Night Time Alert Barking - Australian Shepherd
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Thread: Night Time Alert Barking - Australian Shepherd

  1. #1
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    Night Time Alert Barking - Australian Shepherd

    Hello,
    I am new to this forum and am enjoying the threads greatly. I haven't been able to find anything on Nighttime Alert Barking and how to overcome it.

    Story:
    We recently adopted a wonderful Australian Shepherd. By all other means, I would almost call her perfect. She came from someone who couldn't give her anymore attention (we think the new wife got jealous and gave him two options!!).
    Anyways, so she was crated for the last 6 months. She is adapting nicely, to her new home, and it's only been a short while, but we have one problem we're trying to work on and that is her Night Time Alert Barking.

    We have noisy late night neighbors. Whenever they come home, she can hear them and it will startle her and she'll start to give a couple alert barks. Sometimes, she'll in break out into a full on barking fit and race towards the front door.

    We keep yelling NO, and will either hold her snout closed with NO. I recently tried using a spray bottle with just water. My next move is to get a Citronella Collar, but I wanted to consult with other dog owners first to see if they've had any success with their furry house alarms before I go spending money on contraptions that may or may not work.

    Do we just give her time to get used to the late night noises and keep reinforcing NO, along with a spritz of water, or do we do something else?

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    -Chris

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  3. #2
    Senior Member TooneyDogs's Avatar
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    Re: Night Time Alert Barking - Australian Shepherd

    Alert barking is a good thing. She just did a great job of letting you know something might be wrong....you thank her....you don't punish her.
    That won't cure your problem though. The real problem is that she doesn't know what is normal and what isn't. You have to teach her the difference or, at least teach her what normal is.
    Let me back up a little on alert barking...a good pack member does that to alert the rest of the pack and the Alpha pair. The Alpha pair are the ones who have the right to comfront/assess the problem...either kill the intruder, run him off or do a meet and greet ahead of the rest of the pack. Basically, they tell the rest of the pack whether this is normal or not.
    So, next time she alerts you that the neighbors are home, go to her and calmly, quietly thank her. Here's the important part...YAWN...make sure she sees you yawning and calmly walk away. Dogs understand that very clearly for exactly what it is...nothing to be concerned about...in fact, boring. If after a few nights she doesn't seem to get the message, (after all, this a social skill...recognizing a yawn), I'd take her for a walk to meet the neighbors when they get home (meeting/greeting ...showing her that they are normal)....well, semi-normal if they're always so noisy at night!

  4. #3
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    Re: Night Time Alert Barking - Australian Shepherd

    deff dont punish her...

    my puppy hasnt "found his bark" yet, but every night when he hears my gf come home, he will bark a few times, and I enjoy every second of it, with a good amount of physical and verbal praise..

    try praising her, maybe she'll stop..

    I wouldnt try to change it.. I think its a good thing..

  5. #4
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    Re: Night Time Alert Barking - Australian Shepherd

    Yawning...
    Excellent advice, Thank You! I'll try that tonight and do some meet and greets when the neighbor comes home. I'll include her on the training.

    Thanks Again

    Quote Originally Posted by hattrickinc View Post
    deff dont punish her...

    my puppy hasnt "found his bark" yet, but every night when he hears my gf come home, he will bark a few times, and I enjoy every second of it, with a good amount of physical and verbal praise..

    try praising her, maybe she'll stop..

    I wouldnt try to change it.. I think its a good thing..
    The problem is, it's very late at night when everyone is asleep. The neighbor comes home at an odd hour. It's a startling wake-up for us and possibly the other neighbors. It's something we need to redirect. I'm sure it will take time. I deff don't want to punish her.

    I like the above idea about Yawning. I think that will work after time. For now we'll just have to endure some nights of her unleashing the fear of all things wild!

