Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Our 2-year-old recently-adopted Tibbie mix has been with us long enough to start showing her true personality, and mostly we love it...but she's taken to barking in situations that we don't like. I know there are a lot of barking threads but our situation has some complications due to apartment layout, so bear with me...

1. Barking to be let out (we think?). We let her out with the first bark, let her potty, let her play for a bit, and let her back in, and then ignore subsequent barking...which doesn't always stop. We can get her to quiet down if we block access to the kitchen (and therefore to the patio sliding glass door), but I'm not sure if that's a very good solution long-term.

2. Barking at people passing by...and of course, every time they walk past without coming in, she's reinforced, thinking that she kept the intruder away! Currently our couch is in front of the main window, but she can jump on top of the couch back and see out to bark. When we had the blinds down, she chewed them up pretty bad (we're renters- the fewer things we have to replace the better) and that was when we were only away for a couple of hours. With the blinds up there's no chewing but I'm worried about how much barking she might be doing and whether it bothers our neighbors.

I've been advised to block visibility from the window. The only way to do this I've thought of is to put fabric on the inside, but I'm worried she will chew up the fabric, and possibly the blinds through it as well. Also the window is tall and she can get behind the couch, so she might be able to just nudge the blinds out of the way (and bend them all around in the process).

We've been doing our best to discourage her barking. We're working on the "quiet" command with mixed success, will occasionally tap her snout if we're near her when she barks or otherwise ignore her (difficult- her bark can be pretty darn shrill). Granted, it hasn't been very long, but I feel like if we could solidify what we 'should' be doing we could be more consistent and therefore more effective.

Any suggestions? Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
948 Posts
When my dogs bark, at squirrels in the backyard, or passersby at the windows, or whatever, I look in the direction they've indicated, and say "thank you, that's enough." Does the trick *usually*.

The bark is an alert -- let her know she's done the job. It won't happen overnight, but if you make sure she knows you're looking where she's telling you to look, and then don't make a really big deal out of it, she'll catch on eventually.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
Confine her access when you are away, so that the barking is (probably) only occurring when you're around to react to it. This could mean crate training, penning her into one room, or just blocking her access to the windows where she barks using baby gates or exercise pens.

The fact that she continues barking after you come back inside could mean that she just expects to be taken outside when she barks, whether she has to go or not. You could start taking her out only when she's not barking to break that habit. Or train her to ring a bell or something to go out. But I think it's hard to know for sure whether a dog is only signaling when they NEED to go out vs. when they WANT to go out. If you stick to a fairly regular feeding and potty time schedule there shouldn't be a problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
When my dogs bark, at squirrels in the backyard, or passersby at the windows, or whatever, I look in the direction they've indicated, and say "thank you, that's enough." Does the trick *usually*.
I think I saw you mention this somewhere else- we've been trying it (probably only for about five days) but so far she doesn't seem to care in the least about whether we know what's going on. It's a growl-growl-bark so I think it's more for the intruder than for us. We come to the window and say thanks, we got this, and she doesn't acknowledge us in the least :\

Snoopy11, we're pretty regular on her potty times and the vast majority of the time she's not barking in the least when we take her out! I get up at 6 and take her out, my partner gets up and takes her out again around ~9:30. She may or may not get a break between 12 and 1 (depends on the boyfriend's work schedule- I work over an hour away), but I get back home around 6:15-6:30 and she immediately gets another break then either way. She hasn't had any problem holding it, thankfully! She gets another potty break before I get ready for bed (~9:45) and then another when my boyfriend goes to bed (ranges from midnight to 2am). She currently has an upper respiratory infection, but once she's over it in another week or so she'll probably go into the office with my boyfriend most weekdays, which means she'll get at least 1-2 more breaks in between that 9:30 and 6:30 time frame. During the weekend her first break is the same and then I just try to make sure she gets out every 3 hours, as long as we're home.

We're working (very) slowly on crate training. We've been giving her meals in the crate (not closed) for about the last week. This weekend I'm going to try the first door-closed meal. Since she was a shelter dog we tried her in the crate overnight her first few nights and she was chill. She started barking a bit in the wee hours and we wanted to let her sleep with us anyway, so we stopped crating her at night...but the one time she was crated at home (she had gotten through the kitchen barrier and was making a mess and getting into things she wasn't supposed to, but the boyfriend had no time really to deal with it, so he crated her), she howled and barked for most of the next four hours (I had a puppycam on her and watched from work). So...definitely not going to rush there. Fortunately she hasn't shown any signs of crate trauma!

Thanks for the thoughts, everyone. We'll just keep working at it. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,350 Posts
You said if you block access to the kitchen (and sliding glass door) it will stop. That makes me think she's not necessarily barking to potty, but, just to go outside, explore, play, etc. When she can't see the sliding glass door, and isn't reminded of how fun it looks outside, she doesn't do it.

