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Going against the dogs's nature - barking, jumping

February 27th, 2005, 11:36 AM
Here is the background on our dog

She is 'sort of' an Alaskan Husky - came from a bad home - has grade 3 hip displasia.

Our first concern is about barking.
She loves to do this :)
The neighbours are not so crazy about it :(

We do let her bark, I mean she is a dog! But, I count 10 barks and then figure it is going to be excessive.
Her barks are usually aimed at neighbours on either side going in and out of their driveways. The vocals she is using indicate "play", "hello", not ferocity.
We have tried being outside with her and making sure she is in full ball-play or somesuch when they come home, hoping that she will ignore them ... it takes tremendous effort on her part. (we do try to make sure she is in during the "rush hour" so there is less stress on both neighbour and dog)

Our apprach so far ... when she starts up, we go outside and say "no barking" in a growl. She will stop ... until we are out of view. If she ignores us, she is brought into the house for at least 5 minutes. Most of the time, I have to walk right up to her and tel her to stop, and that we are going in the house ... but she mostly waits for my approach, getting in all the barking she can while I trudge through the snow.

Today, I have filled a container with rocks and am going to start shaking it with each over-zealous spree, while saying no barking (hoping that it will stop her, or at least make her aware of what I want when I shake the can). This is just starting today.

Does anyone have suggestions that will help here, keeping in mind that there are many things in her natural instincts that we have to quell due to her hip condition. She gets a lot of play time away from the 50' rope, indoors and out.

February 27th, 2005, 12:01 PM
When using the can whether it has the 'traditional' pennies in it or rocks, make sure t odo it behind your back or out of sight so she thinks her behaviour is causing the noise and not you.

If it doesn't get better you may want to look into bark collar solutions.
They have gotten better, and not all of them 'shock' your dog, there are ones that emit high frequency sounds, spray citronella, or vibrate instead. But you may always have to have her wear the collar even when she learns no barking since she may figure out that without the collar nothing happens. I've known people to take out the batteries or let them die and just have the collar on as a reminder.

February 27th, 2005, 12:06 PM
Hi and welcome!

I can just tell from your post, you are very in tune with what your dog needs!! Good for you!!

If the idea with the rocks works but "fades", try banging pots and pans together.. I know it sounds dumb, but it worked wonders for me. and my dog. Actually neither one of us barks anymore!! LOL

It's true a well excercised dog is more receptive, have you researched the types of excercises that are compatible and actually important with Gr3 HD? Sounds like you've got that base covered but I'd just thought I'd throw it out there..

Do you reward her when she is quiet on command?

February 27th, 2005, 12:10 PM
I've known people to take out the batteries or let them die and just have the collar on as a reminder.

This worked wonders as well. I can tell you that I have personally TRIED out the bark collar on the highest intensity,( :rolleyes: I kid you not) and it is bothersome at best. And true that just wearing it is a reminder.

February 27th, 2005, 12:25 PM
You also mentioned jumping in the header of your original post and the dog's hip problems. In the thread Fence Jumping, I found a harness that allows the dog movement, but does not let them get the "lift" to jump. This might help if you are having those issues too.

I am still working on barking issues with my mini doxie. That high pitched little voice can carry, more than the golden's deep bark

February 27th, 2005, 12:55 PM
Thank you all!

I hadn't thought of hiding the can ... have even let her sniff it on the way out

I know that there are a gazillion good reasons for using collars, scents etc, but I just can't bring myself to try these methods. At this point in being a new mother, I would rather have the neighbours hate me ... I can't give you reasons for my thinking except that it is all emotional, not logical, and, even though I know my dog is a dog, and even though I know they don't think like we do ... I just can't seperate my feelings and emotions, and I would crumble if I felt I hurt her feelings - awful eh? I am working on that!!
Right now, I take her nylon collar off and give her a neck massage each time she comes in the house ... I thought it looked uncomfortable when she slept (am I pathetic?)

I look to her face and ears and beggin paws for everything and she is just so packed with expressions, feelings and desires ... I want her to have 'em all, all good, but with a bit better manners.
When my dog looks at me, cocking her head this way and that ... I just feel that she is "getting it". I could spend hours of trial & error trying to match expression for want and am getting quite good at reading her. (she is training me well)

Sooooo I guess if the can (noise) doesn't work, I will have to pop a few vallium and bite the bullet and go into the inplement world (sigh).

