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Thread: Help with chronic barking

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Help with chronic barking

    My beloved 3 year old kelpie Gypsy has become a barking nightmare to the point the complaints are beginning to roll in. This is big considering we can only see our neighbors house on sunny days while standing on tiptoes on the patio.
    Gypsy used to be a quiet dog would rarely bark at all even at people on the property but since being harassed by cows several months ago, she got more a bit more vocal. But she was only the vocal when the cows were on the property or someone else appeared on the property. She would also stop barking on command.

    The farmer moved the cows for a while and it was fine but a few weeks ago the fence was repaired and the cows moved back... and now she won't shut up at all.
    She will bark day and night. It doesn't matter if she comes inside or if I leave her outside and now ignores the 'quiet' command.
    I understand it's the issues with cows but no matter what we do she won't shut up and the sleepless nights, days of headaches, days of noise and the stress of the neighbors has the entire house on edge. At night putting her on the chain sometimes helps but I hate leaving any of my dogs on a chain so much. She has gotten to the point she won't be quiet for food or even fetch with her favorite squeaky ball
    Gypsy gets exercised regularly everyday. She has toys, bones, another dog and other things to keep he occupied when i can't play with her. She has a minimum of an acre to run around on, and we often take her for runs behind the car on dirt tracks to help her get rid of excess energy.

    I know her issues are with the cows in the paddock next door, but no matter what I do she keeps barking. I have tried distraction her with food, training, play etc no good. I tried a squirty bottle of water when she barked, all that did was make her hide under the house when she barks where she knows I can't reach her, and the same results with any negative signals I use to tell her to stop. But she completely ignores the positive distractions or the praise for not barking.

    I would love to get some advice to help stop the barking for everyone especially since the neighbor is starting to drop hints to maybe get rid of her which I don't want to do, as when she is not barking she a real sweet heart.
    Unfortunately a dog trainer is not an option as we are right in the middle of nowhere and the travel they ask to come to us is not realistic for us to pay (the travel is often more than the trainer). I have considered an anti-bark collar but it will interfere with her invisible fence collar and if she crosses the boundary fence and attacks a cow or her calf Gypsy will be shot as a rogue or wild dog. I would rather re-home her to a place with no cows than let that happen.

    I currently in tears as I write this as I feel between a rock and a hard place. I have tried nearly everything, I have tried addressing her issues with the cows, I have tried to just reduce/regulate the barking but nothing is working...

  2. #2
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    I feel for you, it's awful being at your wits end over something. I'm sorry I don't have the expertise to help, but fingers and paws crossed here that you get the advice you so desperately need.
    Meanwhile, maybe google the problem?

  3. #3
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    That is a hard one. The only thing I can think of is that you try crate training her and bring her inside at night perhaps close to you in her crate and cover her over. This might help at night. The only other thing I can think of is to do some serious obedience and desensitisation training. Work at a distance from the cows where she doenst react and work her closer and closer over time. You may have to control her movements fairly strictly during this period and try and keep her in a situation where she is under threshold. I think it
    could be done but you will need to put some intensive work in with her. You may need to keep her with you at all times during this period and use the crate to good effect. I have a kelpie myself and they can be very intense little dogs, but they are smart and highly trainable. You need to be really consistant and insist that she is calm before you feed her for example. You may have to wait her out on this but she should get the idea. Make her earn everything by being quiet. Working with a clicker is another thought. I had a dog similar to what you describe and she responded very well to clicker training.

    Would a citronella collar interfere with her invisible fence collar?
    This could also be a possibility to try out but probably best to go down the desensitisation training route first.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 09-04-2012 at 10:41 AM.

  4. #4
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    grevillea47 thanks, I have to say google not my friend anymore, nothing i find works.

    thanks Kalacreek I have been working on desensitizing and really working on her obedience. And she will obey every command except quiet. She will bark while she sits, stays, heels, comes etc she is really obedient. I tried crate training her but she she gets destructive to the point she has hurt herself in the past. We do put her in the laundry instead but she can hear the cows and she goes right off again. I made the mistake of leaving the door to the spare bathroom (it connects onto the laundry) open i came in to find her perched on the windowsill about a meter off the ground, where she could see the cows and was barking her head off. She doesn't like cows after a small number of young bulls jumped in our yard and charged her and really had a go at her. They only left her alone when she was under the house and I came out and scared them off. I know what her fear is and I know why but it is not doing anything. If anything it is getting worse the more I try.

    citronella collars confuse her and all it does is have her hide under the house barking and getting distressed at the same time. Her safe area is under the house that i can barely fit under.