As for barking at people or things outside, I agree that you should try blocking access from the windows. Maybe you could use a baby gate or ex-pen to confine her to an interior room where she can't really see outside.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
doxiemommy: It's funny because if we DO let her outside she may or may not do anything. Sometimes she'll stay out there and dig around a little, but mostly she just wants to run back in with us. Maybe she just needs more walks, on that front :)

We can't block her from the living room though...we live in an apartment. She flips out if she only has the kitchen, and the bedrooms are carpeted; we're just not quite ready to let her have unsupervised access to them yet. Maybe eventually, but for now...

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
Snoopy11, we're pretty regular on her potty times and the vast majority of the time she's not barking in the least when we take her out!
Oh ok, good! I was responding to this part of your original post...

1. Barking to be let out (we think?). We let her out with the first bark, let her potty, let her play for a bit, and let her back in, and then ignore subsequent barking...which doesn't always stop.
I interpreted this to mean that she'd bark, then you'd take her outside, then she'd continue barking once you returned inside.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Snoopy11, We've done that a few times to make sure her barking wasn't for the very legitimate reason of needing a potty break, but it's not a regular occurrence. Sorry for being unclear!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,108 Posts
The two most effective ways to deal with alert barking are checking out the alert and preventing the dog from noticing things to alert on.

Check out the alert: It's a pain in the butt, but you gotta do it. IF the barking your dog is doing is "HEY LOOK IT'S A THING," you gotta validate their scouting abilities. It's anthropomorphic and pack theoryish, two things I don't normally advocate, but IME it works. I get up, look out the window, and say in a very serious tone to the dog "Yes, I see, it's a leaf/rabbit/army of undead. Thank you for bringing this to my attention." Over time, the dog figures out what's worth an alert and what isn't.

Preventing alerting: This came up on my blogfeed recently: http://boogiebt.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/we-won-an-award-and-window-film/ The window film looks kind of like frosted glass on the cheap.

Sometimes barking can come from boredom. With my alert barker, I know he's much more hair trigger, there is a lot more her defines as "The Lady Needs to Be Alerted About" if he hasn't gotten enough exercise or training lately. Are you doing any training with her? She might need more mental stimulation. Many of the toy breeds are very smart and pick up on tricks and really enjoy them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
So we've been working with her more and so far, she hasn't been remotely interested in whether we look at what she's barking at, so that doesn't help...and using the quiet command and a treat pretty much only gets her to quiet down until she's been given the treat and then she just starts barking again. I obviously shouldn't just sit there feeding her a treat every five minutes, so...yeah. Any advice on that front? I feel like all she's learning is that barking and then shutting up gets her a treat.

There is DEFINITELY a boredom component to this because now she's sometimes just sitting in the middle of the living room barking. Thankfully it looks like the boyfriend will be able to start taking her back into the office soon, so she'll have more engagement throughout the day, with people and dogs. Hopefully that'll calm things down in the apartment.

That said, he's also worried that she'll start barking AT the office at inopportune moments, so we're still wanting to work with her. So any advice on the "quiet" command would be great! Additionally, we're considering trying one of these for in the office:

http://www.petco.com/product/109271/Pet-Tags-Adjustable-No-Bark-Dog-Collar.aspx?CoreCat=OnSiteSearch

It's a bark collar that doesn't use sprays OR shocks, but rather a vibration and a sound (depending on which setting you use). The reviews make it look like it only works maybe 2/3rds of the time and Amazon reviews suggest that it may only work 1/2 to 2/3rds of the time, but at $20 I'm willing to give it a shot. Has anyone used this particular product?'

Thanks again everyone!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,350 Posts
What exactly have you been doing for the "quiet" command?
The goal is that she has to be quiet longer and longer periods of time before getting the treat, really, not just telling her "quiet" and giving her a treat every few minutes.
But, if you will tell us what you have been doing, how you've taught the "quiet" command, and how you apply it, I will be glad to help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
What exactly have you been doing for the "quiet" command?
Well, we've only just started it over the last couple of days, but basically I've been doing "Quiet Pixel" while holding up the treat to get her attention, and then I keep her sitting there staring at it for maybe 5-10 seconds. Then I give it to her, praise her, pet her, tell her she's a good girl, and then a minute later (if there's something out the window) or a few minutes later (if she's just barking at us).

We've identified the "barking to be let out" as actually more of a "barking for attention/play time." We've done our best not to reinforce her by giving her attention when she barks but in some situations (people are over to watch a movie, or we have to get some sleep before work the next morning) we've had to do just that.

We're getting to be a little frayed about the whole thing. I honestly think the root of the problem is boredom...she's been home all day every day while my boyfriend and I were at work, and we get home and don't have time or weather to take her for a good walk or run. We've been trying to play with and engage her as much as possible but we need a little 'us' time too, which is when she starts to get barky.

