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Thread: Barking in 9 Month Puppy

  1. #1

    Default Barking in 9 Month Puppy

    Hey everyone,
    I decided to post this here after countless websites and pamphlets proved to be unhelpful in my situation.

    I live with my 9 month old puppy named Rocky (pictured in avatar). He's an Australian Cattledog/Rottweiler mix, and I have had him since he was 8 weeks old. As far as I'm concerned, he's my best friend and I love him to bits. I could not ask for a better friend than him and so I am naturally concerned by the issue facing us.

    I adopted him a few days after he arrived at the shelter - he came from a family who loved their dogs but simply could not look after the litter. He didn't experience any hardship prior to his adoption that could cause behavioral issues. He is a well-tempered dog who loves to play.

    At about 6-7 months, he began to have issues with his barking. The reason other websites about stopping barking have been unhelpful is because of the unique situation in which he barks. As I said before, he loves to play and is very active - however, this is causes issues because we live next door to a family with 3 very small children who love to play in the yard adjacent to our fence.

    Of course, like every dog, Rocky wants to go and join in and when he realizes he can't, begins to bark through the fence repeatedly until I physically take him from the yard and sit with him in the house. That was alright for a while, but he is a big dog now and I simply can't have him inside all the time.

    I am at home most days of the week, as a professional wildlife photographer. However, sometimes I am out all day for a few days on trips. I have had to cut down on the time I can spend out in the field due to his barking.

    The main causes of his barking are the next-door-neighbors playing in their yard or pool and when rubbish bins are being wheeled out to the curb for collection day. The second is not so bad, since it only occurs once a week, but nevertheless it can be an issue.

    Another time he barks, and probably the worst time, is at night - we have several possums that inhabit the trees overhanging our fences and as you might imagine, this doesn't sit well with him at all. He will bark at them repeatedly. I tried to curb this by having him sleep up on our balcony instead of in the yard at night, but he soon figured out that he could see the possums from there as well. It has come down to having him sleep inside at night and now, this is becoming too difficult due to his size. I also believe that it isn't helping in deterring him from barking.

    So far I have tried being stern with him when he barks and trying to reinforce that he shouldn't bark. I will not try smacking or hitting him in any way, with or without a newspaper etc, because I believe it to be cruel and ineffective.

    I am really looking for some kind of "positive reinforcement" which teaches him not to bark, but doesn't do so through fear or anything like that. I have considered a citronella spray collar - has anyone used these and would they be effective in this situation? Other than that, I'm really appealing to anyone out there who might have some tips or techniques.

    I have owned two dogs in the past, neither of which had barking issues so I'm really in new waters here. I regularly exercise him, and play his favorite game - chasing tennis balls - every day or two to make sure he gets some exercise and fun. He does have plenty of toys but I believe the issue to be more based on the activities which cause him to bark, and not his own boredom.

    Sorry for the massive post! I really wanted to ensure anyone who might read this would have all the details.

    I appreciate any tips or suggestions and please ask questions if I haven't provided some info here.

    - Chris
    Last edited by Ctcole; 12-10-2009 at 06:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Australia


    Hi Chris,

    I have a 10 year old Staffy X Bully and he is an absolute terrible barking. I think he does it mostly for attention!

    I have tried many techniques .....none that have worked for me, but that isn't to say they wont work for you.

    Probably one of the best techniques to try in your situation (might be a bit hard aat night however) is to fill a spray bottle with a small amount of lemon juice and then dilute it with water. Spray this at his nose EVERY time he barks and give a stern NO.

    My vet suggested this as she says that the Citronella collars dont work well, as if you have a smart dog it wont take long for them to work out that all they have to do is scratch the collar until it swivels round their neck and then it spray in the air!

    This particular technique didn't work for my boy as he took a liking to the taste! Then he ate the bottle!

    Hope this trick works for you although Im sure others here will have different advice - probably better.

    Good Luck

  3. #3


    Hey mate, thanks for taking the time to reply

    I haven't tried the spray bottle with water, I will certainly give it a go. I guess it all depends on how much he likes water - so far I can gauge that he likes water, so long as its on his own terms (running out in the rain etc) but not when its bath time. He doesn't like stuff around his nose so I think it could have a chance at working.

    Thanks for the heads-up on citronella collars. I was thinking that a smart dog would find a few ways around them.

    Thanks indeed for your input and I shall try your suggestions as well as any others people provide

    As a quick side note - has anyone every used a Muzzle successfully to curb barking? To me it doesn't seem like the best method but if anyone has any opinions on it, let me know.

    - Chris

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Rural NSW


    Just saying hello and welcome as I can be of no help on this one.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Australia


    Dont forget to put some lemon juice in the spray bottle!

    I haven't tried a muzzle and I wouldn't! It seems cruel to me and you would need to have it on for rather long periods of time. Unless you try a metal muzzle the dog wont be able to eat or drink with it on.

