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I need help with George's habit of barking at strangers when we're on walks. This was a rare behavior in the past, but I've seen it escalate a bit. I need to deal with it now before it gets even worse.

He's generally an easygoing guy who's happy to meet everyone. But every once in a while, he'll focus on someone and start barking at them.
I can't find a pattern on the type of 'victim' (I know some dogs have an aversion to tall men, hats...). Most people don't think much of it, but non-dog people can understandably be taken aback.

I'm worried that this is the start of aggressive behavior and I need to get it under control. I do suspect that there's some fear associated with his response.

I've tried to divert his behavior with treats but I can't always break his focus. I'm concerned that a strong reprimand will send the wrong message.

He's healthy and had a check-up recently so that doesn't seem to be a factor. He's four and a half.

Any ideas?
Thanks.
 

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"I'm worried that this is the start of aggressive behavior and I need to get it under control. I do suspect that there's some fear associated with his response. "

Barking is not usual an aggressive act.

Check out CAUTIOUS CANINE, 2ND EDITION
"How to help dogs conquer their fears with desensitization and counter conditioning. Step by step instructions to help you dog get over his fear of unfamiliar people. "

To implement the program you will find these other books helpful also because an understanding of dog posture (body lanquage) will give you insight into the emotional state of the dog which is important in the training above.

CANINE BODY LANGUAGE, A PHOTOGRAPHIC GUIDE

CALMING SIGNALS BOOK/DVD SET
"Turid Rugaas is a noted expert on canine body language, notably "calming signals" which are signals dogs give to other dogs and humans to denote stress and to attempt to defuse situations that otherwise might result in fights or aggression. "

[ March 04, 2006, 06:42 PM: Message edited by: Mikey T ]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the information Mike.
I have the Turid Rugaas book - time to re-read it.
I'll check out the others too.
 
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