Posted : 12/9/2006 5:22:51 PM
I have the same problem. I have a Norfolk (or cairn ... we never met the mother)Terrier/Cocker mix, and she's barely 20 lbs, so people always want to come close and pet her, but she starts barking and growling. She won't actually try to bite (except she did one time a friend literally jumped on her to catch her ... which was stupid anyway, and he got an earful), but of course, to people who do not know her, they don't know this.
Once, we ran into an elderly woman who completely ignored Dweezil, and Dweezil barked for maybe 10 seconds and then went to lie down at the woman's feet while she spoke to me, not even looking down at Dweezil. It was AMAZING. now of course. There aren't many people that understand dogs like this or have the patience, or trust that Dweezil won't bite, so it's been a long process.
I've had her for about 10 months now, and she's gotten a little bit better, because she gets nice long daily walks. She doesn't bark when we walk in front of driveways where people are close to their houses, basically, she doesn't bark at people who don't seem intimidating at all (she used to bark at EVERYONE). She still barks at people who are RUNNING in the distance, and people who walk right next to us. occasionally, she will walk right by people. When she does bark, it's ridiculously embarassing. Usually, I will move to the other side of the street, or walk midday when nobody is out. I know she should get used to it, but it's pretty hard to get past the fact that it scares/annoys the people that she needs to walk by to learn.