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Help: Barking and the baby's food

dogmelissa
October 31st, 2010, 08:19 PM
Quick background: Cube was abused as a pup, severely. As a result he has a lot of fears, especially of men. I have been unable to rid him of these fears, though they have improved. I have an 8 month old baby who is learning how to eat solid foods (in a high chair mostly). She can crawl as well.

I have 2 problems which are driving me very close to the edge of sanity.

1. Barking. Cube barks at everything: doorbell, mailman, people walking down the sidewalk, car doors slamming, banging outside... Me cutting something hard, dropping something, closing doors loudly, any loud noise in the house, etc etc. Tonight is especially frustrating with Hallowe'en: one kid at the door and he'll be woofing/growling for 5 minutes after! He has repeatedly woke the baby from naps and I can hardly stand to be in our front room because he barks at so much in front of the house (even though curtains block most of the window). If someone goes out the front door and comes right back in, he barks. He even barks if someone comes up from the basement after a few minutes of absence. He also barks at sudden loud noises in TV! And its not just one spurt of barking, its a couple minutes of 'full voice' barking, then quieter barking, then growling. This needs to change & I know I'm not helping by yelling at him when he barks but nothing else helps! I've tried going to the door, showing him no one is there, 'interrupting' him with a quick hand past his face, smacking him, shushing him, trying to teach him 'quiet', I don't know what else to do. I need new suggestions.

2. Second problem: I need to teach him to stay away from the table/high chair when we/the baby is eating. He knows (and usually obeys) "leave it" but he spends much time going in circles around the high chair waiting for things to drop. It drives me crazy and is gross when he goes for her dropped spoon. He also has learned that the baby doesn't know how to eat: when she's not in her chair and I give her a cookie or a cracker, he has no issues grabbing dropped pieces from beside/in front of/between her legs. I'm afraid that he'll eventually progress to grabbing food from her hand and potentially biting her hands or face. Obviously this can't be allowed! But how can I stop him?

Cube is a Maltese X, 6.5 yrs old, neutered. He has been to obedience training as well as agility but not in about 2 yrs. Unfortunately, since the baby's arrival he has been neglected and doesn't get the exercise, attention or care that he really needs. I know I need to do more but its hard with the baby.

I believe in positive reinforcement. I'm good with treats, Cube also knows clicker so knows he doesn't always get a food treat.
I have contacted a trainer who uses Brad Pattison's approach but honestly I just can't afford the $500 it'll cost me for 3 sessions with her. I need practical, affordable help. Please. I am losing what little patience I had quickly.

Thanks in advance,
Melissa & Cube

luckypenny
November 1st, 2010, 08:46 PM
He has been to obedience training as well as agility but not in about 2 yrs. Unfortunately, since the baby's arrival he has been neglected and doesn't get the exercise, attention or care that he really needs. I know I need to do more but its hard with the baby.

I think you may already have most of the answers to your problems with Cube :o.

If you can commit at least one hour a day for Cube, I think you'll be on the road to better times for both of you. Instead of 500$ for the trainer, you can:

1. invest in a couple of baby gates or a crate to keep Cube out of the kitchen while your baby is eating and, to keep him away from the front door and window.

2. purchase a few Kongs if you don't already have some to keep him busy.

3. get a couple of excellent training books to help teach you to de-sensitize him to noises.

4. enroll him in a class. For 210$, there's a great class called "let's go!" at Sit Happens in Calgary. Something you might want to look into if it's in your area. http://www.sithappens.org/html/sithapClass.htm

Does he get any exercise with you or other members of your family? Our Nukka can be quite the yapper too but, with lots of exercise and running in the morning, she's too tired to notice anyone walking by the house or noises that usually set her off for the better part of the day. And if she does start, we've taught her competing behaviors that get her to stop quickly. Here's a good article that addresses barking. You have to register on the site but it's free. http://www.clickertraining.com/node/237

dogmelissa
November 1st, 2010, 11:02 PM
Thanks for the reply Penny!

