Growling & Barking

We found a baseball in the park yesterday which he was extremely possessive over. Lots of mean growling, and lately he has been doing a lot more barking, particularly in the backyard with his (favourite orange) ball. He barks if you don’t come get it and throw it, but he barks if you approach it, and darts in and barks if you reach for it, as if to nip. It is rather alarming, not to mention the barking just feels insulting as I can’t do anything right. So yesterday and today I have just been approaching him with it and offering treats, giving him treats for putting it down, etc. Normally if he put it down, I would grab it and throw it, but now I am feeding and then backing away and encouraging him to get the ball back himself. I suspect he might be frustrated because it is more difficult to take possession of the ball while wearing the cone, and since he can’t pick it up, he vocalizes.

Other reasons he may be vocalizing more in general:

– excess energy because he can’t/won’t do anything with the cone on

– more opportunities here (backyard) to practice this behaviour with no bad consequences

– rewarded with attention, food, or being let in to the house

I am trying to prevent him from getting upset enough (i.e. when left alone) to whine or bark, but sometimes I fail and he begins. I can (miserably, all the while beating myself up) wait him out, but the other occupants of the house cannot, and they either call him away for attention (thus rewarding it) or shoo him (also rewarding it because dogs do not understand words, only attention).

Problems dog. God forbid, however, that I express any of my misgivings or grievances regarding this dog, lest I be punished with “told you so”s until I am plastered in them, unable to move or think.

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