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Erik Peterson

BC barks a lot

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Hi, this is my first post and I was hoping you could help me out. I have a 14-month old BC/lab mix and he is a wonderful dog that we rescued at 8 weeks old. For the most part, we have a good relationship and he is wonderful around people and other dogs. We did 12 weeks clicker training with him in obedience school and he is so smart when he is working. However, he always seems restless indoors (unless he's sleeping or chewing on a bone) during downtime.

 

The result is incessant barking. We have tried everything in short periods over the last 8 months since it became a problem--shooshing him, grabbing muzzle, talking gently to him--but nothing seems to stick. We sit down for dinner and he barks. We watch TV after hours at the dog park and he barks at us. If I hug my wife, he barks at us.

 

I'm frustrated, but I love the guy and want for him to be satsified, but also want him to know we are the pack leaders. We don't want to be too soft, yet we don't want to intimidate him so he lives in fear.

 

Any thoughts are appreciated.

Erik

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Have you tried crating him with a blanket on top for his 'down times'? (like for your dinner time?)

 

Correction doesn't always mean fear. A simple 'ah ah' is a correction, so long as your voices says you mean it.

 

Have him do a task when you hug your wife. Sit, down, stay, etc. Then hug your wife. If he starts to bark or get up or etc, correct w/ an 'ah ah' put him back, etc. If he can do it, do longer and longer hugs, treating him if he succeeds.

 

Consider it that you are 'training him' when it is appropriate to be quiet. Approach it just like you would other commands. When he is quiet, use 'good quiet' and treat him. Cuz if he's 'working' he's quiet right?

 

Hope that helps, and HOWDY neighbor across the river, WELCOME!!

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Hi Erik,

 

I have no help, we also have a BC mix (we think he's mixed with lab) though he's about a year old and we just rescued him about 10 days ago. He's a barker too, though not inside. He only barks inside if we've put him to bed and are in the living room watching tv, with the door open to his room. Once we shut the door he's fine!

 

Our problem is that if we're outside working in the yard, and he's outside on a tieout with us, he'll bark. Once he settles down and we go see what he wants, he ignores us. Apparently he wants us near him, but doesn't want to play or anything. He just wants us close. Unfortunately, he can't be *too* close depending on where in the yard we're working because he'll dig in the grass and we're trying to cure that.

 

The joys of dog ownership, eh?

 

Oh, and the hugging thing - Jacko doesn't bark, but he does come weasel his way into the middle of the hug!

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What we have used for Scout pestering visitors might work for barking? It is from Patricia McConnell. A firm pat on the top of the head, and a firm "Enough!" This offends Scout terribly and he leaves the room, but it stops the pestering. He is a very sensitive dog.

 

She also said that yelling at the dog to stop barking just encourages the dog because you are perceived to be barking back.

 

If its really bad, you might try putting the dog in a room where it can't see you and when it barks you shake a tin can taped shut with coins inside. You want the dog to associate barking with the awful sound, not you.

 

Good luck. The other suggestions sounded helpful, too.

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My new deaf puppy just loves to bark. He loves to make noise but he can't hear it. If he's not barking, he's clanging his dish or jumping on a squeaky old chair I have or throwing his hard toys against the side of his crate.

My problem is, I can't just say "Shush" or "Quit" I have to get physically close enough to poke him in the ribs with a finger to redirect his attention. He's still new and getting use to me so I'm trying to ignore the bad and never reward him for barking. I just disregard him and he is improving. I turn my back on him when he barks and then he runs around me to look at me and get a positive sign or a smile or a treat. Theres also the old squirt gun trick that works on cats but my dog might just enjoy that too much.

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Thank you for all the quick responses...I will have to try them all and see what works. Believe me, I've tried ignoring him and that works for about 10 minutes. It's not so bad if it's just me and the wife, but when guests come over and we're trying to talk...it really is a problem.

 

Hopefully something works!

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Something that has worked *really* well for us is 'You win the PRIZE!!!' (we are also click training and try to keep it as positive as possible) When Hoku does something bad repetitively (example: lunging at the glass door after 'Evil Dr. Squirrel')we take his collar and in the happyhappyest voice we can muster (given that we are annoyed) tell him 'YOU WON!!! Congratulations!!!! You just won the prize!!!!' The 'Prize' is getting zipped into the bathroom (or crate, or where ever) and alone for a couple of minutes. When you let him out, just don't make a big deal, no praise, no bad vibes, just neutral. You do it *every time* your pup does the bad thing (this is important, hard, but important) It usually take Hoku winning 2 or three prizes (in a row) and the behavior stops. Somethings take a few prize cycles, but it has worked very well for us. Now we can just say 'There is a prize involved" and he stops. The beauty of this is that you are not yelling at them, the dog is not being 'punished', they just realize that they really don't want to win that prize, and stop the behavior. It's great with a clicker dog, 'coz you have taught them to think things through. The funny thing is that when we first started this (I think it was for the squirrel lunging), at his third 'prize winning' he looked at me and ducked away. I thought, oh-oh he's on to me and I'll never catch him. Well, he just ran into the bathroom, like, Yeah, Yeah, I know. I just about lost it! Give it a try, I hope it works for you like it has for us.

 

Kristin and Hoku

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Our Briar was a constant "I'm bored" barker. (She can go 24/7 if you let her) A soda can full of pennies did the trick. Shake the can (gets their attention) and say "No Bark or Enough" within 2 days all we had to do was pick up the can. Now saying "Enough" works great.

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I keep a shake can on the table as well. Scout won't go near the table with it there. He will do anything to avoid the shake can, and it has only been used about 5 times, usually with a door in between. We tied one to an overtoasted bagel he stole from the table, so the shake can "chases" him for stealing. It seems mean because he is so afraid of it, but used sparingly, it works miracles.

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Thanks for your post Erik, Meg's been doing this since we had to restrict her activity after her spay.

 

Thanks everyone. I can hardly wait to try these suggestions.

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Oh my God!

I can just hear it now with 5 dogs. "Contestant number three, YOU'VE JUST WON A PRIZE. yeahhh!!!" Our neighbors probably already think we are strange without this!

 

muddy

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Mattie has a "I'm bored, play with me" bark, as well as a "You better give me the bone/toy that you are chewing on" bark. She is only 8 or 9 months old, so the bark is still pretty high pitched. My three labs, which is what I have always raised, usually gave into her just to make her stop barking and go away, until I realized what she was doing to them and what they were doing. Now, I have to redirect her puppy energy. I either have to find Mattie her own toy, or find Mattie her own bone, or I need to run around the yard with her, or if all else fails she has to sit in puppy time-out...afterall she isn't going to get her way all the time!!!

 

Thankfully, around 10pm she has worn herself out for the day!!! And, a few weeks ago, she FINALLY started sleeping through the night!!!!

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