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-   -   Not to beat a dead horse, but... BARKING! (http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=55237)

SolaMio August 7th, 2008 06:40 PM

Not to beat a dead horse, but... BARKING!
 
I know this is probably the most common behavioural 'issue' people have with their dogs, but here goes.

Sola has started to drive us a bit foolish with the barking. I used to think it was pent up energy, but she's also barking even after a long (5 km) walk. She doesn't need food, water or to go out (though she barks the same way when she DOES need to go out, so it's hard to distinguish, except to say 'outside?' to which she goes to the door). She gets lots of attention and pats. I don't like that she is barking AT DH and I. We just can't figure out the WHY. It seems like she wants something but we don't know what the heck it is :shrug: I'm sure she finds it enjoyable, but we alas do not :laughing:

I do NOT want to do the shock collar (please don't pounce on me for bringing it up, I am pointing out that I do NOT want to use it even though numerous people have suggested it to me). However, someone else mentioned the citronella collar. I know it doesn't hurt the dog per se- but it's still negative reinforcement. We do use a lot of positive- but kind of hard to praise the dog every time she's not barking. Though, we do praise and reward her for being 'good' (calm and nice in the house).

I'm not sure what else I can give as background- she could be bored I suppose, but has toys and chews to play with... And we don't let her 'get away with' bad behaviours (jumping up for example, which I am SO trying to cure, but she is excitable and persistent). She also doesn't have full reign of the house (just one area at a time).

Any ideas? Sola has a pretty loud bark which I'm worried might start to bug our neighbors if they can hear it... And it's driving us foolish :frustrated:

Chaser August 7th, 2008 06:45 PM

Have you tried shaking a penny can to interrupt her as she barks? I know some people who have had success with that....didn't work for Kailey though. She couldn't care less, and once even picked it up off the coffee table and shook it herself! :laughing: But it can't hurt to try and find out!

aslan August 7th, 2008 06:48 PM

I was running into the same problem with Bishop, i gently close his muzzle and tell him no quite firmly. He seems to be getting the idea. Lol, now if the neighbours would let me jump the fence and do it to their dog we'd be happening.

SolaMio August 7th, 2008 06:51 PM

[QUOTE=aslan;636881]I was running into the same problem with Bishop, i gently close his muzzle and tell him no quite firmly. He seems to be getting the idea. Lol, now if the neighbours would let me jump the fence and do it to their dog we'd be happening.[/QUOTE]

Oh yes, I should have included that in my first post. When she has this out-of-control barking fit, and I *know* it's not for a legit reason (needing to pee etc.), we do exactly that: hold her muzzle gently and say 'NO' or 'NO BARK' very sternly. This is what our trainer told us to do (she also said to tap under her chin to make her teeth click but I didn't like that much...)

SolaMio August 7th, 2008 06:53 PM

[QUOTE=Chase_Mom;636878]Have you tried shaking a penny can to interrupt her as she barks? I know some people who have had success with that....didn't work for Kailey though. She couldn't care less, and once even picked it up off the coffee table and shook it herself! :laughing: But it can't hurt to try and find out![/QUOTE]

I haven't tried the penny can, maybe that could work. She's pretty headstrong, I'm willing to bet she would get 'immune' :laughing:
Thanks Chase_Mom :D

aslan August 7th, 2008 06:58 PM

you could try a whistle( high pitched), might distract her.

SolaMio August 7th, 2008 07:01 PM

[QUOTE=aslan;636892]you could try a whistle( high pitched), might distract her.[/QUOTE]

Thanks aslan! Oh dear we've tried that too. We have a dog whistle. Sometimes it does work, but not consistently or for long....
She's a highstrung doggie, she just needs to [I]relax[/I]. Maybe I should take her out for a pint and dancing :laughing:

aslan August 7th, 2008 07:03 PM

can i send my neighbours dog taz, he would make a handsome date for sola

Frenchy August 7th, 2008 07:54 PM

And I will send you Chloe !!!! :dog:

bark I'm happy bark I'm hungry bark I wanna play bark please pet me bark where are you mom bark bark bark :laughing:

SolaMio August 7th, 2008 08:19 PM

Well I'm sorry to say that Sola's heart belongs to the golden whatchamacalit next door :laughing:
And the sad part is, he doesn't give her the time of day. I've tried to lecture her on seeming too eager, it makes her seem desperate :D
(Though, she definitely had a thing for a rather portly pug she met in the park today... No accounting for taste :laughing:)

aslan August 7th, 2008 08:29 PM

tell me about it my large golden is totally smitten with an american bull terrier. Wouldn''t those be odd looking pups.

sugarcatmom August 7th, 2008 08:39 PM

You might want to try teaching Sola to bark on command. Sounds counterproductive, I know, but once a dog learns to bark when you say so, it then becomes possible to teach the "shush" command. Here's a good description of the process: [url]http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/excessive-barking[/url]

BusterBoo August 7th, 2008 09:09 PM

Just my :2cents: worth....

