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what in the...?

935 Views 16 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Rian
Just wondering what you poodle people think about this...

A friend stopped by this evening sort of unexpectedly to drop something off that he'd borrowed from my partner. He's been here once before (since we got Bennie) and while she initially barked at him then, she did eventually accept his presence and settled.

THIS time (months later) she was RELENTLESS at either barking or making quiet low rumbling. I played LAT with her, tossed some treats in her treat ball, and tried also taking her to another room. The only time she was quiet was if I was shovelling treats in her mouth continuously.

She was definitely not a happy girl. He was fine with her sniffing him and fine with leaving her be.
He is a gentle giant and we've known him for a number of years now. Definitely not a person to be wary of, from a person's perspective.

The only thing I can think of is
a) she smelled his dogs on him (weird that that would be an issue given that she tends to be fine with dogs).
b) we don't often have people here, but when we do she is fine and if anything excitable to interact.
c) she is approaching her heat cycle (?) and extra apprehensive (?)

This final piece is where I tend to lean. Her first heat was back in August right after her first birthday. It was pretty non eventful though I do remember her being a bit more alert-bark-y than usual.

Thoughts? The barking is so unnerving for me... I accept she is a dog and will practice patience. But sounds, particularly sharp loud ones, jangle me so much. I'm pretty sensitive to sensory stimuli.

IF it is an impending heat, please tell me that behaviours will come and then go again. I don't want her to lose her easy going people loving nature.

ETA What to do about this behaviour when it happens? I want to soothe her and assure her all is well, but nothing I did tonight was working.
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That is a good point, @reraven123 ... could have been any smell. It was like once she made her mind up, there was no changing it. She was on edge and stress-y.

And yes! That is what it reminded me of PtP, a fear period. Even so, her behaviour was never so drastic as it was this evening. I have to think it's her hormones... Plus the kids have been home this week on their spring break and I have been up ridiculously late every single night the past two weeks or so (she sleeps where ever I am working, until I go to bed and then she heads up with me).

Maybe all of the change and her heat coming has meant this stress was building up. Poor little noodle. I've been exhausted myself, so no doubt she feels that too. Now that I take a step back to assess I feel badly I didn't piece all of that together sooner. I was taking her adaptability for granted.
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You called him a "gentle giant". Is this a man of unusual stature? They say to "socialize" your puppy with men in hats, men with beards, men with this, men with that...
Maybe Bennie is "afraid" of him for whatever reason.
He's pretty tall, yeah... But so is my 14 year old who is over 6 feet 🙈
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Were you alone with him? If so, maybe her upcoming heat, or maybe she sensed something people are not comfortable discussing or recognizing for 'polite' or PC reasons. In this instance, I lean more towards trusting my dog, even when the visitor presented so nicely.

Not saying the visitor intended ill; just saying our dogs may be able to read mixed intentions more clearly than we ever could allow ourselves to do. Next time I suggest having your partner there if this person visits. You might or might not perceive a difference in Bennie.

My last dog (not a Poodle) was extraordinary in this area, and I once saw Oliver act on something that on reflection made a great deal of sense to me.
My partner was here. And kids. All in the same space. The last time he was over, several months ago, my partner and I both visited with him and Bennie was able to settle in the space with us. But actually... this time the visiting occurred in the foyer as he was just meaning to drop something by and he and my partner ended up engaging further in conversation. Perhaps Bennie was unsettled by him neither sitting down to stay, nor just leaving?

Psychology is my jam... I'm actually in grad school for it... and have spent my life needing to learn to really read people given past victimization, being a woman in the world, etc. But I totally appreciate what you're saying. And it's part of why I love knowing that Bennie and I have each other's backs. It's definitely food for thought if/when she behaves in unexpected ways.
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I had something like that this evening with Beau, not quite to that extreme but out of the ordinary for him. We are out of town at moms and he was tired. I rushed him to the back bedroom for a timeout. I have no idea what triggered it but it was someone he was fine with at xmas.
I should have tried to take her upstairs, really. I took her to a back room on the main floor but that seemed to make it worse. I do wonder if she might have settled had he come further into the space and sat down. As it was, everything occurred in the foyer and maybe that was extra unnerving?

I hope Beau was able to settle in his time out!
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I think the explanation is probably a bit of everything - strange man, strange smell, bit hormonal and a stack of triggers from late nights and stressed human. Time for R&R for everyone, perhaps.
Oh I cannot wait to just rest!!! Full time school has been so much. SO so so much. It is a really fast paced program and I'm feeling pretty burnt out. One more week of this term and then I get one whole week to recoup before the next one starts 😜.

I'm going to have to brainstorm some ways to support Bennie's bedtime I think. I can't do much about me having to stay up late, but I have to do better at helping her be okay to go on up to bed without me, perhaps.
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Can't help with the girl side of this but my boys absolutely Do Not Like one friend of my husbands. They bark with great agitation at his arrival, they are tense and agitated if he's out of sight like in the garage with my husband, and start the agitated barking again when he reappears.
He's a nice guy, a dog lover with dogs of his own, but they do not care.

Reading thru the posts again and something you said about hanging in the entryway reminded me of a method often suggested but in other circumstances. I haven't tried it yet but I will, next opportunity.

Suppose you and Bennie, on leash, go out front to meet him first, chat for a minute, and then walk in together?

That may not be enough time, it may not matter at all, but changing the environment and the initial part of the encounter might make a difference.
This is helpful Rose. If even just to hear that your boys are not a fan of someone who otherwise is just fine :)

I do find meeting outside to be helpful at times! Unfortunately this drop in was a surprise-to-me one. My partner forgot to mention it until he was knocking at the door 🥴. I am going to tuck this in my brain for next time though. I think it will be very useful to try with this person. Thanks!
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