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Old August 8th, 2008, 02:38 PM
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SolaMio SolaMio is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dog-lovin' Cape Breton, NS
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Originally Posted by Lissa View Post
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
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)
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 ). 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
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
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
J'embrasse mon chien sur la bouche!

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." -Unknown

Mom to:
Sola: 18 month old black lab/malamute
Luna: 2 year old Siberian Husky (rescue)
Millie: 2.5 year old tabby (rescue)
Layla: ?? year old calico (rescue)

Former mom to (RIP):
Nicole: Maine Coon cat 1985-1999
Poncho: Degu
Bibi: Degu
Josette: St. Bernard, childhood pet

Last edited by SolaMio; August 8th, 2008 at 02:39 PM. Reason: grammatical error
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