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Borders reaction during human intimacy is ...well... distracting

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We have two Borders, Shadow who is 12, and Dustie who is 8. This issues seems to be getting worse as they age and it has two aspects to it.

The first one is their reaction when I leave for work. The last thing I do before I walk out the door is give my wife a hug and a little kiss, which sends Shadow into a barking frenzy, and Dustie sometime joins in, sometimes doesn't. We have tried getting them used to this routine by doing it at various times during the day, but they NEVER bark except when I am really leaving for work. Any time they don't bark (which is in the 2% with Shadow..) they get a treat with praise for "No bark"
The other aspect is their reaction during times of intimacy between my wife and I.....they go full on bonkers! Pacing around the bed, barking like crazy! We have tried putting them out of the room....bark bark bark at the door, putting them downstairs....bark bark bark at the basement door, increasing our activity :rolleyes: with no improvement.... Anybody else run into this issue or have some recommendations?? I mean, I don't want to have to go get a motel room to have peace and quiet with my wife.

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  "they NEVER bark except when I am really leaving for work."

If the remark above still infers spousal affection coupled with departure, try decoupling the affection from the departure.  Express your love & well wishes for the day to your wife a bit earlier.  Upon departure, have everything in readiness and just leave succinctly without fanfare.

Regarding the latter situation.  One thought that comes to mind is whether who the initiator is makes any difference?

Although the behavior did not manifest in the specific manner you describe, my Aussie clearly thought its role in life included intervening in perceived disputes.  Other dogs, people, even politicians in televised debates - the Aussie was very sensitive to body language and tone.  My present BC is not as much of an interventionist, but still exhibits similar behavior.

If the dogs are primarily w/ your wife, perhaps they are being protective of her.  If she initiates and takes the lead, maybe they behave differently ?

An alternate scenario is one where it happens that it is mainly YOU who plays with, grooms and otherwise interacts w/ the dogs.  In such a situation, focusing your attention on your wife could stimulate jealousy in the pups, prompting "Hey, now.  Look here.  What about us." reactions aimed at drawing your attention away from your wife.

Whatever the case, your description suggests that Shadow is the one taking issue, while Dustie is more likely being triggered by Shadow's behavior, rather than that of you and your spouse.  If this is correct, then solving Shadow's problem with your intimacy is where I think your focus should be.  It would be interesting to have Shadow visit a relative for a day to see how Dustie perceives matters without undue influence.

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Have you had these problems for 12 and 8 years, respectively? If not, how long has it been going on?

Put the dogs outside when you are about to leave. Preferably give them a stuffed kong each or something like that which may distract them. Your wife can bring them in as soon as you are gone.

You say they never bark except when you are leaving, but then you say they bark when you are intimate with your wife, so that's a little confusing.

I had the same problem one time with a dog barking when I was intimate with a partner. I put the dog out of the room and ignored the barking. Eventually the dog gve up and stopped barking, but it took a while. You could put them outside and ignore the barking. But wherever they are, you will have to ignore it. It should extinguish eventually although will take longer than you want it to. But if this problem has been going on for years and years, then I don't know of a solution to it.




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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the responses , I'll try to clarify and answer some of the questions...

 These issues have been going on about 2 years-ish, maybe a little longer.

mseaver -  When I leave for work my routine is... get my coat, if needed (we live in Michigan) then find my wife  to give her a small hug and kiss and sometimes I use the phase, "Gotta go" . As soon as I get the coat on, Shadow, the older BC starts to get 'on guard' and will begin following me. Dustie will sometimes get up from her lounging spot on the couch to see what the impending excitement is....sometimes not. Like I said, we have tried doing this routine at other times during the day, but they both do absolutely nothing. I have tried having Shadow sit by my side and I pet her with one hand while I hug my wife with the other and give my wife a kiss....no change. We even tried putting them in another room with the door closed if they started barking and ignored the  "no bark" command and would make them stay there until they stopped..no change...

My wife and I both work, so they really spend no more time with her than with me, and we share feeding and grooming routines fairly evenly. As far as the issue with intimacy goes, it does not matter who the initiator is. Your comment "Although the behavior did not manifest in the specific manner you describe, my Aussie clearly thought its role in life included intervening in perceived disputes.." caught my eye as I have also wondered if they perceive our actions as aggression... I'll approach the idea of  having Shadow visit a family member to see how Dustie responds without Shadow's influence... :D

D'elle - When I said  "they never bark except for when I am really leaving for work" , I was referring to  our attempts to replicate their response to me leaving at different times of the day. They only bark when when this routine is the real deal,  i.e. when I am really leaving for work. To put them outside when I leave feels like that would be skirting the issue rather than trying to get to the source of their response and resolve it.

Hope that clears things up a little...thanks for ideas

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7 hours ago, B-and-B said:

To put them outside when I leave feels like that would be skirting the issue rather than trying to get to the source of their response and resolve it.

If this were a problem I was having with my dog I would just put the dog out or in another room before I left the house. That is such a simple routine that there's really no reason to go to all the trouble and time it would take to resolve the issue by training the dog not to behave the way you don't want.  Or, don't kiss your wife goodbye. Kiss her earlier, or do without.

Just avoiding the problem, when it is a simple and easy fix, is not lazy or being a bad dog owner. It's doing the sensible thing. Always, whether it's dogs or human beings, it is wise to choose your battles and if there's an easy way to skirt the issue, and it won't negatively impact the relationship in some other way, why do otherwise? It's like putting the garbage can where the dog can't reach it if he likes to tip it over. Do the simple thing to solve a simple problem.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, good news on  one front. We just went a full week with no barking when doing our 'Goodbye' ritual in the morning. We would tell them 'no bark' hug and kiss and when they didn't bark they would get a treat, the treat is actually supplements my wife gives them. So that problem is on the road to resolve! the other one...meh, not so much, We put them outside the room during intimacy, Shadow, the older BC will bark from the living room, the younger Dustie barks once or twice, then stops. Slow but sure... we making headway. Just thought I would share :D

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