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Barking at noises outside

May 12th, 2010, 07:13 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions for stopping/reducing barking at noises (mostly other dogs) outside?

Skylar is constanly barking when she hears other dogs outside. She gets really frantic sometimes, going to the nearest window, her hackles up barking like a maniac. She stops when we pull her away or tell her to stop, but she's visibly agitated for several minutes afterwards and often tries to go back to the window to continue barking.

She has damaged almost all of our windowsills with her claws when she jumps up to look out while she's barking.

So far our technique has been to quietly pull her away while firmly telling her 'no'. Sometimes she'll look at us before she goes bark-mad and if we make serious unbroken eye contact she won't bark, but will growl.

Any training suggestions?

May 12th, 2010, 09:54 PM
Both of my dogs came from the shelter with this habit. As we have a low window in the front of our house and our street has many pedestrians and dog walkers, they were barking a lot.

We stopped them both by "claiming" the window (sorry to use the Cesar Millan speak for those who dont' like him :) ). When they headed towards the window on alert, we walk in between them and the window and order "off!". Rinse, lather, reapeat. It didn't take all that long - a few days for each.

Our lab that we have now still gets her hackles up occasionally, and stares, but we can call her off easily.

May 14th, 2010, 10:41 AM
I'll try that on a more consistent basis. We have, on occasion, done that if we happen to be standing near the window when she goes off.

May 14th, 2010, 11:06 AM
Bodhi was barking at every sound for a while (she's now only 11 months old still, we figure it was part of her puppy stuff). We don't want her to stop barking, but we do want her to not bark at everything. One or two barks to alert us that someone is on our property is good. Barking or growling at something or someone outside our property is not.

Like Nansel, we would 'claim' the window or the lookout Bodhi had from the deck. We would tell her "no" with a firm but not angry or irritated voice, while shaking my head. Shaking my head is the 'hand signal' for 'no'. If she stopped barking, we'd give her praise. If she didn't respond to 'no', we'd redirect by giving a totally unrelated command that required her to move away from the lookout. Gradually 'no' was replaced with shaking my head. Obviously that can only be done while she is looking at me, which means she needs to either stop looking at her lookout, or she is first looking to me before she starts to bark. That means I have to be alert to external sounds too, so I can head her off before she is triggered by a sound. When I heard a sound off of our property, I looked at the dog. If I saw ears perked, the lips starting to fluff up in preparation of a bark, I said 'no' before she could bark. The more we could 'catch' her before she barked, the quicker the process went. Now if she hears a sound, she'll often look at me first, as though for permission to bark, and more often now she'll just prick up her ears, but no more than that.

We also taught her 'speak' and 'hush', both verbal and with a hand signal, along with lots of praise and a special treat if she hushed on command. Gradually we delayed the praise on 'hush'. Now 'speak' is only ONE bark. Not two or a series of barks. Just one. And 'hush' is either instant cessation, or no treat. After a while, 'hush' was sometimes a verbal command, sometimes a hand signal (finger in front of my mouth, as in 'shh'). Now it's mostly a hand signal.

May 14th, 2010, 11:46 AM
Brina was the same way, and like nansel , we "claimed" the window, now she is only allowed to look out it if we allow her and when her hackles rise we tell her "away" mind you, outside is a different story, I tell her hush and if she doesn't listen then she comes back inside.

May 14th, 2010, 12:08 PM
Good suggestions! I'll work harder at the claiming thing. I'll incorporate treats into the mix and teach her some new commands.

I think she's definitely part way there, she does often look at us before the actual barking, and if we make eye contact and firmly say no, she won't bark. Her lips will still curl and she'll give a lttle growl, but no craziness.

OK, I think we can get a handle on this, we were headed in the right direction, now we just have to take it further.