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Thread: Barking Behaviour please help!

  1. #1

    Question Barking Behaviour please help!

    Hello

    I have an adult 7 year old Australian Shepherd female. We have just relocated to a new home and taken her with us from Melbourne, it has now been 4 weeks. She is an obedient dog in everything apart from her barking, and some whining (which is less of a problem).

    I find that my Aussie barks at noises that are close and at one particular neighbour. Our house sits a bit higher than our neighbours so she can see into their house - she sees them moving around and hears their noises (talking, dishes, etc). They also have their clothes line close to the fence and when they do washing she will bark at the fence running up and down.

    Other noises, that are far away she has muffled barks and does not react as strongly as if it were right at the fence. She is quiet otherwise. In her old home in Melbourne we had high fences she would ignore the neighbours if they were talking as it wasn't too loud and the only time she would bark strongly is if they moved their bins, which was right next to the fence.

    I have tried training her if she barks:
    - I will ignore it for a bit and then tell her to come, sit, down, wait a bit and say good quiet and reward her.
    - I have taken her close to the source of the noise told her to sit, down and be quiet and reward her for being quiet (but she still has the urge to bark).
    - I have tried getting between her and the sound she eventually goes away but will want to return to bark at the sound.
    - I have tried walking her around outside while noises are occurring and when she looks that way but doesn't respond I reward her for staying quiet.

    I have consistently tried each method extensively with no change in behaviour.

    I need some help, hints and tips on how to train her not to bark at noises or respond to seeing neighbours. She is obedient in all other respects, she is friendly, listens to commands (apart when barking). Please help as I am at the point I will need to resort to getting a dog trainer/behavioural specialist who are expensive and will be difficult to pay (bark busters)

    I want the piece of mind that she wont pester the neighbours at any hour especially if I'm not home (bark collars out of the question).

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
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    12,602

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    - I will ignore it for a bit and then tell her to come, sit, down, wait a bit and say good quiet and reward her.
    Erm double fail here - barking is self rewarding so if you ignore it - she will do more of it because it's rewarding of itself. Ie allowing her to keep barking is the same as feeding her cookies for doing it.

    Calling her - is giving her attention, the waiting is good but effectively you're teaching a "back chain" of behaviours - be naughty then be called and get treat. Oops.
    - I have taken her close to the source of the noise told her to sit, down and be quiet and reward her for being quiet (but she still has the urge to bark).
    Nearly right. But I would try a few other things like playing games next to the neighbours and getting her to think about other things. This will only work if she doesn't get the urge or start barking.

    - I have tried getting between her and the sound she eventually goes away but will want to return to bark at the sound.
    Blocking - is a good interrupter but ideally there should be nothing to interrupt but this is a start.

    - I have tried walking her around outside while noises are occurring and when she looks that way but doesn't respond I reward her for staying quiet.
    This is good but if you're still allowing her to bark (the first option you presented) it will fail.

    What I do with my dog when she barks inappropriately is - first I march up to her without saying anything and put her collar on. And then I let her go and see what her choice is. If she starts barking - I take hold of the collar, I don't say anything. If I scolded - she'd see this as approval of her scolding (barking) and me joining in and helping and she'd bark more.

    I keep holding the collar until she calms down, stops barking and focusses on me. She usually rolls over as well - pretty sure that's just because she thinks that will make me let go. It might look like an alpha roll - except she did it voluntarily, I didn't push her, I just hung on.

    So once she's quiet, I might tell her "good dog" and I might just let her go (enough reward, less likely to start a "back chain"). And see what her choice is.

    If she barks again - I grab the collar and march her inside and shut the door. And I don't let her go until she's quiet.

    She's a pretty smart dog - I usually only need to do this twice when she's very excited and she then decides that barking at the neighbours is not appropriate for herself. That's what you really want - is to set up choices for your dog and reward the good choice, and interrupt the bad choice (or make it hard to choose).

    When I'm out - she stays inside. I'm a bit scared of what some of my neighbours have said they would do to dogs that won't stop barking. And I've got a few recalcitrant meter readers and other people who might let her out if I left her in the yard. Tho I could do a better job of locking all the gates I guess.

    There are some really good trainers in ACT who ought to be able to help but I'm with you - BB are not them.
    I've seen these two recommended tho I haven't used them.
    Heike Hahner in Braidwood
    hhahner@bigpond.com
    http://heike.braidwoodnsw.com/index.htm

    Raelene Koerber in Canberra
    raekoe@gmail.com
    Welcome to Raelene Koerber Training & TTouch
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 10-27-2014 at 09:37 PM. Reason: fix my quoting

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Geelong, Vic
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    You have not taught her to stop and leave the sound alone. You're relying on her to try and do that on her own and she's not understanding that.

    If you have a leave command, use it. As soon as she barks - LEAVE - and go send her somewhere else to do SOMETHING else productive. If she refuses you remove her and put her in a place like her bed and make her stay there. She has to listen to you and dont give in. She won't make the connection on her own.
    http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c11/Mali_nut/K9LOGO.jpg

  4. #4

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    Thank you for your great replies. I appreciate the perspective you have given to my Barking Behaviour and will try the recommendations.

    It is great getting advice on correcting my training techniques onto a more appropriate course.

    Will keep people updated on our progress

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Rural Western Australia
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    Yes when I lived in suburbia I was immediately onto my dogs if they barked. I called them straight in if they looked like persisting. They learnt the phrase leave it. Like Hyacinth I started keeping my dogs inside when there was some nasty stuff happening to dogs around the area I was living.
    My neighbours all gave me permission to have a third dog so I can only assume there was no problem when I wasnt there. When I was there I had a zero tolerance of barking at neighbours and my dogs knew it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    melbourne australia
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    my dogs have the run of the fence line when im at work, and they love to bark at passers by.
    so each weekend, we retrain 'leave it', takes very little time, and by sunday, no reactions to passers by. I then start my working week, and we are back to square one.
    zero tolerance gets communicated fast here. And consequences are very generously handed out too, both negative and positive. Being excluded from playing with us, is a huge deal for each of my dogs. They'll do anything to be by me, whilst i potter in garden, retraining leave it. Every bloody week (sighs)

    I give command LEAVE, in my up one notch from neutral voice. The dog either shuts up or doesnt. If it doesnt, I dont bother with collar grabs, just shut the noisy one inside, whilst the rest of the obedient dogs get to play with me outside. I go let the dog out after a minute or so, and repeat the lesson.
    Generally, leave it, is coupled with a do X instead. So LEAVE, and throw a ball, LEAVE and sit, then praise and release. ie. some job to do, other than be a plonker. Works whilst im there to police it.
    Each of mine is a gaurd breed. I would be more concerned if they did not bark at strangers approaching the property, coz that would indicate they are crook.

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