Long time reader, first time poster - also first time(ish - had dogs as a child but obviously wasn't the main caregiver) dog owner.
Earlier this year my partner and I adopted a 5 year old corgi from a family that were moving away. When we adopted her they did tell us that she had quite an loud demanding bark and growl which only sounds aggressive but isn't and that she has also spend most of her time inside as they were home mostly during the day. Other than that this lovely creature could sit, stay, play fetch, shake, come when called etc.
So we took our beautiful girl home and I fell in love with her (always wanted a corgi) and began taking her for walks everyday and she seemed to settle into a routine pretty quickly. The only issue was we live a split property where the only thing dividing our yard from our neighbours is a metal fence (the thin pole type so basically we can completely see into our neighbours yard who are family) Our neighbour has too small children and in between hanging out washing, gardening, playing with the kids they are out a lot.
Our dog would sit at the fence and bark at them continuously while they were in the yard or coming home/leaving (she has full view of the driveway) when we were at home inside. At the time I would just bring her inside or go outside with her and everything would be fine. I also found very first thing in the morning when I let her out she would run around the yard barking if I did not let her back in after she had gone to the toilet (she would then go back to bed) She would also bark at the possums in the trees late at night but once again bring her in all good.
Months passed and whilst her barking annoyed me I would just fix the problem by letting her inside and our neighbour said she was generally quiet during the day so I figured it must have been an alerting/protective thing - telling us there people/things there.
Well recently we added another dog to the mix, we bought an adorable male puppy. After we had bought the puppy and tried to settle him in (whilst she does not LOVE him she tolerates him and plays with him when in the mood/tells him to go away when she's not) I was chatting to my neighbour about the dogs when she informed me that the corgi has actually been barking a lot more lately even when we are not there and that the puppy has also started barking for hours on end when we're not home. I've actually caught the corgi barking in the middle of the yard instead of at the fence.
So now I have two barking dogs and I am trying to train the puppy but as we're not there 24/7 as soon as they're alone they bark pretty much constantly at the fence annoying my neighbours. As the older dog's barking as escalated from -
* Barking when we are at home at neighbours/visitors/sounds etc to -
* Barking when we are at home + not at home at neighbours etc to -
* Barking for long periods of time regardless if we are there and also not always at anything in particular.
I know I have done the wrong things along the way and I'm terrified the puppy will pick up all her habits. Whenever I google/read about this issue I get a 3432 different solutions and I'm completely lost. The corgi does not generally have a lot of energy and I know exercise is hugely important but after 30 minutes walking she lies down and won't budge, when we get back she is tired for maybe an hour but then perks back up with the barking and sometimes she will just be lying inside resting and just be barking on and off softly.
I need an action plan and if anyone can point me to some easy resources that would be great as my head is swimming in "pack leader this" and "positive reinforcement this" can a 5 year old dog really unlearn this behaviour or do I focus on the puppy and then her??