Ok that sounds good, but how much exercise does he get?
Ok that sounds good, but how much exercise does he get?
Education not Legislation
Sorry I just updated my post to include that.
He gets great exercise - if I can't walk him or take him to the off-leash enclosure, which I try to do at least once a week or more, I ensure he gets a half hour to an hour of throwing the tennis ball and running around the yard. I don't get out for exercise much myself so it's a good chance for us both to get some!
Ok well just make sure he's getting absolutely plenty. Especially if he possibly has Cattle Dog or Kelpie in him.
Sorry, its just I see so many over weight dogs, especially herders that just don't get the exercise they deserve.
You should be able to feel, but not see his ribs.
But now Im off topic
Education not Legislation
I agree! I have previously owned a Border Collie and a pure Australian Cattle Dog and both were go-go with boundless energy, and Rocky is the same.
A quick update on how things are going - Rocky is still outside and, although he hasn't entirely stopped barking, he has only barked 3 times in the last two hours - single, quiet barks and then he either goes back to his toy or off to sleep.
This is a vast improvement from his old activities where he'd just sit there and bark his head off or run up and down the yard. I've rewarded his good behavior with some treats when he's quiet.
Thanks to everyone who suggested this and gave their input - it truly looks like it is working and this is such a relief for me. I will continue to use it and will see how it goes when the kids come out to play etc. However, the possums at night have always been his worst time so I have high hopes for tomorrow.
To everyone who has posted to so far - thankyou, though its still early days I am confident that there will be quiet days and nights ahead for me and Rocky
If anyone else would like to throw in any ideas or tips please do so
Look, every time you go outside and squirt him with the spray bottle, and he shuts up and stops barking, what do YOU do then?
Do you just walk off back into the house in silence?
Or do you praise him like he's just done the best thing in the world the MOMENT he stops barking?
Im glad it seems to be working for you
Hey Devil's Advocate, thanks for taking the time to post
I touched on this a little earlier but when I use the spray bottle technique, and he stops barking, I will usually wait with him a while without the spray bottle in my hand. If he doesn't continue to bark, I praise him and after a while of not barking I will reward him with a Liver Bite. I try not to give him over-gracious amounts of treats or anything because my hope is that he will naturally learn that he shouldn't bark, instead of him keeping quiet because he believes he will always get a treat every time (as this would become a problem when I'm not home, since I wouldn't be able to give him treats).
This is the same sort of technique I used to teach him to sit, stay and go up and down the stairs on command. I originally used treats but now he does these things without that incentive.
A quick update on how things are going - Rocky has reacted to the spray bottle very well. This entire day I have not had to spray him at all - I have simply gone outside with the bottle and he has quietened down.
This has included times when the kids next door were outside and in their pool. I am going to purchase a Kong for him tomorrow so he has something extra to do.
I will continue to work with Rocky on his barking - I really want this to be a learning process for him, so that he eventually naturally learns not to bark at these things instead of having to continue using the bottle forever. So far he appears to be learning very well.
Thanks for everyone who has posted so far and please if you have any other comments or suggestions please feel free to post them
I highly doubt that you will need to use the spray bottle forever....he has taken to it very quickly! VERY SMART BOY!
Once he learns not to bark at all...remove the bottle!
You need to let your dog know that barking at next door's kids and the possums is not ok (pump action spray bottle helps - maybe give your neighbours one too for when you're not home) and being quiet is good. Ie need to reward him with treats for being quiet.
And you need to give him something else to do instead. If there was some way to allow him to join in with the neighbours that would be great if they're willing. Some people put dog gates in their fences for this. But also lots of puzzle type toys in the garden or bones to chew (if he does this without splintering them) and maybe a place to dig.
It may also help to teach him to bark on command, and then be quiet on command. So he knows what "quiet" means, and that it will get him a treat.
