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Thread: Help me control my dog barking!

  1. #1

    Default Help me control my dog barking!

    My 13month old dog has been so well behaved up until we lost our older dog about 3 months ago. He now has started barking at visitors (uncontrollably to some) and just barking at us and at random things in the backyard or house.
    We understand he is playing the 'protector' card now that he is big dog and has lost his mate but still need to know how to control this as we are moving place soon and already finding it hard to find somewhere pet friendly.

    At the moment i am not babying him like i used to so he doesnt feel the need to 'protect' me and we have set up a area to isolate him when he barks. He usually stops once in his 'naughty corner' and once he settle we let him out but i feel like the onset of the barking is getting more frequent.

    I love the little guy but i am finding this really stressful as i dont want him to be an annoying little dog to everyone else and want him to be pleasant to be around and to be able to take him to my mums for visits etc. Whilst he is like this in his own home he is twice as anxious and barky when we take him anywhere else.

    He gets 2 big 1hr walks a day, plenty of attention - please help! I am confused and need a plan to stick to to curb this behaviour while he is still young.

    Thanks for your help in advance.

  2. #2
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    We understand he is playing the 'protector' card now that he is big dog and has lost his mate but still need to know how to control this as we are moving place soon and already finding it hard to find somewhere pet friendly.
    Not sure why you think this. I think it maybe he's a bit anxious and frazzled about the changes, and also grieving a bit for his mate - dogs do miss their friends when they go. I don't think he's stepping up to be the protector.

    He may be barking because it makes him feel better or it gets him attention from you - eg being told to go in the naughty corner.

    I think isolating him might be bad given he's possibly upset about losing his friend (lonely). Crate training him would be good, but put the crate somewhere you go a lot like the lounge or your bedroom, so it is a comforting place. Crate training is about safety and security for a dog, not about punishment. So you want to have him spend some time in there with something good like a yummy chew treat or toy. And for now, until he gets over his loss, maybe have him in the crate any time you're not able to supervise him. And certainly put him in there before you open the door to welcome visitors. If it's an unwelcome visitor - feel free to have scary barking dog on lead when you open the door.

    Crate Training : The Humane Society of the United States

    What I do when my dog barks and I don't want her to, is gently hold her collar until she stops, and sits (shows some self control), and then I praise her and let her go. While I'm holding her, I act boring, I don't talk to her or make eye contact with her or pat her. Before ever using this technique - I have trained her (ongoing) to associate me grabbing her collar with good things like getting a treat or a pat etc.

    I also taught her to bark on command, and in the process - rewarded only quiet barks. Unless I said "louder" which is my cue for louder barks or "Cats" which is cue for "bark your head off". So asking her to speak - tends to shut her up while she figures out what she needs to do for the treat, and then I get a very quiet growl-prebark. Which I reward.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for your response, we copped the barking again this morning and feeling really stressed and out of control of the situation.

    I even gave him a kong stuffed with treats to play with to try keep him busy. The thing is when he starts barking and i go outside to try get him to stop he runs away from me and keeps barking at me, its almost like a game but he knows he is doing the wrong thing, then when i evenutally get hold of him and put him in the isolated area and he usually stops barking then sulks for a bit then once he is fully settled he is told to sit then taken out.

    So do you suggest this is totally not the right way to go about it? The barking on cue thing really confuses me, how do you begin to train them that? I am planning on spending more time in the evening teaching him tricks and rewarding him to give him a distraction when he is barking. He barks his head off at most visitors - i feel we havent any control. We cannot have the barking continue, our neighbours are complaning and we cant just ignore it.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie2011 View Post
    Thanks for your response, we copped the barking again this morning and feeling really stressed and out of control of the situation.

    I even gave him a kong stuffed with treats to play with to try keep him busy. The thing is when he starts barking and i go outside to try get him to stop he runs away from me and keeps barking at me, its almost like a game but he knows he is doing the wrong thing, then when i evenutally get hold of him and put him in the isolated area and he usually stops barking then sulks for a bit then once he is fully settled he is told to sit then taken out.

    So do you suggest this is totally not the right way to go about it? The barking on cue thing really confuses me, how do you begin to train them that? I am planning on spending more time in the evening teaching him tricks and rewarding him to give him a distraction when he is barking. He barks his head off at most visitors - i feel we havent any control. We cannot have the barking continue, our neighbours are complaning and we cant just ignore it.
    When my dog used to bark outside it was a game to him to as we tried to stop him by catching/grabbing him. I don't chase after him or talk to him in any way. I simply walk very purposefully toward him and have it in my head that I AM going to get him. If he starts running around I use herding style movements to make him head towards a part of the yard that will corner him. In saying that, once I start heading toward him, now he tends to realise I mean business and will even walk towards me with his head down, submitting. The "determination without anger" look tends to work very well, I have found. They don't get it at first and wil think it's a game, but if you don't get frustrated and keep at it, they eventually realise it's pointless and give up

    The barking on command thing is something I have taught Luke (my dog). First I had a word that I linked to a reward. I use "yes" in a exciting voice. Basically you say "yes" then give him a treat. You can do this as many times as you like. "yes" treat, "yes" treat, "yes" treat, "yes" treat, etc. It's best to leave a small gap of about 20 seconds between each repetition to give the dog time to process and work out why he is being rewarded and link that every time you say "yes" he gets a treat. Soon you will see him going about his business, you will say "yes" and he will turn around and look at you waiting for the reward. Once he does this you can begin the barking command.

