Circling and barking at strangers

Discussion in 'Bernese Mountain Dog Training Forum' started by LadyandNala, Jan 20, 2018.

  1. LadyandNala

    LadyandNala New Member

    I have had my current bernese since June 2017 and I got her from a "friend" of mine. I know quite a lot about the dogs past because of our friendship and the fact that I have known the dog before I got her.

    She has been confined to a yard and also an apartment sometimes together with a second dog for the first 10 months of her life and has therefore not been properly socialized with people. She is great with other dogs though. She just knows how to approach them and reads other dogs well.

    However, the problem is other people.

    One scenario would be, we walk outside and she sees someone in the distance approach. She will then already look at the person and start walking faster, she does not bark or growl, she moves to approach. When the person is like 2 or 3 meters away she then circles the person to be able to sniff them but from behind. If the person continues on and doesn't react she will also just move on.
    If they however talk to her, face her or try to touch her she will bark at them but retreat some meters away. If the stop and talk to me she continues in circles around us and barks, a deep but not frantic bark.
    Just like "wuff wuff" then pause and then "wuff wuff" again.

    If someone enters my home , she does this as well but it's actually worse.

    She barks but retreats at the same time which makes me believe that she does this out if insecurity and fear more than aggression.

    If someone ignores her and doesn't approach her for some time after they settled down on my couch or on a chair then she will calm down.
    But, if they move again or walk around it can sometimes trigger the initial greeting until they are back in their place.

    I believe it is fearbased and she does this more with men than women and she hates old people.
    My grandparents who live next to us on the same property, have never been able to touch her. She always barks at them when they try to enter our side of the garden.
    This means that even people whom she has met before and surely recognizes cannot pet her, with only very few exceptions.

    Has anyone ever experienced this kind of circling and barking behavior?
    I think it's logical outside that if someone does look at her or talk to her, she feels threatened, but by people she knows? (she never showed any of this behavior towards me, my boyfriend or son who is 14 years old and she loves all children) but any other (grown up) people, no way.

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