, and mistook either our sheep (200' away at the barn) or the kids' pile of raked-up leaves (almost as far away) for some sort of dog or animal or other intrudery-monstery thing. Started growling and barking like crazy -- first time he has EVER barked in the house, in fact.

    There was really pretty clearly nothing legitimate out there, but he was just not chilling out, so I put him on the leash and dragged him out there. (At times it *was* literally dragging - he kept alternating between barking and pulling forward, and freezing and refusing to move or wanting to bolt). He was deeply suspicious of the leaf pile til we walked through it and established that it was, in fact, a leaf pile; then he started barking at the sheep in front of the barn, til I led him in there and (carefully) approached one of them to within about 10' and Russ decided it probably might be a sheep after all, at least *now*. After that, he was fine.

    (I am hoping that, rather than their being a problem with his eyes or brain-cell, perhaps it was just a matter of things suddenly "looking different" now that the leaves are off the trees and I cut some weeds down and he can *see* the sheep at the barn better from the kitchen door.)

    My question is, was this the right thing to do? If not, should I have just shut the drapes and ignored him, or what? What would you have done?

    Thanks for any opinions,

  2. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    I don't think it was the wrong thing to do but most of the time when my dogs are going nuts outside I check for anything actually being out there, tell they are being silly, and then ignore them. They've come to learn that if I look out and don't see anything worth fussing over it means there probably isn't and they soon give up barking. You can't always take them out to show them every little thing they get upset about.
  3. gettinaclue

    gettinaclue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    I would have done exactly as you had. I have no experience with labs and so cannot speak for the breed, but I think you showing him what was there was the best thing.
  4. Higins00

    Higins00 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    I agree, that was ok to do. But like the previous person stated you don't want to go out everytime he barks. I would do the look out tell him thank you for letting me know something looked different and give him a pat. If he doesnt stop take him out and show him nothing is there so maybe next time you tell him thanks he'll listen and trust you that there is nothing to be alarmed at. Good luck
  5. LyonFuzz

    LyonFuzz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2008
    South Lyon, Michigan
    could it have been a squirrel or something similar that he saw? Then it probably was gone by the time he dragged you out there and made a liar out of him...LOL. I think you did the right thing for sure.
  6. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    yep - don't do it all the time. If you've investigated and see nothing to bark at, tell him there's noting out there and to quiet down.
  7. Brindlebtch

    Brindlebtch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2009
    Initially I would have taken him out to show him he was seeing monsters where there were none. If he continues being a goober about it. Look out the door yourself, and if you don't see anything to concern you - time to teach him "quiet".
  8. fl_deb

    fl_deb Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2010
    I have a little different point of view on this from personal experience a long time ago.

    My dog was very protective, to the point of biting a baby sitter she had seen many times before, because I had told her to go on in the house ahead of me. My bad.

    One day my dog was barking and I looked out and didn't see anything. She continued barking so I looked out the back door and saw that the next door neighbor lady had a visitor at her back door and assumed that was what had my dog in a tizzy. I called my dog in, which she ignored, and continued her barking up and down the fence in the side yard. I then decided to just ignore her, and after a few more minutes, her barking stopped.

    The next day I learned from my neighbor, that as the one visitor kept her at the back door, another unwelcomed visitor had broken into her front door, and had made off with her purse with her recently cashed salary check inside! [​IMG] I then realized that my dog was trying to alert me to this guys' presence, but he must have been hiding or already in their house when I looked out. [​IMG]
    Oh, how I wished I had just turned her out that day instead of assuming she was just barking at the lady at the back door. It would have made a big difference to this dear woman!

    So I think you are always right to find out for sure what the dog is barking at or train them well enough to turn out without having a leash on. [​IMG]
  9. Brindlebtch

    Brindlebtch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2009
    You are very right.

    But when my dogs have a serious issue with anything, they either are entirely silent and go for it or their barking is of a whole different character and truly ferocious.

    I always give them the benefit of the doubt and look, even when they give a 'dog or person in the street' bark. And then tell them hush. Even when someone starts walking up the driveway, their bark will change. Know your dog's bark.
  10. Orchid

    Orchid Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    If my Lab went nuts like that in the house - barking and growling - I would probably go get a gun. Honestly. He only barks for one reason and that is his big protective bark when something isn't right. He doesn't have an "excited" bark or a "happy to see you" bark or an "oh boy we have company!" bark - then he just wiggles madly and tries to lick everyone in sight. [​IMG]

    I think you did right. [​IMG]

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