Sorry if this is a repeat thread, I searched through the forum and didn't exactly get all my questions answered.

Coco is generally a pretty quiet girl. We got very excited a while back when she finally began to growl or bark when needing to go outside. Since then, it has been increasing. She still does not constantly bark at every little thing and it is not annoying, but when she barks now I am growing concerned based off the way she reacts. I can definitely tell when she does a potty type of bark or growl, or if it was from something else.

At first when the barking increased and I realized she did not have to potty every time, I assumed she was testing to see if this behavior got her extra attention. So I ignored her. Sometimes we would have an explanation to her behavior, like there was a scary looking creature on TV, or funny music was playing, etc. Sometimes there is no explanation and we have no idea what she is making noise about. No strange noises, no movement, tv off, nothing out the window..

The strange part that concerns me is that there will be times she is resting (not asleep), eyes open, head down between her paws, and she just growls...and growls. Not ferociously, but just kind of mumbling. Occasionally she then gets up, tail tucked, head lowered, walks away while still growling, and then hides under my legs or under a chair. Is she scared of something? Maybe she is sleeping with her eyes open and had a bad dream?

I have had times I wanted to scold her for the unnecessary barking or growling, but I have refrained from doing so based off how she acts. I don't want to scold her for being afraid of something, nor do I want to give her attention from scolding if that is indeed what she is seeking. Any ideas or suggestions to explain her behavior!?!?