I've heard of click and treat training for noisy dogs in shelters, ie any handler going by, if the dog stops barking or is quiet, gets a click and a treat. Kind of random but depending on the dog being quiet. Your neighbours could help with this too. Ie if/when dog stops barking they can click and toss a treat over the fence with the word "quiet" spoken calmly and with authority.
When my dog was a puppy I used to put her in a crate inside the house when I went out. This was like a kennel / safe place for her and she was pretty quiet in there. She's fairly quiet now in the back yard or house unless kiddies go along the back fence being noisy or a cat comes in the yard. ie times you'd expect some barking.
I also tried the "bar open" technique to stop my dog barking at the neighbours. Sometimes she will try to have a convesation with them like I do, but mostly she's quiet now. It involves sitting with her while the neighbours are doing their thing in their back yard and feeding her treats and telling her what a good dog she is - while she is quiet. Usually the treats will hold her interest enough for her to be quiet. Depending how distracted the dog is by what it wants to bark at - is how good the treats have to be. Ie the possums may require chopped roast chicken to compete for distraction.
Your dog has rottie colouring and the ACD smile. But there could be kelpie too ie it could have been a black and tan kelpie cross ACD for the father. Rottie x fence leaping farm dog?
PS if you know you're going to be out for the day - make sure he gets about an hour of solid running before you go. Feed after exercise (ideally wait half a hour or longer), should result in sleepy dog for a while.
And if him being big inside the house is a problem you need to teach him "on your mat" or "in your bed" and get him to stay put when he's inside. Again, heaps of treats and repetition will help here.
Last edited by Hyacinth; 12-11-2009 at 04:05 PM.
Hey Hyacinth, thanks for taking the time to post
I have on a number of occasions taken him next door to play. The central issue with that is he is a big dog now (going on 28 kilos) and is very strong and their children are still quite small. But usually if I take him over, he will play with their dog and usually not the children.
Your idea for the Fence Gate actually gave me a great idea. With my neighbors permission I've cut a small square out of the fence. Now he sits there with the dog next door and they chew their toys together! Rocky isn't a huge fan of playing with other dogs (they often roll him onto his back, which he hates) so it works well - he is able to chat to the dog quietly and see her but still not get too excited where he barks.
I am in the process of teaching him to stay on the bed when inside, as I lay a blanket over there when he's inside. However, he does much rather being outside - so now that his barking at night has begun to decrease I think the only times he'll want to come inside is during storms.
A quick update on the spray bottle - people have been wheeling their rubbish bins back in all afternoon and besides from a quick woof, he has remained calm and played with his toys. I have just been outside for the past hour and a half playing with a new bag of tennis balls (he was more interested in the bag they came in!) and I think we'll both sleep pretty good tonight.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say why I think the bottle has worked quite well so quickly. I believe he always knew that he shouldn't bark, but all I could do was try and tell him to stop - since I would never smack or hurt him in anyway, he knew he could get away with barking without any kind of repercussions. So I think now with the spray bottle, he has caught on to the fact that he'll get a quick spray if he barks too much.
When I'm going out for the day I always ensure that I give him a run around in the morning - it's good for me, too, since my work often has me up at 3-4am and a good run gets me pumped for the day and Rocky loves it as well.
As I stated earlier, I'm not trying to stop him barking completely and I think the spray bottle has worked well. It is teaching him not to bark at random things, but I believe he would still bark in an emergency situation (if there was an intruder and so forth).
I'd like to say another big thanks to everyone who has posted so far and say that anyone else who is reading this with a similar issue, I highly suggest trying the spray bottle - it's really more an annoyance for the dog than a painful thing which is extremely important for the teaching process - I believe that any kind of method that requires pain for the dog is not teaching but simply cruel and makes them afraid to do what their instincts tell them to, and it means you can give it a try fairly easily.
Thanks again to everyone who posted and feel free to keep posting!
Last edited by Ctcole; 12-11-2009 at 05:31 PM.
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