View Full Version : 2 Puppy Fear Stages

24th August 2007, 03:27 AM
I just read in old thread about there being 2 puppy fear stages. What exactly is this and at what ages do they typically occur?

I am hoping that this will account for why TinkerBell has decided over the past month, that she needs to bark whenever a door opens or closes. As well as, any strange noises in the house.

Talk about driving me bonkers!!!

Even when I say enough, she continues to carry on and has to get the last word in! Geezzzeee, just like my other 3 children and husband! LOL

Barbara Nixon
24th August 2007, 10:00 AM
I don't think that Tinkerbell is afraid; she's just doing her job as guard dog.

Some puppies and adults become afraid of things, but not all. In these cases it's best not to encourage the behaviour by sympathising.

24th August 2007, 10:31 AM
Agree with Barbara here -- this is just her maturing and doing what dogs do -- they want to let you know about strange noises as that's their job; she's protecting her family. :)

Think about barking in a different way, perhaps. Most people say they DO want their dogs to warn them of strange noises if someone was breaking into the house. But they forget that warning about random odd noises is all part of this. I LIKE my dogs to bark when someone comes to the door as it is one of the best deterrents to thieves to hear barking dogs! I just don't want them barking and barking. So the key is to acknowledge the warning bark and then, let the dog know that's enough and they don't need to keep wanring you.

I find a better way of managing this type of barking in the house is to acknowledge it and praise then it just tends to end. The dog is mainly looking for some reaction from you to indicate you got its warning. I say, "Thank you!" and 'Good dogs" then 'enough!' Mine have learned 'enough' means to stop whatever they are doing. This combination has worked really well for me (and is advocated by many trainers for this type of barking, eg Jan Fennell). I'd rather tolerate some random barking at noises and have them be on the alert than discourage all barking. Keep in mind that expecting them never to bark is like expecting children never to speak -- the old seen and not heard approach. Barking is a key way dogs communicate (and they are very social animals, they WANT to communicate with yu and each other!) and yours is just trying to say 'hey, better check that noise out and make sure we are all OK still'. :)

NB this is a different matter than dogs who bark very reactively to EVERYTHING. In that case you want to try and remove the stimulus (eg close curtains or keep the dogs in a room where they can;t easily see, say, the cat next door, or don't allow them to run outside and bark their heads off at the dog next door... etc. Or say using barking in an unwanted way to demand attention or because they don't have much self control and get overexcited them bark -- mine used to bak and bark to be let out of the car when we got to the park. Now they each are let out when they have completely stopped barking. Lily tends to always be last out under this policy, and spends a short spell barking in the car.... but at first this would go on for 20-30 MINUTES while I stood outside and ignored her. Now it lasts maybe 20 seconds. They do learn. :thmbsup:

24th August 2007, 10:37 AM
Also: here's lots of info on puppy developmental stages and fear stages, from one of my very favourite dog websites:


All her training advice documents are excellent and be sure to check out her dog and human body language pages. Also she has the best advice for managing dogs and kids together that I've found. :)