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Old 05-14-2012, 11:26 AM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 8,039
Default Barking: part 9,567

So once again I have questions about getting Tucker to be quiet. I'm home for the summer and that is my parent's chief complaint. Tucker barks when dogs go by the house and when the mailman comes. He'll also bark if he hears people outside. He won't bark at passing people without dogs unless he hears them but with summer here and windows being open he hears them more often. He barks in the window, then will start running from window to door and back again, and will also run to the kitchen and bark out that window, then run and bark between all three. It takes him a LONG time to settle down on his own, he doesn't just stop when they are out of view. So I have a container of treats in the living room that I've been using when I see someone with a dog coming by and when I hear the mailman's truck coming. He gets treats for staying quiet as they pass/come and go. I have a few questions about how I should go about doing this though.

Sometimes I see the dogs/people first and get there with treats before he notices them, most of the time I don't. His favorite place to hang out is on the back of the couch in the window that faces the street. He will alert, maybe huff or growl a bit and then I know someone is coming and grab the treats and start rewarding. I don't know if this is going to make him more reactive since he is getting rewarded for alerting, albeit in a quieter fashion.

Sometimes I won't notice or won't get to him with the treats until a bark or two comes out. What do I do then? Sometimes it'll be an initial bark and then he'll be quiet for several seconds before going completely off the handle. Should I still get the treats if he's already barked but hasn't completely lost it yet?

Now today I got the treats to him when I heard the mailman. He was up at the window staring intensely and I started giving him treats. He was quiet until he heard the mailbox close at the front door, then he ran to the door and barked to his heart's content. Normally he would continue barking for a while, running from window to door until the mailman had been gone for a minute or so, loosing complete control. I wanted to prevent that and so when he stopped barking at the door for a few seconds I called him over, asked for a sit and rewarded him. He then jumped in the window and I rewarded him for looking out quietly as the mailman's truck drove off. I feel like rewarding him after he flipped out was counter productive but wanted to stop a complete meltdown. What should I do in a situation like this when I get there and start rewarding but he gets too over threshold and he barks anyways?

And of course, if I don't get the treats to him at all before he goes nuts, what do I do?

If in the future if he always gives three barks or so upon initially seeing dogs/the mailman I think we'd be fine with that, we just don't like when he looses it and runs around barking his head off, even long after the dog/person has moved on. We don't like that he flies on and off the couch often landing on people and frequently redirects onto the cats (to the point where they now immediately drop to the ground and hide under something when they hear him start to growl and huff).

In the past I have tried time outs when he barks before I got treats or when I'm in the middle of giving treats but this usually causes him to completely loose it and bark for even longer than usual. He will bark as I take him away and then is quiet in time out and immediately resumes barking when I take him out again. I've tried putting him right back in 2 or 3 times but he always starts again upon leaving. He'll also start crying, panting, running around the entire house huffing and barking, and looking overall very stressed. It's like he feels unsettled because he didn't see the dog/person leave and isn't sure where they are. So I'm not going to use time outs anymore.

I have not had a chance to be super consistent with any sort of bark training because I'm usually just trying to do it when I'm home for a week or something. Telling my parents what to do has been a waste of time, god forbid they have to get up and grab the treats when someone is coming, that's just too much work. But I have more than three months so maybe I can do something about it that will be permanent so it's not something they have to keep up.

Thank you ~Dixie's Mom~ for my awesome siggy!
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