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Old 07-12-2010, 10:17 PM
TryingToTrain TryingToTrain is offline
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Default Why have both my dogs suddenly started to bark... all the time?

Ok, it must be something I am doing. I am trying to retrain my dogs and taking as much advice as I can get. Yesterday I started and got some great ideas which I started today.
- Both dogs have been on leashes our outside all day
- Both dogs have been given treats for good "sits" and "downs"
- We are are also learning "leave it" around the baby's high-chair

But now, we have another problem. The dogs have suddenly started barking at everything. Cody, who has always been a bit skittish usually starts it - maybe something he heard in another room or someone outside and then off they go, barking and barking and barking.

Also, I have no idea how to stop a dog from barking. Any links would be much appreciated. I have been reading / reading but there are so many conflicting ideas which is why I am still working on this after 8 years. I don't want to use any bark collars, sprays, physical threats, etc... I have heard those all before and that is why I have this problem - because I listened the trainers that sold that junk. Now, I want to do it the right way.

One more caveat... I can't use a clicker - only food or verbal praise because my husband can't take that sound.

EDIT: Just to be clear. I have started training with positive reinforcement today (see the items above) and now my dogs have started barking... at everything. Since this method is new to me today, I am worried I am doing something wrong. What could I be doing that is causing them to bark more?

Last edited by TryingToTrain; 07-12-2010 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 07-12-2010, 10:24 PM
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Kat09Tails Kat09Tails is offline
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How old are these dogs? What changes have happened in the environment? When your dogs are barking do they respond to commands?

Also your message reads a little something like this to me:

My dogs are doing X annoying behavior but I'm not willing to change a thing about how I run my life, train my dogs, or keep my pets. How can I fix X problem?

You know the old saying. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is insanity. If your really want this annoying behavior to stop a change is needed.
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Old 07-12-2010, 10:47 PM
TryingToTrain TryingToTrain is offline
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Sorry, maybe I wasn't clear. The steps I mentioned that I was doing were the new ways I was trying to train my dogs. I just found this site a few days ago, and have started an entirely different training method based on the advice I have received so far.

The dogs are 7 & 8 years old. For the most part they are good dogs. They don't bite, chew, jump on the table during meals, etc. The biggest problem we have is that they still sneak off and pee.

The reason why I listed what I won't do is because I have had bad experiences with people that have told me to train the dogs using force. So far, those methods have been entirely ineffective. The people I have found here, for the most part have been able to give advice that includes positive reinforcement and training with incentives. In the last day alone, I have seen a big positive change. I think. But, today the barking also started. My concern is that I am doing something wrong and am causing another problem. So, before it becomes chronic, I was hoping someone would be able to give me a suggestion or a link, or maybe just some friendly advice.

But, thanks for jumping to conclusions.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:14 PM
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Kat09Tails Kat09Tails is offline
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So your dogs are just starting to yap today?

Why not use the enough! command? Dogs are barking. Say enough! and draw their attention with a treat. When they stop barking, click and reward. Repeat.

Or is the problem yapping when you're not present?
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:40 PM
TryingToTrain TryingToTrain is offline
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I started telling them to "sit" and then give them a treat. It does momentarily distract them, and then they bark again... is it ok to repeat? or will I be teaching them to bark, I pay attention, tell them to sit and then they get rewarded? or am I giving too much forward planning to a dog.
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:18 AM
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Telling them to sit is alright but it doesn't enforce the I want you quiet part of the equation. Just like teaching the sit to the extended sit you have to start for short periods and then extend as time goes on. Right now just getting a moment of silence is where to start.

The best way to teach quiet/enough for me was with the door bell.

step 1 Someone rings the door bell. (A family member is great for this)
Step 2 Dog starts to yap.
Step 3 I say enough! Show high value treat/toy
Step 4 dog shuts up and I say YES! (click)
Step 5 Wait half a second then treat/toy.

Repeat 2 x then I crate the dog. Eventually drop showing the treat to just verbal, move back, etc. When the dog is reliable on quiet/enough in one situation start adding it to others.

Again, this is asking for quiet on command. It doesn't eliminate barking on the whole.
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:10 AM
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adojrts adojrts is offline
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I would not recommend showing a dog a treat to get them to stop barking. Ignore them, the second they stop barking, say Yes, Good quiet! and then reward. By showing them the reward first, (btw that is luring) it can teach them to bark and get your attention.

I couldn't count the number of people that come to class, dog barks and they shove food in it's mouth. Great way to train a dog to bark and demand attention.

Also make sure you are not training with a food reward in your hands, keep them hidden.

As for clicker training, can't you train the dogs with the clicker when your husband isn't there to build an association that the click is a promise of reward?
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:27 AM
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There is nothing wrong with a lure, or even a redirect if it works. It's not about rewarding barking it's about rewarding shutting up. Pauses are important in clicker/marker training so make sure to give a half second pause between the click/mark word and the reward.

There is always a place for free shaping, imo barking isn't one of them because some yappers who bark just to hear their brain rattle can go on for hours unless interrupted. My bosses sheltie herd taught me that. Yap yap yap yap yap yap....
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:31 AM
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I would just ignore until the dog stops then reward every few seconds, then every few minutes, then every once in a while, for the silence. I find dogs are able to learn that "when I bark, mom asks me to do something (sit, be quiet) then when I do it I get a treat" so then they start barking just so you'll ask them to do something so that they can get a treat. It's much better to reward the silence IMO. If they are really doing constant barking try making a small noise by scratching furniture with your nails or something so they shut their mouths for a second and you can start the rewarding. Try not to do this too much or it will just turn into the same situation like using a command.

As far as why the barking just started, the more nervous dog may be even more nervous because he is on leash (can't run away from threats) so he is hyper-vigilant now. Hopefully over time he'll calm down about being on leash. It's also possible he's just frustrated about being leashed as he can't go where he'd like, this will definitely stop over time as long as you persist.

I'd just reward the silence slowly extending the time he must be silent before he gets a treat. Also try and keep him busy with playing and chewies like bully sticks, or by going on walks, or getting brushed (if he enjoys that) that way he doesn't have time to start barking.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:07 AM
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Your best bet would be to keep a pouch or container of treats on you. When the dogs park, ignore them, or if they have a reliable recall, ask them to "come".

When they stop barking, give them a treat. They will either learn "shutting up" = treat or to come to you when there's something they want to bark at.

If you very recently started leashing them at all times in the house, that may be why they are barking. Make sure they're getting extra exercise outside (or inside supervised, you can separate them for this, if it needs to be offleash).

Also, if you crate, it might be helpful to separate the two for some time each day to work on training individually. It will help the dogs focus on YOU instead of on each other, and often if one barks, the other will join in.
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