Buster was a barker and I ended up getting the citronella collar for him. I used a total of 4-5 times and that ended the barking! Now if Buster barks for no apparent reason (which hasn't happened in months...) all I need to say is "do you want your bark collar" and he stops. However, Buster does still bark when people come to the door, when he is overly excited and such..... and he is not reprimanded for that.....afterall, he is a dog and they need to "voice" their opinion.... :D

I know that isn't the proper way to teach a dog, but for me, it worked.

Chaser August 7th, 2008 10:26 PM

[QUOTE=SolaMio;636887]hold her muzzle gently and say 'NO' or 'NO BARK' very sternly. [/QUOTE]

I've started doing that with Chase now that he's learned excessive barking from Kailey.....but he continues to bark with my hand around his muzzle! :frustrated: I feel like this one SHOULD work, but it sure hasn't for him...he's become a complete last-word freak!

[B]Sola[/B] - if you find a solution, please let me know!!!

SolaMio August 8th, 2008 04:12 AM

Thanks everyone.. I tried the pennies in a can last night, and she stopped! Now, time will tell if it will be a deterrent or not long-term, but we'll see. I'm relieved I'm not the only one with the problem :laughing:

allymack August 8th, 2008 06:35 AM

With the pennies in a can , make sure you put a voice command on it too. Shake the can then say "Quiet", use something other than "no" or "no bark" since oyu have already used those and now they have no meaning to her! good luck!:dog:

Lissa August 8th, 2008 07:48 AM

[QUOTE=SolaMio;636889]maybe that could work. She's pretty headstrong, I'm willing to bet she would get 'immune' :laughing:[/QUOTE]

That is the problem with positive punishment - particularly with "headstrong" dogs - because barking is SO self-rewarding, most punishment is worth putting up with or figuring out how to avoid... For example, you've got the can so she barks in the other room or when she knows you don't have it (maybe at bedtime or while you're showering). With regards to the citronella collar, its not something I like - aside from potential equipment failure my friend's not so bright Lab figured out how to get the spray part on the back of his neck so it wasn't spraying his face:laughing:
Relying on keeping her mouth shut with your hands isn't getting you anywhere (unless you are simultaneously teaching a "quiet" command and fading the physical cue NOW). Once again it requires close proximity and could ultimately result in a dog who barks away from you, eludes you or even becomes headshy (and I am not saying out of fear, just out of avoidance or in anticipation of her mouth being held shut).

Boredom tends to be the most common reason dogs bark - dogs need both physical and mental stimulation - a 5km walk is wonderful (assuming its a daily occurence and not just an occasional walk should mean that most of her physical needs are met but given her breed, its possible she needs more LOL) She also needs mental stimulation in the form of training, interactive toys and find it games.

Assuming that its not boredom, I would suggest that the first thing you change is her barking to go out. Instead teach her to go silently to the door or ring a bell etc... Some dogs need things to be black and white (ie:no barking period unless its a genuine alert bark) but also, since you are having trouble distinguishing a potty bark from a boredom/attention seeking bark, you need to eliminate that confusion (so you aren't rewarding her even more by reacting to the barking and letting her out when she doesn't really need to go).
You also need to start anticipating her - if she gets up, roams around and then starts barking - you need to stop her as she is getting up - not wait until she is already self-rewarding. I guarantee she is giving off signs before she gets to the point of barking - you just need to recognize them and redirect her.
Teaching her to bark on command, like someone else suggested is also a good idea if you do it right (and teach her that unless you ask for a bark, then she doesn't offer it on her own)...
Something else I would do is build value for a mat or bed and each time she is about to start barking you send her over to her place and reward. Release and possibly run through a few other behaviours and send her back etc....
A good command to teach is a "touch" (ie: target my hand) because it gives your dog a rewardable behaviour and it redirects her towards you.

