Barking at strangers in home.

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Lotsaquestions
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Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:06 am

Barking at strangers in home.

Post by Lotsaquestions » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:25 am

Hey all,

Unfortunately our boiler has decided to break so we had a man out to see it. Merlin has had strangers in the home before, men and women, and he gets excited but then greets them happily and tries to get them to play. Today he was different and I am not sure what his behaviour actually was, as he was giving mixed signals.

He wouldn't stop barking for starters. He followed the man around barking at him. His tail was wiggly and his whole body was loose, so I thought it was just excitment. But whenever the man walked towards him (just around the house, not to stroke him) Merlin dodged out the way like he was wary, so then I thought worry. Either way we took him out the room to calm down, then I brought chicken out. Eventually I kept tossing treats on the floor a little bit away from the man and Merlin relaxed (stopped barking) and I gave him a treat everytime he looked at the man and was quiet. He never stopped wagging his tail the whole time and he was never tense or pacey, he just jumped behind the man barking.

So what was his reaction and what should I have done? He didn't seem afraid, he just seemed really excited, but the backing away made me question that. It was like he kept saying 'LOOK, A MAN! THERE IS A MAN! LOOK! HE'S MOVING!'

He kept trying to lick the man's hands, and when the man sat down he tried to lick his face. He has been on bed rest for a week now so he might be wound up anyway. We are having builders out in two weeks to fit a new boiler so I want to know what I should do IF he is still on bed rest (so I can't take him out for the day) and he reacts the same way again. The guy was really good, he basically just ignored Merlin so it wasn't as if he was goading Merlin on or going out of his way to stroke him. Merlin was the one following him and jumping up at him / just behind him.

As an aside, Merlin has form in barking at people. If he sees something he loves he will go ape, and he can sound pretty scary. He does this to me / my partner / my family / neighbours / random lady he for some reason loves down our road, and he is absolutely not afraid when he does it. I am used to him barking at people in excitement, but he generally stops once he is able to get a stroke. This time he didn't want attention (although he kept jumping up on the man and licking his hands).

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JudyN
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Re: Barking at strangers in home.

Post by JudyN » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:29 am

It sounds to me like anxiety: 'I like people, I like to say hello to people, but actually you might be a bit scary. I want to get close so I can sniff you and touch you and see what you do but.... eeeek, you're still a bit scary!'

If it was me I'd keep Merlin away from strangers in the home if they're workmen rather than friends who can work with M over time. Give him treats when they come, maybe give him treats when he looks at them (e.g. from behind a stairgate), give him treats when he's calm and ignoring them. I'd probably ask them to ignore him, or maybe give him a quick hello from a distance. The message is 'There's a stranger in the house. Meh, it's no big deal, neither exciting nor scary.'

Jasper was really bad with people coming to the door after we'd had decorators in for a fortnight, but we worked on this and he's fine now, but I keep him behind a stairgate to be on the safe side. Now he's very much 'meh', though he still expects a treat when they go.

Having had resticted exercise I'm sure will make M worse at the moment, though of course he's much barkier in general than J, and a lot less 'meh' in the house.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Lotsaquestions
Posts: 613
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:06 am

Re: Barking at strangers in home.

Post by Lotsaquestions » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:00 pm

It seemed like exactly that!

I'll keep him out the way if he is still forced to stay in the house when the builders come. Its definately not a fear of men in general, as just 5 mins ago he said hello to random drunk guy on the street and had a good stroke. It could just be them being in his space when he's not feeling so great. I won't try and work on it at all until he's much better, if it keeps being an issue.

Thanks!

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