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Nearing 8 months now...barking question


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Hi everyone. Our puppy Katie will be 8 months this week, in the teenage stage I guess. A bit of rebellious behaviour sometimes but generally pretty good.

 

one issue is she is becoming quite the barker. She defends the perimeter of our yard I guess in her mind. We do have fully fenced. I don’t know if I am handling it properly, so any suggestions. We live on a dead end street in a tiny village with maybe 10 houses on it, so wouldn’t think there would be much foot traffic, but there are a couple senior buildings through a sort of walkway that get a lot of foot traffic. And that is what she barks at. There are a couple of the seniors who walk a lot and pass by multiple times everyday and she mostly doesn’t worry about them anymore, otherwise she barks at people walking especially with dogs, bikes, loose dogs (one annoying family a couple houses down has their dogs running loose with no regard for their safety!), people by the river across the street where there is a picnic table, things like that. She doesn’t care about vehicles, doesn’t bark at cars. So when she takes off barking and running the fence line, I usually peek what she is barking at, then call her over “that’ll do” and reward. If it is something I know she will be back barking at, I will ask her to stay until I feel the main excitement is over (for example one old gentleman with a walker gets her very excited and he takes a good minute to pass by our fence). This part doesn’t always work. I can kind of tell by her body language if it is a more casual bark or something she is feeling more intensely about. I just feel maybe I am rewarding her for barking? She will sometimes run over and start barking at someone passing and then look over at me, like as though she is doing it for a reward? It has worked as far that she is very good about coming over when I call her, she is not leashed in the yard and does always come, but doesn’t seem to be cutting down on the amount of times she gets going. Is there something else I could be doing?

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I think you are handling this OK. You are not rewarding her for barking, from the sounds of it, but for stopping the barking and coming to you. 

Don't leave her outside alone so she cannot get any gratuitous barking in. Always be with her when she is outside and if she stops barking and looks at you, give her whatever you are using to mark good behavior ( a click, or YES, or Good!), call her to you and praise her and give a treat. I don't think she is barking in order to get the treat, from what you say it sounds as if she is learning that if she stops barking and looks at you instead, she gets treated, and that is exactly what you want.

While she is sitting in a stay next to you instead of running to the fence to bark, keep giving her treat after treat (tiny little pieces) and saying what a good dog she is, to reinforce that sitting quietly is a rewarding thing to do.

The thing is with a dog who wants to bark at things, the goad is never to try to train the dog not to bark at all. That would be trying to go counter to the natural instinct of the dog and wouldn't be fair, or likely to be successful. If you can get her to the point that she stops when you say "that'll do" and comes to you, you have done well. 

 

 

 

 

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It's tough to answer this with out knowing how much physical and mental exersize she is getting. 

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Rosalee,

 I read it as you are doing exactly what you thought , treating and interacting with the dog because it is barking.

Until my dog is 2 years old and sets into who she is i have to manage what she sees and interacts with. If i allowed her to watch the world go by on the balcony i couldn't imagine the amount of consequences it would bring. Being as we are an off leash team it is important to know how she is being affected by the world . Sometimes we have to protect the dogs from themselves until they are mature enough to know better.  

Keeping them by your side until they develop in my mind is better than giving them the freedom to create more problems.

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18 hours ago, Rosalee said:

Ok, thanks! That is pretty much what I have been trying. I just wanted to make sure she didn’t start thinking I was rewarding the bark. 

You are on the right track. These things take time, but I have seen this method work wonderfully, and I bet it will for you as well. Just keep at it and please let us know how it is going.

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11 hours ago, Nuance said:

Rosalee,

 I read it as you are doing exactly what you thought , treating and interacting with the dog because it is barking.

Until my dog is 2 years old and sets into who she is i have to manage what she sees and interacts with. If i allowed her to watch the world go by on the balcony i couldn't imagine the amount of consequences it would bring. Being as we are an off leash team it is important to know how she is being affected by the world . Sometimes we have to protect the dogs from themselves until they are mature enough to know better.  