All of my dogs have an "enough" command which means stop what you are doing NOW; they also have a "go lie down" command which means get comfortable wherever you want and don't be a bug (it isn't a stay, they are free to move farther away but they are not free to come back and be a bug in my space). When they alert bark, I acknowledge and if necessary ask them to stop - but most often, the acknowledgement itself is the cue that I can handle things now. I have never had a barking problem (and I've owned dogs that LIKE the sound of their voice):laughing:

SolaMio August 8th, 2008 02:38 PM

[QUOTE=Lissa;637123]That is the problem with positive punishment - particularly with "headstrong" dogs - because barking is SO self-rewarding, most punishment is worth putting up with or figuring out how to avoid... For example, you've got the can so she barks in the other room or when she knows you don't have it (maybe at bedtime or while you're showering). With regards to the citronella collar, its not something I like - aside from potential equipment failure my friend's not so bright Lab figured out how to get the spray part on the back of his neck so it wasn't spraying his face:laughing:
Relying on keeping her mouth shut with your hands isn't getting you anywhere (unless you are simultaneously teaching a "quiet" command and fading the physical cue NOW). Once again it requires close proximity and could ultimately result in a dog who barks away from you, eludes you or even becomes headshy (and I am not saying out of fear, just out of avoidance or in anticipation of her mouth being held shut).

Boredom tends to be the most common reason dogs bark - dogs need both physical and mental stimulation - a 5km walk is wonderful (assuming its a daily occurence and not just an occasional walk should mean that most of her physical needs are met but given her breed, its possible she needs more LOL) She also needs mental stimulation in the form of training, interactive toys and find it games.

Assuming that its not boredom, I would suggest that the first thing you change is her barking to go out. Instead teach her to go silently to the door or ring a bell etc... Some dogs need things to be black and white (ie:no barking period unless its a genuine alert bark) but also, since you are having trouble distinguishing a potty bark from a boredom/attention seeking bark, you need to eliminate that confusion (so you aren't rewarding her even more by reacting to the barking and letting her out when she doesn't really need to go).
You also need to start anticipating her - if she gets up, roams around and then starts barking - you need to stop her as she is getting up - not wait until she is already self-rewarding. I guarantee she is giving off signs before she gets to the point of barking - you just need to recognize them and redirect her.
Teaching her to bark on command, like someone else suggested is also a good idea if you do it right (and teach her that unless you ask for a bark, then she doesn't offer it on her own)...
Something else I would do is build value for a mat or bed and each time she is about to start barking you send her over to her place and reward. Release and possibly run through a few other behaviours and send her back etc....
A good command to teach is a "touch" (ie: target my hand) because it gives your dog a rewardable behaviour and it redirects her towards you.

All of my dogs have an "enough" command which means stop what you are doing NOW; they also have a "go lie down" command which means get comfortable wherever you want and don't be a bug (it isn't a stay, they are free to move farther away but they are not free to come back and be a bug in my space). When they alert bark, I acknowledge and if necessary ask them to stop - but most often, the acknowledgement itself is the cue that I can handle things now. I have never had a barking problem (and I've owned dogs that LIKE the sound of their voice):laughing:[/QUOTE]

Thanks Lissa, that's all useful info for me.. I think it might have to do with boredom, although she does have a lot to do such as interactive toys (kong, squeakies, stuffies, stuffed bones, pizzle sticks, etc.- one at a time for the most part). And yes, the 5 km walk is a regular thing, every day or another activity if the weather is too awful. She also socializes with other doggies at the park on weekdays when they meet, and she has dog friends who all play together on the weekend mornings (which is as much or more fun for the owners I think :laughing:). She is of course better when she's tired out. I am hoping to get her into skijoring this winter, and into flyball. I have to look into flyball as she isn't yet 18 months and I don't want to damage her joints by having her jump too high. Anyway I suppose that is :offtopic: :D
But you are right, distinguishing the bored vs out barks is important. Someone I work with suggested a bell on the door, I may try that. I certainly don't want her to think I want her to eliminate indoors :yuck:
I do want to teach her the 'go lie down' command- my FIL does it with his shih-tzu and it works. I just have to figure out how to do it :)

BenMax August 12th, 2008 03:14 PM

Does Sola bark or does she cry like huskies? There is a difference between the two. I am asking because I noticed you have that she is a mixed malamute. I know I sound strange asking but I do have a possible reason if it a cry.

SolaMio August 12th, 2008 06:39 PM

[QUOTE=BenMax;639331]Does Sola bark or does she cry like huskies? There is a difference between the two. I am asking because I noticed you have that she is a mixed malamute. I know I sound strange asking but I do have a possible reason if it a cry.[/QUOTE]

Lucky me, she does BOTH :laughing:
There is no mistaking the bark, though. It is LOUD and deep, and sometimes pretty ear-piercing (thanks to her gigantic lab dad- mom was a mal) Her cry is just sort of sad and makes you want to hug her :lovestruck:
I watched a few videos on youtube to see what the mal cry sounds like, and she doesn't sound exactly like it, but pretty close. It's kind of funny. :o


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