I'm going to lose it - Barking Dog - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-12-2009, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am the proud mommy of an alert barker. His name is Loki, and he's an almost 2 year old American Eskimo.

Someone slam a car door nearby? He'll let you know. Someone walk a dog near the house? He's on top of it. The weather is nicer and everyone is out walking their dogs in our neighborhood. Kids walking home from either of the two bus stops that are on opposite corners of our house (7:20 a.m., 8:40 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:40 p.m.)? How dare they!!

Full on arr-raar-raar-roo type barking at the top of his lungs. Nonstop until the perceived danger has passed. Of course he does it during prime napping time without fail. My poor 10 month old babe never gets a bark-free nap.

He's smart. He's trainable, but we can't seem to train him out of this. He knows quiet. He knows speak. He graduated from intermediate class at Petsmart. He just isn't very treat motivated and would often rather bark than get a treat. It's also hard to have treats on hand all the time as my wee babe still takes all her naps while laying on me. Neck tapping doesn't seem to do anything. We don't ground our dogs.

Any advice? Commiseration? Thanks for letting me vent...

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Old 11-13-2009, 03:29 PM
 
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Is there any way you can limit his view of the outside? The only place our dog can see the front yard (where most of the exciting things happen in our neighborhood) is through the front door. He's not allowed on the furniture, so he can't see out any wondows. If he was barking at anything and everything outside, I think I'd hang a towel or a curtain over the window in the door - at least during naptime.

IF you ever come upon a time when he sees something outside and doesn't bark, praise the heck out ofhim. We say "Good QUIET puppy!", and he seems to get that NOT barking at pedestrians is what we want. He also will NOT bark at the paperboy at 5 am - though sometimes I hear him growl of gently woof at the top of the stairs - he knows he's on duty to guard the house, but he doesn't have to wake us up to do it. It's possible that your dog simply believes that a warning is what you want most, and if you could convince his smart brain that you don't need to know about every little thing, he might stop.

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Old 11-13-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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First, a question-- What do you mean by not "grounding" your dog?

I've got two shelties, both who bark at ouside noises, or the neighbors walking by, or the perception that my husband might be home soon. So I get the frustration. For in the house barking, I find that keeping the offending dog leashed and tied to me helps. I can correct the barking instantly, and am right there to read signals that a bark is coming.

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Old 11-13-2009, 07:43 PM
 
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When you need peace and quiet I recommend a citronella bark collar. They are pain free and work really well for most dogs.

Over the years I have successfully trained my dogs to stop barking on command (vocal corrections with strict enforcement, not with treats) but when I am not home, they will go nuts without their collars on.

And you probably know this, but the more exercise and stimulation you can give him, the calmer he will be during the day.
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Old 11-16-2009, 01:34 AM
 
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One of my golden's is a barker, and I have to be very honest and say that it's driving me up a wall. On the one hand, no one is ever going to get close to this house w/out me knowing it, and there is a lot of safety in that for me. But the incessant barking is making me feel beyond annoyed, and frankly, isolated, because it's frigteningly aggressive to friends, etc. who come to the house. Most goldne's are very trainable in this regard, but my guy is not one of them (his sister has been very successfully trained, btw).

I am going to try the coller mentioned above because I need to address this-there's more strain in our relationship than is good due to this barking.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Red Pajama View Post
First, a question-- What do you mean by not "grounding" your dog? .
The practice of rolling and pinning the dog down with belly exposed to show that you are the alpha dog. It's what the trainer at Petsmart said to do when neck taps don't work with a barking dog.

I know lots and lots of people will swear by grounding, but it isn't a solution for our family

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Old 11-17-2009, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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And you probably know this, but the more exercise and stimulation you can give him, the calmer he will be during the day.
I'm sure that is part of the problem. Doggie exercise and stimulation is something my husband usually takes care of as I am usually taking care of the baby.

Maybe it's my husband I need to whip into shape, not my pup

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Old 11-18-2009, 12:07 PM
 
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I'm also looking into a citronella bark collar. I knew when I got this breed barking might be an issue and I've tried everything to work on it.

Exercise helps keep his barking down in the house, simply because he's asleep. But we also have the problem of barking at people while we are on walks which is really annoying. And even in the house after tons of exercise, he will still bark at the smallest noises. We live in an apartment and sometimes he'll walk around and growl/bark at the floor because he can hear the family downstairs.

I have a good friend that uses the collars and I've seen them in action. I feel it will be a good solution for us all.

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Old 11-21-2009, 07:02 PM
 
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It sounds like he's barking out of insecurity. The person in charge of protecting the home is falling down the job and he has assumed the position. Problem is, he's not very good at it and doesn't have the confidence to do it "properly".

I would start over in the training department and look at things more from an alpha/nilif point of view to help him feel at ease in the house. If he understands that you are in charge he will feel less likely to assert himself. Alpha training, just in case you're not really aware of it, is just a way of living with dogs that uses subtle and body language to reinforce your role in the house hold. It's not necessarily "pack" oriented, because it can work for a single person living with one dog, but it takes the philosophy that dogs communicate via body language and teaches us how to "speak" dog. You don't need treats or fancy equipment. It's more of a life style than anything.

Having said that, not all nervous/neurotic barkers can be "cured". Dramatically reduced, yes. But not necessarily stopped all together. I chose to use an electric bark collar on my nervous barker after first trying a citronella collar (which he figured out how to empty, thus being able to continue barking).

The reason I use an electric collar over a permanent solution, like debarking (which some will argue is more human since it is a simple relatively safe procedure) is because I want to actually interrupt the barking process. Dogs don't bark to hear the sound of their voice. They're barking to send a message. Nervous dog sees someone walking down the street, gets freaked out because NOBODY IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT and barks to send a message to the intruder and to his back up. Calling in the back up, so to speak, is a huge trigger for adrenalin which can make the dog MORE nervous, thus triggering a response next time he sees someone walking down the street. And since dogs learn by association and repetition, it doesn't take many of these otherwise innocuous incidents to render your dog responsive to the next one.

So, the best thing to do is to disrupt the pattern. If tying him to your belt loop and correcting him ever single time he barks works, great. It doesn't for me. That's why I opted for the electric collar. It took ONE correction for him to learn not to bark with it on. Now instead of pacing the yard, or running from window to window, or twirling in cirlces barking, he sits and wags his tail. The whole PROCESS is interrupted. If he can't alert the troops, then he's not getting worked up about it. He is a different dog with it on.

That's not to say that being mindful of how you treat your dog or further training isn't important. But for some dogs it absolutely can be a life safer. And I wouldn't recommend it as a first course of action, but I don't want people to think it's the cruelest-thing-in-the-world either. Because it's not. Life long incessant barking is hard on the dog, hard on the owners, hard on the neighbors, and even hard on fellow dogs. It's stressful. And if you have a yard you're open to people throwing things into it to rid the neighborhood of a nuisance barker (and yes, I've seen it happen many times!).

And my dog knows when the collar is on and when it isn't. And we don't even use it all the time. We go through periods where is very good (usually because of consistency on our part), but when we moved and things were a bit hectic and he got silly again, we started using it more. Now we're settled in and he hasn't worn it in a month.

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Old 11-22-2009, 12:27 AM
 
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Are you sure he is getting enough exercise? It sounds like he might have some excess energy there that needs to be burned off.

What I would do is keep him occupied in an area where he cant see outside and with a great yummy bone, game, toy, etc when you cant supervise, and then when you can, everytime he starts to alert bark...tell him "quiet" (as you said he already know this) and reward. If he isnt going for treats, use something else as a reward. Have a game of tug or fetch, extra cuddles, etc.

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