    I think he will see this as punishment and it will probably make things worse for you.

    You can make your own decision. I just personally think its cruel and will be ineffective.

  6. #6


    Thanks for the welcome and taking time to reply!

    I have prepared a spray bottle with a bit of lemon juice and will test it out tonight with him and the possums.

    My thoughts exactly on the muzzle, I was just wondering if anyone had actually used it with any success. Especially since it can get extremely hot where I live, I think a muzzle would limit his mouth use and his ability to pant and cool himself. Will definitely pass on the muzzle.

    I will post back later on how tonight goes with the spray!

    Thanks again and if anyone has any thoughts feel free to share them

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Hawkesbury, NSW


    I'll weigh in with a few suggestions for what they are worth!

    The spray bottle suggestion can be very effective - an alternative to lemon juice is vinegar, friends of mine use it and now all they have to do is wave the bottle at their dogs and they shut up!

    Night time - you can't stop the possums, I think the majority of dogs will bark at them if they can see them, so keeping him inside might be the only solution - what about the laundry, all he really needs is somewhere big enough to lie down.

    Muzzle - sorry, not an option as far as I'm concerned, I too think it would be cruel.

    Neighbours - have they said anything to you? If you get on with them okay, then approach them and say you are aware of your dog barking when the kids are playing, he just wants to play with them, but you are looking at various options to curtail his barking. You'd be surprised just how much goodwill you can build with neighbours by talking to them about it, they will be much more understanding if they know you are trying to do something about it. Maybe even see if the kids could meet your dog? Another option to try is to create an internal fence along the neighbours fenceline, leaving a no-mans land of say 6 feet. Depends on what sort of fencing you have now, for instance if you have paling fences, he can probably see the kids through the cracks, if he can't get near the fence then at least the visual problem is solved (tho he can still hear the kids).

    Hope you get it sorted out, I'm sure someone will have better suggestions than I do!

  8. #8


    Hey GreysAreGreat, thanks for taking the time to post and give your suggestions!

    I think what you've suggested for the fence is a great idea. We have quite high wooden fencing, but it does have cracks in it for him to peer through. One thing I did forget to mention is that they also have a dog, whom Rocky has met and gets on with quite well. Naturally the dog comes out to play when the kids do, and thereby adding one more complication!

    I have a good neighborly relationship with the guys next door, whom I've done photography for on several occasions. I have spoken to them about it - as far as they're concerned, it's not a huge issue when they go out to play. My fear is more that neighbors in the surrounding area might not be as forgiving.

    Your idea for the "no mans land" got me thinking, though. I think I might try getting some small treats (Rocky is without doubt a food-driven dog) and hide them around the yard when the kids come out to play, or even get him a Kong toy. Something to keep him amused around the other side of the house while the kids are out.

    As for the possums, while our laundry is a bit small, I'm looking at clearing out our old office (which doesn't get used, mostly just where I dump all my mail and stuff I never use) and letting him use that. With wooden floors and a fan it'd be quite good for him.

    Thanks again for the suggestions and I appreciate it! Once more, anyone who has some ideas feel free to post them

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009


    Ok I haven't read the other posts but I'll give it a go.
    First of all, I looked at your avatar before reading his breeding. He looks 100% Kelpie to me. 80% at the very very least.
    Is Rocky getting a good solid amount of exercise? Im talking at least half an hours worth?
    He sounds bored to me. Have you checked out interactive toys? Even a kong will keep him busy.
    Education not Legislation

  10. #10


    Hey aussiemyf7, thanks for taking the time to reply

    That's very interesting actually. I know for fact that he is at least some Rottweiler as I have seen and met his mother (I got in contact with the original owners and have stayed in contact with them) but they are unsure as to the father. Perhaps he was Kelpie? I'm not sure but thanks for letting me know, I'll have to ask a few others what they think! I can put a full-body picture of him up if it would make it easier to identify.

    At first I thought it was boredom as well, so I bought him a multitude of toys. He is very happy to sit and play with them all but decides to drop them when something else grabs his attention. He had a Kong when he was very little but he got too big for it. I might invest in a bigger one for him. Yep, he gets excellent 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!

    Just an update on how he's going with the water spray bottle - he has now been outside for 3 hours and I've only had to spray him three times so far, and once I just went out with the bottle and he quietened down without need for a spray. Thanks to everyone who suggested this - it sure looks like it might be working! Oh and I have heard the possums rustling and screeching (things that used to make him go berserk) and he has remained quiet just playing with his tennis ball.

    I will continue to keep everyone updated. Thanks to everyone who has posted so far, it is great to see so many people who care about Dogs and are willing to help others in need.

    Anyone else who wants to throw in their 2 cents, please do!
    Last edited by Ctcole; 12-10-2009 at 10:41 PM.

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