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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While I'm here...I have a question.
We just moved into this new apartment and it has a whole new set of unfamiliar noises for my dog to get used to. When someone comes near the door she gets up to check it out but refrains from barking if I tell her to. My husband comes home at 3:00am when I'm usually sleeping and she has been giving a little growl and bark when he goes to open the door and will only stop when she either sees him or he says her name. She is not a barker so when she does, I take it as important. On one hand, I like that she feels the need to keep me safe when I'm sleeping and if I happen to be awake when he comes home she doesn't do this but on the other hand, I don't want to let something keep happening if it may escalate to aggression. The past few nights he's been calling me from the parking lot so I'll be awake when he gets here so she doesn't bark. If this seems like something that could become a problem, any one have suggestions on how to calm her? I thought she recognized his footsteps because she would just wag her tail and not even get out of her bed when he came home to the place we lived before.
 

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Really, I wouldn't worry about it as long as she is stopping as soon as she realizes it is him. It is totally natural to be more protective at night when you are sleeping. I would imagine that she would soon learn to expect him coming home in the middle of the night and be less likely to bark.
 

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I would imagine that his footsteps sound pretty different now, unless this apartment's steps are exactly like the last place you lived. Probably even the direction the steps come from is different. Heck, you guys probably even smell different now that I think about it, not your core smell but the smells that cling to your clothes. I tend to agree with the previous poster, she'll most likely adjust to the new situation. To me a little growl or a bark is saying "identify yourself" and as long as he does then she'll probably do it less and less as she gets used to her surroundings.

My dog rarely barks (watch dog type bark I mean), so when she does we don't discourage it. But I always scold my husband if he confuses her and she barks and he doesn't speak. He says he doesn't want to discourage her trying to protect the house and I tell him it is our job to just calmly let her know she is barking at us by just saying her name in a neutral tone. The times it has happened we were walking up the yard to the house at dusk and she barked at us through the window. The last time it happened was when she saw him with his motorcycle helmet on, but she was truly scared that time, so no helmet in the house anymore.
 

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Well, this doesn't sound like anything that would lead to agression. My dog lets me know about everyone who comes to the door. But, he listens when I say "quiet."

Sounds like your dog is doing a normal thing - alerting you that someone is at the door. As long as she stops when your DH or you tell her, then it's no problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess the par that concerns me the most is the growl. It's not really a full growl with gums and teeth or anything, it's more like a pre-bark "grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrRUFF!". I also may be just listening too much to neighbours who insist that 'That dog's a pit and it's gonna turn on you', especially with the baby coming I want to make sure we're all safe and any potential problems are nipped in the bud. I don't really think she'd ever hurt any of us.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by hanno View Post
I guess the par that concerns me the most is the growl. It's not really a full growl with gums and teeth or anything, it's more like a pre-bark "grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrRUFF!". I also may be just listening too much to neighbours who insist that 'That dog's a pit and it's gonna turn on you', especially with the baby coming I want to make sure we're all safe and any potential problems are nipped in the bud. I don't really think she'd ever hurt any of us.
grrrrruff is a pretty common, "who goes there" bark. Expending only the most necessary amount of energy to accomplish the goal of making sure whoever is coming to the door knows they are there. Most dogs don't really want conflict, a warning bark lets a stranger know if they come through the door there is someone willing to do something about it, but as long as your dog isn't like attacking the door trying to get out to meet the person head-on, then it really just seems like a normal dog thing. I'm no expert, this is just my opinion of course.

Every dog is different and only you really know your dog, but if it makes you feel better I have friends with a pit who absolutely adores their baby and is so patient and loving with him even when he is too rough with her. She is a really well trained dog, but even without the training she is a lovebug and once she figured out he was a tiny human, just loved on him all she could.
 

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Also, give her some time to get used to all the new sounds and the patterns of yours and dh's coming and going sounds. When we lived in an apt a few years ago, our westie (who notices everything and barks), was on "alert" for awhile as he adjusted to what was "normal" for our entryway/stairs. But he soon learned what our cars sounded like as they drove in and parked, and soon he wasn't barking at all when dh came home. We also had a place where he could watch out of the window over the parking lot, which I think helped alot. Maybe it's just my human way of interpreting it, but it seemed to me that it helped him coordinate the noises he was hearing with what he was seeing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm pretty excited because I just got info on agility classes for her. They're reasonably priced, in the evening and just a few minute walk from where we live
Maybe it'll help her nerves a bit too. They also use the motivational tools that you choose and don't care about her breed and will let her work at her own pace and on leash until she feels comfortable off.
 

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I think you're worrying over nothing. I have a GSD, and he gives a low growl followed by a bark each time someone is at the door. To the point where the other person can hear him, and they always ask me "Is it safe to come in?" Works really great for all those pesky religious people who come to the door with flyers.


Growling is NOT always a sign of agression. There are many types of growls. When I rub my dog's belly, he makes these cute little noises that to others may sound like growls, but are really happy grunts. When someone is at the door, he'll do the growl/bark combination. This is not agression - it's alerting me that there is someone at the door and it's alerting the other person at the door. Kind of like saying "hey, I know you're out there. I'm in here." It's normal dog behaviour.

Now, if your dog was growling all the time while lunging at the door and salivating at the mouth, while ignoring your commands ... then you might have a problem. But, you don't have that problem. So, no worries.
 
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