    I do really enjoy it though. It shows she has fallen in her pack place quite quickly with us.
    Last edited by chriswasha; 02-20-2008 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  6. #5
    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: Night Time Alert Barking - Australian Shepherd

    Great explanation:
    Let me back up a little on alert barking...a good pack member does that to alert the rest of the pack and the Alpha pair. The Alpha pair are the ones who have the right to confront/assess the problem...either kill the intruder, run him off or do a meet and greet ahead of the rest of the pack. Basically, they tell the rest of the pack whether this is normal or not.

    Yes, never punish dog for alert barking. One of the things I tell people when training their dogs is I will teach them what the word no means(stop what you are doing and do something different) I would not attempt to 1st use a no command in that situation. What I'm saying the no pressure should be done during standard obedience work. After the dog knows what no means you can do the above confront/assess the problem and inform the dog that alerting was good and then release the situation with the no command. Remember a burglar when hearing a dog is going somewhere else. Years ago there was a series of night burglaries that took place where dogs and owners were at home. The dogs did no alerting at all, the quote, unquote expert's theories were that the dogs owners had done some heavy chastising of the dogs involved for barking etc. I guess the dogs just decided to let the pack leaders/owners take care of the problem. Who managed to sleep through the whole thing. Of course after all this, if dog being quiet is more important then more pressure on dog can be applied.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


  7. #6
    Senior Member Love's_Sophie's Avatar
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    Re: Night Time Alert Barking - Australian Shepherd

    Perhaps putting her in a crate at night may help; atleast she couldn't race out of your room and keep up her anxious cries! Or atleast shut your door, so she can't leave the room. It sounds like, if she didn't have 'access' to the rest of the house, she may just give a couple of 'woof woofs' and be done, but because she probably feels the need to protect the rest of the house, and make sure it is 'okay' that is why she goes into full cry. Crating, or even tying her to your bed post, and shutting your door may eliminate some of that 'worry' of hers.

    I would also use\teach her the word "shush" or "quiet" instead of using No...no is an overused word IMO, and the dog doesn't really learn much from it. But also, teach her a "speak" command, so she learns that shush means no talking! That way you can 'control' her barking to an extent...she will learn that a calm "shush" means be quiet, no more talking; no matter what is going on. Thank her when she alerts you to 'strangers' then quietly ask her to 'shush'...

    Tooney dog's yawning tip can actually help; the concept is just to act like this is no big deal. Yes, she alerted you to your neighbors, but once she does that, just 'ignore' all other complaints on her part, and go for a calm walk about the house; having a lead on her may help too, so she can't just go racing off anxiously on her own...as was mentioned, you want to teach her that the 'noisy neighbors' though noisy, are normal and okay; disciplining her for her alerts will only 'tell' her that something is wrong, because she will only sense your frustration. Instead keep an essence of calm demeanor and she will quickly catch on to the idea.
    Last edited by Love's_Sophie; 02-20-2008 at 11:50 PM.

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    Re: Night Time Alert Barking - Australian Shepherd

    All great explanations and information. Thank you so much for your time and help. I really hope I can make this work. She is such a wonderful dog.

    This afternoon We were home and were able to practice the "Yawn." It seemed to have help a little.
    I will definitely teach her speak and shush. I think the combination of all these are great and will work wonderfully.

  9. #8
    Senior Member poodleholic's Avatar
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    Re: Night Time Alert Barking - Australian Shepherd

    My Maddy was a wonderful alert-barker as a young puppy, and very enthusiastic about it, too! What worked beautifully was to go check the door or window, say "good girl, that'll do," and go on about my business (ignoring any further barking, if any). She learned to bark once or twice, and then come and get me. I followed her, and made a big show of looking out the door, or window, and letting her know all was A-OK, and then praised her. I introduced "Shhhh," putting my finger to my lips at the same time, and then treated her the second she was quiet. Now, all I have to do is put my finger up to my lips, and both my dogs are absolutely silent, watching me closely to see what comes next. It's almost become a game!

    To this day she will alert bark once, then come and get me, BUT, only if it's a stranger. She doesn't bark when it's the postal carrier, the UPS guy, the meter reader, known family and friends, OR the pizza delivery guy! LOL How she knows it's the pizza guy when it's never the same guy/car is beyond me, but, she does. LOL

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