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Old 12-04-2010, 05:13 PM
Yazbremski Yazbremski is offline
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Default Barking

We have our new adorable little dog and he's a barker. We're trying to discourage him from barking at EVERY noise that he hears. We tell him "No Bark" whenever he does for an unnecessary reasons (such as the wind blowing) and we reinforce when he does bark at a stranger entering our yard, etc. What are some ways we can discourage him from barking at every little noise? Even when I come out of the room in the morning he comes barking and running.
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Old 12-04-2010, 07:34 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Dogs bark for many different reasons, and it sounds like your guy is "alert barking"... barking to let the rest of his family know that something might be happening. In a group of dogs, when one dog starts to alert bark, the others will usually join in, especially if they too think there's something to bark about, which only reinforces the first dog's opinion that there's something important to bark about.

In your house, when your dog alert barks and you talk back to him with a raised voice, he may think that that's your version of joining in on the barking.... reinforcing him for barking in the first place.

Punishment, for alert barking, doesn't really work. The best thing you can do, when he's barking, is to just ignore it and stay calm. Dogs can also sense when we're starting to get nervous, and if he notices you're getting nervous he may bark more.

This is sometimes also tied to a leadership issue; usually the leader of the group will influence how the other members feel. It's like if you're the new guy at work, and you hear a weird siren go off that scares you; you'll look to the senior members of your group to judge how to respond to the siren.... if they stay calm, you'll probably calm down too. Same thing with your dog. If he were to look to you to decide if these things needed to be barked at, he probably wouldn't bark (unless you're a nervous person in general, LOL).

I'd suggest looking up some articles on NILF (Nothing In Life is Free... you can google it or search on this forum) and start implimenting those ideas into your daily life. Also increase the training and mental stimulation you're doing with this dog to help tire him out mentally. And of course, you can increase the exercise he gets, that should take the edge off, too.
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Old 12-04-2010, 07:56 PM
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corgipower corgipower is offline
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What you think is an "unnecessary reason" he may see as being as much reason as a stranger in your yard. By reinforcing one, you're possibly reinforcing both.

If you haven't taught him what "No Bark" means, then he has no way of knowing what it is you want, and as Lizzy said, he might think you're joining in on the fun.

Also, barking and running when you come out of the room in the morning sounds like an excitement bark. I would train an alternate behavior that doesn't include barking - teach him to go get something, teach him to go to a place, teach him to sit or lie down ~ almost anything can replace the behavior there, pick something you'd like him to do instead and teach it to him.
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:14 PM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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He sounds like my Tucker. Tucker is nervous, to him a strange sound may mean a strange person is in the yard or house so he barks. My plan is to take inventory of the sorts of things that set him off and then use them in a training session to control his barking. For example is mom is cooking and she bags the spoon on the rim of a pan to bang off excess sauce or something he'll bark his head off and then do gruff growly barks for the next several minutes because he is nervous.

I'll either tell her to bang and click his clicker at the exact moment and start pumping him full of treats or, if that doesn't work, let him bark until he stops, then click and treat. OR I might try the first method and if he barks remove him out into the hallway. I'll likely have mom stat with a single, quiet bang and then work up to a normal several, loud, fast bangs.
Then if I find one method that is successful I might add a cue. Then I'd move on to other noises that set him off. I'd do as many as I could and hope he might generalize or that I'd be able to apply the cue to other sounds. I'm not entirely sure how I'll go about doing it, it'll take a lot of trialing to see what's gonna be effective and practical and what just isn't going to work.

I tried clicking and treating him when someone knocked on and came through the door the other day. Didn't work at all, he didn't bark at the knock, took a treat, but then he started going as soon as he saw someone was coming through the door and he ran at them instead and choked on his treat. Treats, at least those treats, are not as important as freaking out at guests is. I think maybe next time I'll start with him on a leash and MUCH farther from the door, like out of sight of the door and I might see if toys will work better or worse. I also might use the leash to remove him into the bathroom when he barks and wait with him until he's wuiet, then let him back out and continue treating/playing as he's silent, then take him back again if he barks.

So I guess my advice is if there are any things you KNOW he barks at, use them for training and start with a very light version of the stimuli so he can be successful and you can reward him IMMIDIATELY before he has a chance to start barking. Then continue with frequent rewards for silence until he is unlikely to want to bark at the stimuli anymore. If he starts going ballistic remove him from the situation and try again but either improve the timing of your reward, improve the reward (better treat), or make the stimuli even lighter (less loud, less long, less close, etc.).

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Old 12-05-2010, 11:52 PM
wagthedog wagthedog is offline
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I recently ordered a copy of a book by Turid Rugaas titled "Barking: The Sound of a Language" - I would strongly advise you to get your hands on a copy. She does an excellent job of explaining how to recognize different types of barking and step-by-step training methods to solve barking problems. I have used her instructions with some of my clients with great success!
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