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Curbing Excessive Barking

BernerLver
August 4th, 2006, 02:34 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions on how we can curb Dart's barking? He barks at some people who walk by, the doorbell, knocks at the door, cars doors closing etc.

I assume he was either taught this behaviour or just allowed to do it by his previous owners as this is not something we have encouraged. Bailey whom we have had as a puppy hardly barks at and never at the door or in the various situations I described above.

I would just like to leave them in the breezeway in the morning after breakfast with their toys etc. before I go to work for some fresh air etc. so they don't have to be cooped up in the house, however, with Dart's barking I have not been allow this because it is early and will disturb the neighbors.

I am looking for some solutions, training etc. that hubby and I can do to curb this behaviour. Please note that I do not want to use any type of shock collar or harsh training method. Dart is a very sensitive dog with slight separation issues (being abandoned at 6+ years will do that to an animal). I am looking for a gentle yet effective method preferably.

TIA.

TMac
August 4th, 2006, 03:43 PM
Can he see the street from the breezeway? If he's barking at people, cars, etc from there it could be just out of frustration with the barrier and that he can see all the action. Is it a chain link fence that keeps him in? They sell these little plastic 'strips' at Home Depot that can be woven through the chain link to block his view. That might help.

For the other barking (doorbell, car doors, knocking) - I would allow him a short bark (once or twice) to alert you since that is natural for dogs. He is just doing his job telling you someone is there. After the initial bark, call him over excitedly and when he comes have him sit and praise/treat him. It might take a few times for him to get the hang of it and you might have to start only about 5 feet away from him at first and get someone to help you practice, but hopefully after a while you'll be able to call to him from whatever room you are in and he'll come running after the short 'alert'!

It sounds easier than it is, but if you keep at it he'll feel he is doing his job yet he won't be bugging you with excessive barking. Most people make the mistake of yelling 'be quiet!!'. He would interpret that as you barking and getting into the game of 'protect the house' which would only make him bark more.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

:dog:

we3beagles
August 6th, 2006, 12:52 AM
My pup Soozie was the exact same way when she came to us. Our behavourist/trainer told us to use a shaker can full of pennies. I let her get out one or two and then I shake the can. She caught on in two weeks and we haven't looked back. She is so good now. She barks once to let us know she sees something and then is quiet for which she gets a lot of praise. Really easy, but be very consistant.

Prin
August 6th, 2006, 12:36 PM
What I did with Jemma and Boo when we got neighbors in our old apartment after being alone in the building for 3 years was just reassure them and say something like "It's just the neighbors" every time. They got used to the consistently inconsistent noises eventually and never barked. Then we moved here, and there's a condo parking lot next to us, so people are always coming and going and slamming car doors and things, and we did the same thing- "It's ok. It's just the neighbors." And when people started walking by, "It's just the neighbors on a walk.":D Sounds dumb, but it gives consistency to things that seem inconsistent to the doggy... :shrug: I dunno... It worked for my babies.

I just don't agree with yelling at them or scaring them out of it because they're just doing their job and protecting their territory and pack from intruders- they're just trying to help.

tenderfoot
August 6th, 2006, 07:11 PM
Yes they think they are doing the right thing by protecting the pack/territory, but if you are the leader then it is not their place to do so. You need to show them that you have it under control and they do not need to bark.

I would take the time to sit out in the breezeway with them and teach them good manners. Have the culprit on a leash attached to you. Enage his brain with some drills and then put him into a sit or down/stay and relax. At the first sign of a sound or temptation to bark - tell him 'quiet' in a firm tone and see if htats enough for him to rethink his manners. If not, then give a 'slight' leash correction as you say 'quiet' to empower your words - maybe stomp your foot towards him. This tells him to back off his energy. It might take a try to two but if he rspects you and you are consistent and clear then he should quit. After he submits it should take less and less enrgy from you to get his compliance. Soon he will know that barking is not permitted because mom said so. Mom has things under control so he doesn't need ot bark.

I would also increase his drills over all. The more you engage his mind throughout the day the better he will listen when you need him to.

Oh, and he would really rather be with you anyway - fresh air is great but the pack is better. Time well spent with mom means way more than barking at the neighbors. Better yet - fresh air with mom!

Prin
August 6th, 2006, 10:51 PM
I guess living in the city, my doggies' guarding is somewhat appreciated and I don't want to stop it completely...;)

tenderfoot
August 7th, 2006, 10:13 AM
I understand - all things in balance.

Your dogs would die for you Prin, I don't doubt that.

But day to day manners makes living in harmony with them much easier.