    Take him somewhere you know he will bark at something. Does he bark in the backyard when you are out there? This could work fine. Every time he barks, say "yes" and give him a treat. Eventually he will begin to bark at you. When he does, you say "yes" and give him a treat. Once he is reliably barking at you after every time he gets a treat, you can then begin to incorporate the command. When you see he is about to bark, say the word "bark" or "speak" or "danger" whatever command you want. He will link that every time you say "bark", he barks, you give him a treat. Once he has linked this, that's when you need to only reward him if he barks when you give the command, otherwise he will just continue to bark at you when he wants treats.

    Another way is to show them something they really want and hold it in front of them until they get frustrated and start barking at you, then link it the same way. This is handy for people who have ball obsessed dogs when teaching them to bark, but not if they don't want the dog barking at them at the park for the ball and tends to take a lot longer to teach.

    So yay, now you've taught him to bark on command. Only problem now is teaching him a command to stop barking. You do it the same way as teaching to bark. Wait for the desired behaviour and reward. You then incorporate a word for that like "stop", "enough", "quiet" etc. Soon he will learn he can only get a treat if he stops barking when he's outside.

    You can also purchase a bark collar to help control outside barking when you're not their to catch him straight away. These are a quick fix but I feel it's also best to then work out why he is barking and fix that problem instead.

    From your initial post, I agree with Hyacinth. He doesn't seem to be trying to protect you, more lonely and is a bit anxious about every sound and new visitor etc.

    Whats the longest time you put him in the "naughty corner" for? It shouldn't be more than 2 minutes.
    I also think you should give crate training a go.

    What state are you in? Maybe we can recommend someone local to help you if you want to get someone in to assess your situation...?

  5. #5
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    I even gave him a kong stuffed with treats to play with to try keep him busy.
    Does this work? Are you careful to only hand over the kong when he's quiet? Gradually increase the time he has to be quiet before you hand it over. Eg you go out with a Kong full of yummy food, and dog barks at you, you turn around and start walking back, if dog is quiet, you turn around and try again. You may not get to hand over the kong for a while. Dinner time is max barking for my dog - and those already happening barks are what I used to train her to bark on command, and then - only reward the very quiet barks...

    The thing is when he starts barking and i go outside to try get him to stop he runs away from me and keeps barking at me, its almost like a game
    This is bad. My dog can also be like this in the back yard. It's where her recall is the worst for me and there are only a couple of places where I can corner her, and she's way too smart to go there when she's having a fun game of chase the dog. Never ever indulge your dog in this game. They do have an understanding of fair play - eg your dog should be willing to chase you in return for being chased. See if you can turn the game into chase the boss.

    My dog does not like being shut out on her own, so the way I catch her is to tell her I'm shutting the door now... and if she doesn't come I shut the door and leave it shut for at least five minutes - of course this is not going to help your neighbours.

    Sometimes if I just sit on the back step - she will come over for a pat - and then I can catch her. I've also got her doing drop on command really reliably and if I tell her to drop, I can walk up and catch her. I have played the drop for treat game so much - that she just does it now. You could train the drop any time anywhere, yummy treat, lots, and also train her name or recall word - eg say the magic word - give the dog a treat....

    In fact if you follow Belinda's (Pawfectionist) instructions for barking trick - and any other tricks you like - you will get a dog that comes to you when you say "yes" because that means yummy treat...

    but he knows he is doing the wrong thing,
    I suspect he doesn't really - he is just having fun and you're joining in his fave game of chase me.

    then when i evenutally get hold of him and put him in the isolated area and he usually stops barking then sulks for a bit then once he is fully settled he is told to sit then taken out.
    Again I think you're projecting a bit. It is possible he's worked out he won't get out of isolation until he quits barking for a while. This is good - ie never ever let him out of this unless he's quiet. It would be the same if you crate train, if your dog starts barking when you approach to let him out, turn around and walk away until he's quiet and then turn back... it can take a while but as long as you are completely consistent - it will be good.

    I probably wouldn't let him out in the back yard if all he's going to do is bark his head off. I would have structured training and potty breaks out there, but that would be all and he wouldn't get off lead until you were confident he would come when you called - this involves getting a reliable recall in a less distracting environment (like inside the house) first.

    Mostly when my dog barks in my back yard, I go check to see what she's barking at, and if it's nothing important - I say so in a happy voice "enough already" but I never bark too. And I do what I can to distract her from what she had her attention on. It is possible she might make the connection between barking and attention - which is not entirely bad from my point of view, eg barking to be let out the back door for potty break or to encourage the neighbourhood cats to leave, is good in my books. I did use a pump up water pistol to aid in distracting hound, she likes the water so that's a fun game too... I would squirt near her, but not at her.

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