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Old 05-14-2012, 10:26 AM
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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.
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:35 AM
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This is why I finally opted for a bark collar for Lucy. I couldn't be consistent. It wasn't fair to her. Sometimes (when I wasn't home), she got to bark her heart out with no consequence, other times I'd run over there and drag her away to get treats, sometimes I sat in the front room with her for hours practicing "look at that", etc. The rules were constantly changing.

The bark collar has been marvelous. We tried for years to get the barking to stop (I posted several agonizing threads about it) with little to no success. With the bark collar, it zapped her once, she learned what it meant, and she's only barked a few times with it on since then (like when the ups man comes to the front door and works her into a frenzy--but no longer for dogs across the street or bicycles riding past.

I cried and cried and agonized over the decision to use one, but it's been absolutely the right decision for us. She doesn't get so worked up any more, and it's far clearer to her when she is and isn't allowed to bark.
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:42 AM
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I won't use a shock collar, I'd rather he bark (my parents don't share that sentiment but I don't really care). I've thought about spray collars, but am unsure. Being as he's aggressive I am very reluctant to try and take away his bark completely.
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Maxy24 View Post
I won't use a shock collar, I'd rather he bark (my parents don't share that sentiment but I don't really care). I've thought about spray collars, but am unsure. Being as he's aggressive I am very reluctant to try and take away his bark completely.
Dogs like rules that are black and white. A bark collar is the only way to consistently relay information to the dog that barking like an a** is unacceptable. You would probably find his attitude becoming less "aggressive" with the use of a bark collar because he would know the rules and he could stop having to worry about putting on a show and relax instead. It's funny that people think it's so mean, but in the long run the dog's mental health and quality of life improves greatly, as Cali mentioned.
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:59 AM
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Can you prevent him from being in the front room when you aren't there to watch him, then? If he's EVER allowed to do it, it's hard to delineate when it is/isn't acceptable.

Everything I read said if you can teach them to bark on command, you can teach them to stop on command, but it didn't work. Barking is inherently self-rewarding for Lucy.
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
Everything I read said if you can teach them to bark on command, you can teach them to stop on command, but it didn't work. Barking is inherently self-rewarding for Lucy.
Same for Tipper. Thankfully she's not too bad - she will stop if you TELL her to (asking nicely doesn't work lol). After having Tipper I can totally understand why people turn to bark collars and debarking. I'm extremely grateful that she's not bad enough for me to have to make that choice. And Cali, I admire how up front you've been over the decision - it's clear that you're doing what works for YOUR dog and it's equally clear that you tried everything you could possibly think of first.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Dogs like rules that are black and white. A bark collar is the only way to consistently relay information to the dog that barking like an a** is unacceptable. You would probably find his attitude becoming less "aggressive" with the use of a bark collar because he would know the rules and he could stop having to worry about putting on a show and relax instead. It's funny that people think it's so mean, but in the long run the dog's mental health and quality of life improves greatly, as Cali mentioned.
So you're saying someone can't have a dog stop barking without a bark collar?
And I'm not saying he's aggressive because he barks...he's aggressive towards strangers and has been for a very long time. I am able to use his reactions to tell how relaxed or scared he is. If he's barking I know I can't let people make eye contact, speak to him, etc. If he stops barking I know I can begin allowing some of that. I am glad he doesn't keep his mouth shut because then I might allow people to get too close too soon. I do not want to make him afraid to bark because I DO like to be able to use his barking as a measure of his comfort level. Plus that goes against my personal training preferences, I don't like to use pain or fear in training. The harshest I've gone is a squirt bottle for stealing and that's about as harsh as I ever plan on going. I don't feel like saying "shut up or it'll hurt" is going to improve his life, I don't think barking is worse for his mental health than trying to restrain himself for fear of pain would be. Nor do I think barking is lessening his quality of life, it's not like we spend all day shouting at him because of it. I won't use a shock collar and I probably won't use a spray collar unless we really can't make it work in a positive manner. So if that's all you have to offer then I don't think you can help me. I appreciate you trying but it's not something I want to do.

Quote:
Can you prevent him from being in the front room when you aren't there to watch him, then? If he's EVER allowed to do it, it's hard to delineate when it is/isn't acceptable.
Unfortunately no, my parents aren't willing to confine him and honestly he'd just bark the entire time anyways, and probably poop too, he poops when he gets upset
The dog needs some help with frustration tolerance, that's at the heart of his problem. We were out in the yard and a dog went by and he went nutso so I reeled him in (he was on his tie out) and took him behind the house where he couldn't see the dog and he cried and kept barking and made some awful screaming noises for a solid three minutes while I waited. When he was quiet I let him back into the yard and he started strutting around and barking and kicking up dirt even though the dog was long gone, I really think he has a hard time calming himself down, he just doesn't know how. Barking at dogs outside is pretty new and I believe it's connected to me bringing him to the park to play with dogs. He thinks they are super duper awesome now (which is great) and so his brain falls out when he sees them.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:54 PM
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So if that's all you have to offer then I don't think you can help me. I appreciate you trying but it's not something I want to do.
No problem, I was a purely positive trainer for years, I know where you're coming from. We can agree to disagree.

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Originally Posted by Maxy24 View Post
So you're saying someone can't have a dog stop barking without a bark collar?
No, I'm just saying that the best, most effective dog training is consistent and has clear criteria. The more there is room for human error or shifting criteria for the dog, the longer the training is going to take, or the dog may never understand what is expected. A self-rewarding behaviour like barking is certainly tough to tackle, I wish you luck.

However, I still maintain that a dog barking at people out of fear/defensiveness for no reason is not a mentally balanced, relaxed dog and neither is a dog that is constantly aroused, scanning the environment looking for things to bark at. Both of my dogs were like this, I speak from experience.
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:54 PM
crazedACD crazedACD is offline
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I'm not big on quick fixes..but, I just, just got this delivered on the doorstep about an hour ago.
http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...uctId=12281454
I did a fake knock...Ritzy came running and yapping which gets everyone else going..and just freaking STOPPED and turned around. They actually seemed a little freaked out, which I'm concerned about...but holy crap it worked. I'll let you know how it works for me..
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:21 AM
crazedACD crazedACD is offline
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So far...it's great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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