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My 16 week old puppy sits in her pen (small fenced off area inside) and barks. If we turn our back on her, she immediately quiets and lays down, waiting for her treat. It's clear she knows the process of bark - back turned - lay down - get treat. She's getting so vocal that we've taken to tying her up outside during the days because we can't handle the constant barking. (She has been quiet outside, but is starting to bark more.)

The other path we tried was reconfiguring her pen so she has no space as 'punishment' anytime she barks. When she quiets down, she gets full run of her area.

The former clearly isn't working, the latter we just started trying.

Any tips?
 

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The joys of owning a really smart dog...they figure out how to get things by acting out just so they can be good! Sounds like you've accidentally taught her that if she barks, you will turn your back, and then if she goes quiet she gets a treat! It happens to the best of us.

Try just completely ignoring her. Yes, it will take enormous patience and an enormous amount of time. It will get worse before it gets better. When she's barking, pretend that she does not exist. When she stops barking, don't really pay any attention to her, either. It sounds like her barking is completely an attention seeking behavior, and often the only way to combat it is simply not give any attention. We faced a similar problem with my dog when we first brought him home, and we ignored him for weeks when he was doing that. Eventually, he learned that barking wasn't going to get him anything, nor was stopping barking necessarily going to get him anything. Barking at us for attention was just a useless behavior--it led to nothing, good or bad.

What I would do, though to encourage calmness, was only give the dog a treat when he wasn't really thinking about a reward for doing it right. You know, lying on his side not paying attention to me, calmly looking out the window, perhaps chewing on his toy. I would walk by, place a treat in front of him, and leave. For some dogs, giving them treats for "thinking about" performing the behavior leads them to try different things to get the treat. They learn that barking + going quiet when owner does a thing=treat. Sometimes they just need to learn that barking = 0, and that just chilling naturally = possibility of a reward.

Sorry, it's kind of hard to explain it, lol.
 

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Ugh, I know ALL about barking haha.

I'm not sure the latter will work for you, assuming you are going to her pen to close the space. She's probably barking for attention and if you give her ANY ("punishment" or not) it will be rewarding. It can be tricky, but the best way to deal with attention barking is to ignore it completely and reward when she's quiet. She'll have to stop at some point (get water etc.) and when she does you should run over with lots of praise and treats.

If she's not giving up and you can't catch a good break you could keep going with your former technique, but don't just give her the treat and leave. Give the treat and wait for the split second when she finishes and looks at you for more. Pop another treat in her mouth and repeat. Then take a step back and try from there etc. etc.

You don't need to punish barking, you need to reward quiet.
 

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Ugh, I know ALL about barking haha.

I'm not sure the latter will work for you, assuming you are going to her pen to close the space. She's probably barking for attention and if you give her ANY ("punishment" or not) it will be rewarding. It can be tricky, but the best way to deal with attention barking is to ignore it completely and reward when she's quiet. She'll have to stop at some point (get water etc.) and when she does you should run over with lots of praise and treats.

If she's not giving up and you can't catch a good break you could keep going with your former technique, but don't just give her the treat and leave. Give the treat and wait for the split second when she finishes and looks at you for more. Pop another treat in her mouth and repeat. Then take a step back and try from there etc. etc.

You don't need to punish barking, you need to reward quiet.
I think the OP is already trying this method, but the pup has learned that there is a chain of events: Barking + going quiet = treat. So, you have to break the chain. Make Barking = 0, first, by simply ignoring it. Also doesn't require any punishment, but simply doesn't give the pup what it wants.
 

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I think the OP is already trying this method, but the pup has learned that there is a chain of events: Barking + going quiet = treat. So, you have to break the chain. Make Barking = 0, first, by simply ignoring it. Also doesn't require any punishment, but simply doesn't give the pup what it wants.
Very true. I do know that some puppies can go on for a loooong time though, which isn't always great if you have neighbours. If OP can wait it out, that's definitely the best way to go.
 

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Thanks for the suggestions, though my neighbors and I likely won't enjoy the implementation.

Two quick follow-ups:

1) What are people's thoughts of something unpleasant when she barks? Some sites talk about spraying her when she barks.

2) A lot of sites say, "teach her to bark, then teach her to be quiet." They suggest when she is about to bark, say "speak" and give her a treat when she does. When you say quiet, put a treat in her face so she quiets down, then treat her. This worries me as it seems it won't work - she'll just bark until you say quiet then get the treat, same as when I turn my back, though I don't really know.
 

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Thanks for the suggestions, though my neighbors and I likely won't enjoy the implementation.

Two quick follow-ups:

1) What are people's thoughts of something unpleasant when she barks? Some sites talk about spraying her when she barks.

2) A lot of sites say, "teach her to bark, then teach her to be quiet." They suggest when she is about to bark, say "speak" and give her a treat when she does. When you say quiet, put a treat in her face so she quiets down, then treat her. This worries me as it seems it won't work - she'll just bark until you say quiet then get the treat, same as when I turn my back, though I don't really know.
1. I wouldn't recommend it. Some dogs it might work, but it may damage your relationship. Or you have a dog afraid of spray bottles. I mean, let's be honest here, you kind of TAUGHT her to do what she's doing, lol, so can you really blame her?

2. I tried that once. Didn't work, but it depends on the dog. Based on what you're dog has learned to do, probably not, haha!

But, yeah, an attention seeking barker thinks that any attention is good attention. You may also try a long-lasting chew for pen times to encourage quiet. It may be worth it to see what happens if you leave her in there with the chew, if she remains quiet or if she starts barking once she's finished. If not, then make your neighbors some brownies.
 

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It is hard and earplugs can be your friend, but my best success has been with completely ignoring attention barking. Take the dog out to potty on a schedule so you are less likely to have the dog barking for a physical need but otherwise, just go about your business.

I do not suggest something unpleasant like a spray because the dog is more likely to create bad associations with the bottle, you, your hands, the sound or whatever than they are to think "ah, I am not supposed to bark"
 

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I have never met anyone who has had success with teaching their dog not to bark by teaching a "Quiet". I'm sure it can be done, but it simply takes skill and dedication beyond what most owners have (myself included).

I would also try increasing the amount of play/training you do with her. She sounds bored to me.
 

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I have never met anyone who has had success with teaching their dog not to bark by teaching a "Quiet". I'm sure it can be done, but it simply takes skill and dedication beyond what most owners have (myself included).

I would also try increasing the amount of play/training you do with her. She sounds bored to me.
I have, but the easiest version of that basically just makes 'quiet' the warning that you are going to be ignoring the heck out of your dog so they may as well shush. So you don't even get out of listening to the dog barking at you.

Mostly, though, anything that works is going to involve a lot of being barked at, period, and ultimately ignoring. I used to bother a lot more than I do now. I just don't care unless I'm being barked at for my food. (Which, I realize, is not at all helpful to OP).
 

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My 16 week old puppy sits in her pen (small fenced off area inside) and barks.
Where is the pen located ? For example, if it's in a spot where she can 'constantly' see you while you're going about your day, you could try relocating it to a place where it's just slightly out of view but still close enough that she can hear you're nearby and close enough that you can still monitor. Might quiet the barking, similar to when you cover a crate with a blanket. Out of sight out of mind as the saying goes.
 
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