Keeping them by your side until they develop in my mind is better than giving them the freedom to create more problems.

She is not rewarding the barking. This is a specific protocol, which is well known and works well in this kind of situation, although it is not understood by someone who has never used it or doesn't understand how it works.

Simply keeping a dog away from anything to which the dog might react is not going to teach the dog how to properly react when he does see those things.  A dog should be exposed to the world, and trained gently and consistently in the best ways to manage and to interact with the environment, with surprises and noises, with distractions, and with unusual things.  

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Google maps .Burrard inlet Vancouver

My dog deals with . Trains (breaking and shunting ) Boats (horns and anchors booming) planes, helicopters, birds, a cannon goes of once a day, o Canada blasted through steam pipes, Cars, motorcycles, bikes, skateboarders , Families , joggers, lightning, fireworks, sirens and whatever else i missed  .My dogs world is accosted by the constant barrage of sights and sounds and none of those things affect her on or off leash . 

I manage what my dog sees and can fixate on. 

 

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Nuance, I am sorry I just don’t understand your comment or what your advice is? 

 

I am not just leaving her to navigate the world herself, I am in the yard with her and I am trying to manage her responses to these things. Maybe you have some specific advice on how you got your dog to a point to where “none of those things affect her on or off leash”? I would be interested to hear. I believe that by redirecting her attention when she barks in the yard or by playing the “look at that” game on her walks when she can react to a number of things, I am trying to manage what she can fixate on. Our pup has been quite reactive from day 1, despite being kept by my side, and I am interested to hear your off leash approach.

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Rosalee,

 Sorry for the gibberish posts.

If my dog was reactive to objects/people that were behind a fence and began to bark and run the property line.

I would.

 Remove my dog from the situation. Change the environment change the behaviour . I would not let the dog back into the yard until i was sure i had already run it out of gas.( doing off leash ,a calm mind is essential. I tire the body to calm the mind. In other words i exercise them before i do anything meaningful ) When the dog is to tired to do anything but lie there i would re introduce it back into the yard for a limited time frame under strict supervision. I want this time in the yard to be nothing but quiet time allowing the dog to digest the moment. As she ages and handles the yard better i slowly increase the amount of time she is allowed in the back yard.

 Tone of voice , My dog picks up everything she needs to know about any situation from the tone in my voice. When she barks and she does bark, i tell her firmly   ENOUGH! A lot of my dogs social cues come from me and barking doesn't have a positive association .

Meet and greets. Since your dog is reacting to people and things using the walkway . Walking the dog down the pathway several times a day and introducing it to people and things will expand the dogs range of comfort, it may also comfort the dog to re scent the area.

Toys, treats and me(you).  These are all the same things to my dog . Being with my dog she knows its about her(at this age and stage of her life)If i put my boots on she knows its because she is going out. The world revolves around her,  treating her or playing with her after she has done negative things would only re enforce negative behaviour.  No toys, treats or me for doing what she shouldn't. 

On a personal note, these dogs take about 2 years to set into what you can rely on. I don't count myself out of the woods for anything until around two year of age , until then i stay on top of everything. 

 

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Agree with D'Elle, this is what we have done.  Also we find that our dogs become more familiar with things-outside-the-fence (TOF) they are less likely to bark.  Could you take Katie on leash outside the fence to meet some of the walkers?   Once our dogs meet TOF and see us having a normal interaction, they are much less likely to bark at TOF when inside the fence.

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Thank you for clarification nuance, food for thought there.

 

yes, good idea Michael Parky. We are still working on learning proper greetings with Katie, but in some situations that would be good. The most intense barking is at dogs who walk by and while she loves dogs she can be a very excited greeter so still working on manners with that on the leash. We are making progress with our method. Generally she runs over and barks, I call her and she comes, I reward and usually have her stay for maybe 10 seconds or so, reward and release. She is kind of just a bit barky by nature I think and I don’t mind her giving a few barks at something, but she can get carried away and excessive without management.

 

thanks for helpful comments!

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