    I forgot to mention when we take her off property where there are no cow s barking stops completely she goes back to sweet natured Gypsy.
    I feel horrible I can't help but feel it is my fault the cows terrified her and my fault I can't help it is my failing as her owner I can't help her get over it. The only saving grace is if (Dog forbid) we have to re-home her, the woman we adopted her off would more than likely have her back. I still send her updates every 4-6 months.
    But I love Gypsy she is my dog, she used to follow me around everywhere, snuggle up on the bed with me when I was sick, and just let me hug her when stress seems to much. She makes me laugh with her tricks of spin, dance, high 5, and low five. But this barking Gyspy doesn't care about anything but those damn cows she is even loosing interest in her favorite foods

  5. #5
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    Could it help do you think if the lady who you got her from could take her for a few months to allow her to re center herself?and then try her back again? Or maybe do a CD of the cows mooing that you can play all the time untill it becomes just background noise to her.

    Hopefully others have some suggestions. I wonder if a calming thundershirt might help.

  6. #6
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    thanks Kalacreek I didn't even think of sending her on 'holiday' might have too. I am not sure if a thunder shirt will help her but it can't help to try I guess.

    The only thing I know won't work is the CD of the cows, they are back round noise here. Their favorite grazing is by our fence line all day everyday, she is used to them being there. Before the cow incident she would actually approach the calves near the fence-line, in an attempt to lick there nose to say hi. She liked the cows before hand.

  7. #7
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    That would also be my first thought too, send her away for a short time and see if the cycle/pattern can be broken.

    Training is not a week or two fix, it's long term. Have you tried putting her in the laundry with a radio on at night?

    I also think there is air collars, puff of air in the face when barking, shouldn't interfere with fence collar.

    How many cows are by the fence? and do you have an opportunity to train her somewhere with just one cow for starters?

  8. #8
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    What about using the BAT system and work near the cows.Or find someone who has a cow that is well handled and used to dogs (house-cow) that you can work with. I have done similar withpeople who have dogs and horses and have used my totally dog tolerant horse to get the dogs used to horses. They are all really the same training methods. And like MAC said it can take quite a while, weeks to months to do this training. Not just a couple of sessions.
    How we eact when the dog barks can also be part of the problem. Yelling or shouthing can make the dog think you are barking along with them. And make is worse. You might even find that your dog won't like horses either. It is sometimes just the size that can lead to fear if they have had a fright.
    When we train dogs that have such issues we go to the dog that is barking, talk to them quietly.....Maybe remove them or maybe reward them when they do have a quiet moment withthe cow in sight, even if you are next to the dog. But never tell them off or yell. It will be a long road and once set it is even harder to stop.
    Google BAT dog training, I am at work and do not have my usual bookmarks to add quickly.
    And it will take time..........
    Pets are forever

  9. #9
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    Yes with the level of reaction she is showing it is going to take time.

    The reason I thought about the CD is that you said she could hear the cows from the laundry and that set her off. If you can play it in the house all the time non stop close up it maybe different. May not of course.

    Have you tried clicker training with her? You are going to have to find some way of teaching her to be calm when she sees cows. Sometimes a clicker is a good way of capturing the behaviour that you want. I know in the book Control Unleashed they do a lot of mat work where the dog is trained to go to a mat or place where it is calm. They also do "look at that" exercise where the dog looks at what is causing it stress and then immediately back at the owner where the dog is rewarded heavily. The clicker is good for this sort of exercise.

    You will have to try in small increments over a period of time. I used to have a dog that when in to total melt down everytime she saw a stranger, pulling into a petrol station the barking was deafening, she would shriek with fear. Just the sound of a strange voice would send her into to total meltdown. I did a lot of clicker work with her and the results were good but took a lot of time and effort.

  10. #10
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    Thanks I will keep trying. Sorry I took so long to reply I am having a really bad day... a tree just took out our water tank and now we have no water until it gets fixed and the driveway is a bog so it we can hardly get in or out... and Gypsy is barking even louder. Some days it is not even worth getting out of bed...

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