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Help! I have 3 border collies. They are fantastic but I probably got them a little too close together. My biggest issue is with the youngest. She just turned 1 and she is quite....vocal. She barks at everything. Dogs barking on tv, people walking upstairs....pretty much any noise she hears. It's pretty annoying and I'm not sure how to handle it. Any suggestions?

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You can train this behavior out using a technique called "click to calm". I have used it with great success on reactive dogs, and barking is a reactive behavior. I am not going to write the whole thing down for you here, because it would take a long time, although the principle and the technique is very simple. There is a book called "Click to Calm" that you can get on Amazon or other places. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Get it, read it, use it. Your problems will be solved.

 

Another suggestion is to use the game "Look at that" from the book "Control Unleashed". I have a friend who had three very barky shelties and that game worked wonders for her. I haven't used it, myself, which is why I recommended the Click To Calm book first, but either would work. Just remember that timing of the click and treat is of paramount importance and you must be, as with all training, absolutely consistent.

Good luck.

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Good advice above. Also the way you react can really make a difference. If you dismiss the dog and keep telling her to be quiet it's not going to be very effective. But often she's barking because she's trying to tell you something, like a scared kid telling you that there are monsters in their closet. If you tell the kid to shut up and walk away, you won't have much luck. But if you play along, thank them for letting you know, and go check in the closet to prove it's safe, then the kid will stop freaking out. Do the same with your dog. Thank her, check it out (just a quick look is usually enough), and then leave it be. It's not a miracle solution but it definitely helps.

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I completely sympathize. My old boy was a barker in the beginning - barked at every person walking by our house, which is 6' from the sidewalk and on the route to the commuter train. Barked at every leaf blowing by our house. Barked at the bats in the north wall when they would shift position on warm winter days. FLY IN THE HOUSE!?!? EMERGENCY!!!

 

I did work on a protocol with him. I think it was from a Patricia McConnell book. Basically, it meant hanging around during the evening rush hour and get his attention EVERY TIME he barked, and then marking and treating when he got calm. It did work - had I been able to stay home all day, every day, and run the protocol, I think I could have made him not be a barker at all. As it was, it took the edge off. All day while I was at work, he could reinforce his old barking behavior, though. (My neighbor claims he didn't bark when I wasn't home. ??)

 

In later years, I started saying, "Good job, all gone" when Buddy barked at something. The goal was to let him know that I had taken note of the intruder (leaf) and he was done with the alert. It seemed to work pretty well.

 

(I watched my brother's birds several times while I had Buddy. The last time, Buddy decided he WOULD NOT TOLERATE the parrot being in the house with us. He literally barked nonstop for 24 hours. I could not stand it. The parrot had to go to foster care at my mother's house.)

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I have reduced Juno's barking using the 'Look At That' game suggested above. She still barks at squirrels outside our yard because she is too far down the yard for me to tell her to 'Look at the squirrel' Fortunately, her recall has been excellent lately so I just call her into the house to solve the problem. When we are on the street she doesn't bark at anything anymore as long as we use the 'Look At That' game. In the house, she barks at some things that go by on the street. If I go over to her and play the Look At That game we are okay but by the time I get there she has had a few good barks. I think I will cover the bottom of the window to deal with this. So overall, I have not stopped her barking (I wish), but I have most of it under control.

 

D'Elle - I don't know about the 'Click to Calm', but do you think this would be better than the Look At That game. The game has not extinguished the barking, only helped me to control it.

 

cheers

Bill

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Bill: Not who you were asking, but every dog responds differently to different methods. If Look At That isn't getting you what you're looking for then there's no harm in trying a new method (i.e. Click To Calm)

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I just ordered the Click to calm book last night. I have Controlled unleashed already. I hadn't thought of using look at that for the barking since it's so hard to predict when she's going to bark..... I will have to re-read that book and see how I can make that work. Right now we are just reacting to the barking.... It's so annoying .....even though I know that's not an effective way to deal with it. Thanks for the suggestions!

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I go with chene on this one. With my last dog, I used to verbally correct barking (you know, stop barking, it's nothing, just stop barking, hey, stop that now!). Wasn't working. At all. Then one day on a net forum someone asked about it and one answer talked about how you don't really want your dog to stop alerting to grizly bears. You very much apreciate when there's actually a grizly bear and your dog tells you. It went on to say how the dog is trying to tell us something and gets really frustrated when we pay no attention.

So I started to get up, investigate source of alert, thank dog profusely and assure her I was on grizly bear patrol. It made an amazing diference on my dog's attitude and drastically reduced barking.

Of course all dogs are different and some bark due to pure reactivity to this and that. But this worked for me. With Tess, my present dog, I've used it from day one and she's the quietest dog I've ever had. But alerts for grizly bears.

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Hello and Welcome from Mr Barky McBarkington Barkpants, Esq.

 

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My mother used to tell me weekly she was going to perform debarking surgery with a razor blade. I don't understand why she doesn't understand the need to protect our house from squirrels in the trees, the neighbors cat, that guy across the street who has the NERVE to roll his trash cans back to the house and of course all those dogs on TV who are threatening us.

 

Mom is well versed on the techniques described above, and thinks they are fabulous. However, since I am normally not terribly reactive but just like to bark at stuff, she instituted the "one warning and then behind the gate rule." I hate being put behind the gate.

 

She tells me "thank you, thats enough (and makes sure I hear her, she always notices my ears flick towards her)" and if I don't stop I spend 3 minutes behind the gate in the hallway.

 

The first few times I pouted and sighed heavily and whined a little so she would know my displeasure, but then I was resigned and now when I hear "thank you, thats enough" I know I better stop. And I do. OK, except maybe when there are cartoon dogs on TV because they are really weird and scary and I just can't deal.

 

Here's a sock. When I have one in my mouth I bark less. I think that's a much better idea than putting me behind the gate of I don't listen, but Mom is mean. Something about holes in her socks. Whatever. Seriously, so mean.

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LOL rushdoggie's advice works for my Miss Barkypants too who loves to alert to all those things all the time, and thinks being thanked about it means to keep on doing it, and louder.

 

I am curious about the Click to Calm though, I may check that out as well!

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Rushdoggie.................LOL!!!! I loved that post.

 

Yes, in answer to the question, I do think that Click To Calm can extinguish rather than control the behavior. At least, that is how it worked for me on foster dogs.

 

I also think that Rushdoggie's "behind the gate" is a good idea. Or, whatever would be the equivalent for your dog.

 

My dogs bark and I allow it to begin with because I live out in the country on a dead end road and I want to know if someone is coming. That means, however, that they also bark and things like the garbage truck. I tell them thank you each time and then I say "that'll do!" and they stop.

 

Well, except for Jester. He doesn't stop until he is good and ready to stop. And he barks at anything these days. He figures that ANY noise or unusual thing should immediately be greeted with large volume barking, just in case it might turn out to be a barkable event. I mean, you never know, and since he is mostly blind and doesn't hear so well these days, there are a lot of "just in case" events. I just let him bark. He eventually realizes that no one else is barking and he stops. Jester is well into his 15th year now and I tend not to mind much of anything he does any more. :rolleyes:

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