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Old April 17th, 2010, 05:27 PM
Veesmart Veesmart is offline
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Unhappy I need help with barking

I have posted previously about our 9 month old Chihuahua barking at dogs on the leash. This has gotten significantly better with increased walks and some more socialization.

However, now I'm struggling with a similar issue that seems to be escalating fairly quickly. I need help, and am starting to feel like I'm in over my head. I've never dealt with a "yappy" dog before, and nothing I'm trying seems to be working. I've been watching Ceasar Millan for as long as he's been airing in Canada. I'm familiar with his training techniques and agree with a lot of them....but I must be honest....I'm not Ceasar and therefore his approaches aren't working for me at the moment.

The problem is twofold:

1. Whenever anyone comes over to our apartment Phoebe will not go near them and will follow them around the house barking at them. She isn't interested in treats or food in general, so asking them to offer a treat or some encouraging words/actions doesn't work. She will "sit" or "down" when asked but goes right back to the barking when completed.

2. The apartment above us has been vacant for most of her puppyhood. A young couple just moved in yesterday and she has been beside her self with any noise that is made. Obviously, there has been a lot of traffic in the hall and on the fire escape and she turns into this yappy crazed dog whenever she even imagines a sound. Again, she's not interested in treats, and will respond to commands but it doesn't end the barking. Its possible that she will grow used to the apartment noise, but I'm having flash forward nightmares of her barking almost constantly every time someone comes/goes in the building.

With both of these problems this is what I have tried:

- Ignoring the behaviour - no change...it goes on and on and on

- Calling her name to get her attention (in the hopes of snapping her out of it) - she'll look over and come if called, but goes back to barking

- Asking her to sit, down, stand, etc - she will, but as soon as I stop she goes back to barking and it isn't an option to keep asking her to sit and lie down for 15 minutes while someone has just come over for a visit, etc

- Correcting her with a noise, two finger touch and calm assertive energy - absolutely no change in behaviour (other than an offended look from her)...again here's where I say again, I'm NO Ceasar.

- Asking the guest to offer a treat or opening the door to show her who/what is walking by - absolutely no change in behaviour

- Enticing her with her favourite ball and throwing it (she loves fetch) - she will run to the ball but instead of retrieving she will continue barking from where she is.

- Put her in a different room behind closed doors - Quiets her, but obviously this is not a solution because its not addressing the behaviour

What can I do? Is there any training that can be taken?

I'm starting to panic because I've known LOTS Chihuahua's who behave like this regularly. PLEASE PLEASE tell me some of you have had success in curbing this behaviour.
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Old April 19th, 2010, 02:45 PM
Veesmart Veesmart is offline
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Uh oh thats not a good sign. 2 days from the original post and no one wants to touch it. Am I doomed??
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Old April 19th, 2010, 03:08 PM
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Winston Winston is offline
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Veesmart I am sure its not the subject probably just folks are busy..

One thing comoes to mind that may be a pain in the %$# for you but may help is the umbilical cord training? The reason I think it may work is that you can give an immediate correction. Say like Cesar does with the finger snap?

If you get her quiet and then release her and she starts barking again can you try putting her back in say a sit or down ...wait...release her and then if she starts again back to the position? I know its like being back at square one buy maybe she just needs itty bitty tiny steps?

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Old April 19th, 2010, 03:14 PM
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MyBirdIsEvil MyBirdIsEvil is offline
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Have you taught her speak and no speak? You teach her to speak (which shouldn't be hard at all) and give her a treat for doing it (sounds counterproductive, doesn't it?). But then you teach her the no speak command and give her a treat for STOPPING The bark.

As far as interrupting with a noise, a finger snap usually isn't sufficient for something like that. And you really need to interrupt BEFORE she gets to barking continuously. When you see her wind up to bark (I'm sure you recognize this by now...), make a loud noise at her to get her attention and say "No!". This is where the "no speak" command can come in handy because she'll have a recognizable and clear command to respond to.

As far as her following people around barking, why is she being allowed to follow them? As with any bad behavior toward people she shouldn't be allowed to choose who to follow and where to go while she's doing the behavior.
The best bet here would be to put her in another room and do not let her out to greet anyone until she's not barking.
As to WHY she's doing this, I don't really have enough info to figure that out. She may be insecure, she may be dominant, she might just want attention from the new person, I dunno. You really do need to determine WHY she's doing it.

Watching Caesar isn't really going to give you many pointers on how to deal with your dog. He's right as far as the calm assertive stuff, and exercising your dog regularly and giving them mental stimulation, but he is also wrong or at least misleading as far as a lot of other tactics go. I honestly wouldn't take a lot of his advise because to an uninformed or inexperienced dog owner you are possibly going to bring your dog's behavior in the wrong direction. In fact if you use some of his advise on the wrong type of dog it could be dangerous.

Put her in a different room behind closed doors - Quiets her, but obviously this is not a solution because its not addressing the behaviour
If that quiets her it suggests you're going in the right direction. A lot of dogs will continue barking when put in another room, so you're already ahead of a lot of people.
Do not let her out until she's quiet. After she's quiet you can let her out and give a treat. AS SOON as she starts barking again, back into the room and not let out until the barking stops, at which point she can have another treat.
This is part of the reason you should start teaching the no speak command. You can say "no speak!" and lead her back into the room until she quiets down. No other correction is needed. Don't act mad or frustrated, just say "no speak!" and quietly and calmly lead her back into the room.

Whatever you do, DO NOT YELL to get a dog to stop barking. A lot of dogs perceive yelling as a reason to get louder or they think something is amiss which causes them to bark more. You don't need to yell, the dog can hear you just fine at a normal voice. Getting louder isn't going to have any better effect than speaking at the same level the whole time. If you need to get their attention, instead of yelling, try something like a loud whistle or a can of coins.
In fact you could also teach your dog not to bark by using something like a whistle. Blow the whistle and AS SOON as they stop barking throw them a treat and praise.

Remember that training is teaching GOOD BEHAVIOR not just deterring bad behavior. If the dog isn't being taught what they SHOULD do they won't know what they should NOT do.
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