Unfortunately, blocking Cube out of the kitchen is impossible. Well, it's not but the only place I really could contain him would be in the front living room. :( However, today I tried sending him to his basket (bed) which is in the front room but still in sight of the kitchen and making him stay. He wasn't happy but he let the baby have her lunch without getting out! I gave him some treats in his basket when I was ready to let him come out. I'm going to continue doing that to see if it works. Bribery seems to work pretty good for him. :)

He has toys (including 2 kongs) already but he doesn't like to play alone so usually doesn't. I think that getting into a regular routine of a walk in the morning (weather dependent, I'm not taking the baby out if it's -20!!) will go a long ways towards solving his barking. I agree that a tired dog is a quiet, well-behaved dog. It's much harder to bark when you're sleeping. Ha ha.

Thanks for the suggestion for the class at Sit Happens. I worked with the original owner when I was at the Humane Society and had personal disagreements with her, so unfortunately it's not a facility that I would attend (even if it was a different trainer). But I will look to see if there are similar classes offered at different facilities in town. Even just to get him back into some agility (though he was sooooo slow, we both enjoyed it), it's something that would tire him out.

Do you have any suggestions on what books might help? There's so many that I have no idea which ones are good and which ones aren't worth reading even if they were free.

Thanks very much.... you're probably right that I do have most of what I need, I just need to DO IT.

Melissa

luckypenny
November 2nd, 2010, 05:59 AM
However, today I tried sending him to his basket (bed) which is in the front room but still in sight of the kitchen and making him stay. He wasn't happy but he let the baby have her lunch without getting out!

That's even better than a crate or using a baby gate, you're already ahead a few steps :thumbs up. I know it's time consuming at first but, baby in the high chair will soon become his cue to go to his place. Just remember to stay upbeat and positive...you're teaching him a new trick rather than banishing him from the room.

He has toys (including 2 kongs) already but he doesn't like to play alone so usually doesn't.

Can you feed him his breakfast and supper out of his Kongs while baby is eating? Or after baby finishes eating (can be his reward for waiting in his basket)? Bowls aren't necessary when there are Kongs to help keep dogs actively engaged.

I think that getting into a regular routine of a walk in the morning (weather dependent, I'm not taking the baby out if it's -20!!)

When I think back, I would have loved a dog to give me the incentive to leave the house for some fresh air and exercise when my kids were babies, especially on the nicer days. Do you have a yard? Does Cube play fetch? For the not so nice weather, a fifteen minute session goes as far as a one hour walk. Or you can hide toys/treats in the snow and watch him search and dig for them.

But I will look to see if there are similar classes offered at different facilities in town. Even just to get him back into some agility (though he was sooooo slow, we both enjoyed it), it's something that would tire him out.

Space permitting, you can set up games for him to play at your home as well. Once the snow is deep enough, you can get someone to help you make a large snow hill, tunnels, holes, etc. (shovels, broken tree branches make great weave poles :D) and teach Cube to run, jump, hide, dig, and so on. Just transfer all the techniques you learned from previous classes to your yard/park.

Do you have any suggestions on what books might help? There's so many that I have no idea which ones are good and which ones aren't worth reading even if they were free.

You mention you're already familiar with training with a clicker (or marker/reward based training). If you're the least bit like me (ie. forgetful :rolleyes:), I need to refresh my skills every now and then so my favorite book is Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller. http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB723 Another of my favorite books that is full of ideas is Play With Your Dog, also by Pat Miller. http://www.dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=DTB1011 Then there's Dogmantics' website...I can't recommend the videos enough. You'll find just about everything there. http://www.dogmantics.com/Dogmantics/Home.html

Thanks very much.... you're probably right that I do have most of what I need, I just need to DO IT.

I understand that for moms of young children, it's not always easy trying to stay consistently on a schedule. For those days that you find it especially hard, try to find ways to fit training and play as you go about your daily routine. In the book, Play With Your Dog, the games found there are super easy to get your dog to play while you're busy with other chores.

Good luck Melissa, and remember to have fun :goodvibes:.