On the HP3 and her excercise ... the only advice I have been given by the vet is "low impact". I read on the net that she shouldn't jump, climb stairs etc. so basically we just watch her and make her "relax" (a command she listens to in the house only) when we feel she has had too much. When we had a ton of snow, that was near impossible ... she loves to climb the "snow mountains" in the yard, dig, roll, jump and act like a loon. When we play catch (make that chase) we try to keep it on level ground. When we walk her, we try to keep her off of the snow piles etc. But, overdoing it for her is very easy ... one slip on the ice and she is down for the day (primrose oil and lots of rest time). So mostly, in the backyard she is on 50' lead and we keep the play minimal (too hard to control hard play in her excitement) ... and we have playtime in the house (time to chase the toy-babies and toss the bones). We have covered all of our floors so there is no chance of slipping in there ... but mostly we just watch her like a hawk - if she shows any sign of bunnyhopping, we tone her down the best we can & get the primrose into her.
We are hoping that the muscle mass that she is putting on (big time) will help her and avoid a wheelchair (crossing fingers). She has one heck of a time trying to use her back legs ... they seem to be more for balance than anything else.
Sooooo hard going against her nature - running, jumping etc

I have not had much luck looking for low-impact activities (except walking, a given) ... her endurance is low, but after a 5 minute rest, she is dogzilla once again - lol. I was thinking maybe we should build her an easy obstacle course or something in the yard - for training, excercise and boredom?

We do try to remember to reward her when she is quiet, but I don't think she gets this :) she is just happy to see us (remember she is outdoors - we go out to quiet her, play with her and reward her - so it is all good :))

off to read the thread about jumping (thank you). She loves to jump to greet, loves to jump to play, loves to jump when she wakes up ... loves to jump period, but we know what the reprecsions are :(

You are all so kind

February 27th, 2005, 02:58 PM
I know your intentions are the best and you are working so hard at being a good mom - kudos to you.
I want to present some other thinking into your head. Yes, this is a dog and dogs have natural behaviors that are unreasonable to ask them to stop completely, but there is balance in all things.
Dogs work for the leader out of love, trust and respect. I know she has all the love there is for you but it sounds like the respect issue could be improved. If you are gong to use the can I really don't care if she sees it comes from you. You are the boss and if the negative pressure comes from the boss all the better. The loving rewards also come from you, YIPEE! A good leader is both bad cop and good cop. The dog learns the limits of acceptable behavior from the leader - who else cares enough to teach? You do not want to carry a can of rocks around with you for the rest of her life do you? The can is simply a tool to empower your words. When she respects your words then you don't need the can. BUT if you rely on the can to convey your wishes then you will always have to rely on the can, because you have taught her that the can has power not you.
I would say that letting her bark 10 times is too much - by then she is getting an adrenalin rush from it and feeling quite impressed with herself. 1-3 barks would be more reasonable (if you think barking is necessary). Then step right in and stop it. She knows your routine of 'growls' and when you walk away she's right back at it. She knows how far you are willing to go to take charge - and she knows what she can get away with - she's got the system all worked out and ultimately she wins.
Though the barking seems innocent - she is acting as the pack guardian or personal greeter when she does this. Which means that she thinks she is in charge of the property. Only the leader is ultimately in charge of the territory. If you worked on your leadership skills then she would know itís your property and she would have no reason to alert and guard. But in order to teach this you must be out with her and correct the bad choices and reward the good ones.
I think this girl sounds like she has a lot of recess time - time to do as she pleases without leadership from anyone. Play and exercise are vital but it would be good if it was done with instruction from a leader. 'Time well spent' is the best treatment of all and that means time with you. Engage her brain, teach her good manners. The jumping problem is easily solved and I will send you a PM on jumping on others and jumping on you. It would hog too much space on this post.
I would like to plant one big seed in your mind/heart. When a dog respects her person the love multiplies ten fold. Not earning your dogs respect because you are afraid of hurting her feelings will create just the opposite effect you are looking for. Case in point. The other day I was working a 7 mo. Pitbull for a woman who was having problems with the dog attacking her and biting her. Scary situation. I worked the dog for 10 minutes - with clear and fair leadership. I then went to sit down while Doug spoke to her. The dog came over and crawled in my lap and licked my face repeatedly. The woman was shocked and terribly sad - she said the dog had NEVER done that to her before and she's had the dog since it was tiny. All she had ever done was love it and it didn't seem to love her back. In mere minutes the dog wanted to crawl in my pocket and be my best friend. I felt terrible for her but could not think of a clearer example of the importance of good leadership in the dogs head and heart.
P.S. Shock collars can be hideous training tools. I have witnessed huge holes burned into the necks of dogs who were so driven to bark that they barked through the shocks and no longer even felt the pain.

February 27th, 2005, 05:57 PM
good answer and well said!

ps - what is a novice dog owner doing with a strong breed like a pit bull??? at least she's getting help!

February 27th, 2005, 07:51 PM
I would rather have the neighbours hate me ... I can't give you reasons for my thinking except that it is all emotional, not logical, and, even though I know my dog is a dog, and even though I know they don't think like we do ... I just can't seperate my feelings and emotions, and I would crumble if I felt I hurt her feelings - awful eh? I am working on that!!

MAN!! Did you come to the right place!! (((((((hug)))))))) No need to "work" on anything, our babies mean this same thing to all of us. You will find nothing but understanding and support from the people here about your feelings, but I agree with Tenderfoot, creating respect will just intensify the bond.

Nice to have you on board!! :thumbs up