I was excited that my boyfriend was going to be able to take her back to his office today as she's over her infection...unfortunately she was so whiny and disruptive there that he had to bring her home a couple of hours later. I feel like because she's gotten so into barking and chewing at home and we haven't been able to successfully discourage her, she's now doing it at his office, basically cutting off our best opportunity to give her some stimulation so that she's not so bored and loud/destructive.

It's very frustrating! We really appreciate all the advice you guys have been so generous with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,350 Posts
Well, ignoring is supposed to be best. BUT, if you are watching a movie with friends and she starts barking, you could try removing her from the room until she's quiet. So, maybe you have a dog safe room, a bathroom, laundry room etc. When she barks, you put her in that room. If it takes 5 seconds for her to stop barking, you bring her back in the living room after 5 seconds.
Here's the trick: EVERY time she barks (without good reason), you have to get up and put her in her dog safe room. EVERY time. That COULD mean you are getting up every 2-3 minutes. The good news is, she should get the point pretty quickly that barking means she has to be away from her people.

The other thing I just thought of is this: there's a great book about dogs and people and their respective behaviors, it's called "The Other End of the Leash," by Patricia McConnell. It's a neat book and very helpful in understanding dogs. Anyway, one part talks about dogs sometimes being demanding, and how, if you give into their demands all the time, they really become like spoiled children.
So, if a dog is barking or pushing against you for attention and you are busy, you CAN say "no, not now". The way she said she did it was to turn away from the dog and kind of put your nose in the air, like you're a big snob! Keep that posture for 30 seconds or so. Dogs understand that to be a "dismissal" of sorts. Like, go away. It might be worth a try. It's the same kind of thing another dog would do to tell a dog to go away... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Well, ignoring is supposed to be best. BUT, if you are watching a movie with friends and she starts barking, you could try removing her from the room until she's quiet. So, maybe you have a dog safe room, a bathroom, laundry room etc. When she barks, you put her in that room. If it takes 5 seconds for her to stop barking, you bring her back in the living room after 5 seconds.
Here's the trick: EVERY time she barks (without good reason), you have to get up and put her in her dog safe room. EVERY time. That COULD mean you are getting up every 2-3 minutes. The good news is, she should get the point pretty quickly that barking means she has to be away from her people.

The other thing I just thought of is this: there's a great book about dogs and people and their respective behaviors, it's called "The Other End of the Leash," by Patricia McConnell. It's a neat book and very helpful in understanding dogs. Anyway, one part talks about dogs sometimes being demanding, and how, if you give into their demands all the time, they really become like spoiled children.
So, if a dog is barking or pushing against you for attention and you are busy, you CAN say "no, not now". The way she said she did it was to turn away from the dog and kind of put your nose in the air, like you're a big snob! Keep that posture for 30 seconds or so. Dogs understand that to be a "dismissal" of sorts. Like, go away. It might be worth a try. It's the same kind of thing another dog would do to tell a dog to go away... :)
The book sounds fascinating- am already about to buy it on my Kindle!

As for putting her in a dog safe room when she barks...what if all she does while she's in there is keep barking for an hour? We know it's possible; I mentioned our unfortunate crate incident earlier in the thread. Obviously this is something we'd start doing well before any potential incidents with friends over, but frankly, her bark is like most small dogs'- shrill and very hard to listen to for very long! Curious if you have thoughts on that. :)

Thanks again!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,350 Posts
Yes, I can understand! One of mine has a very shrill bark, too! And, she sometimes barks when she wants one of the others to play with her, and they don't want to! :(

It seems to me that if you (the family, or family + guests) are all in one room, and the dog gets sent to another room, away from the activity, he would want to be back in with the people. The thing is, for it to work, you have to take him away, immediately so he makes the connection that it's the barking that got him sent out. Also, the second he stops barking, he gets let out.

I guess it depends on the dog. I could see, I guess, that some dogs may bark because they're frustrated by being sent out. But, you could give it a try. You could also try earplugs!

In all seriousness, different things work for different dogs. Ignoring may be best. Hardest, but best. Or, removing him from the situation may work. That's the great thing about this forum. People will usually share what has worked for them. And, there is a lot of advice to choose from!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
Well, I'm no help. Our ACD mix barks, A LOT. And she's got a super annoying herder bark too. She's 14 now and nothing has worked. She'll sometimes lie on the floor and bark just because...I think she likes the sound of her own voice ;). She's too old and arthritic to jump on the back of the couch to bark at things outside, she has the BC mix (not as much of a barker) being her lookout....the young dog looks out the window, sees something, growls or just looks more alert, ACD mix takes that as her cue to start the barking. Honestly, I've given up and we've all gotten used to the dog "yelling". If it's really unacceptable, like I'm on a conference call from home with someone important with no sense of humor, I'll put her out in my car while I finish the call! I work with a woman in Indiana, who has two barkers...sometimes when we're on a call, our dogs will butt in and bark at each other over the phone line.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
952 Posts
For blocking the view out the window. I went to Michaels and found some slick, glossy like white paper, the sz of posters. Bought about 4 of them and used shipping tape to cover the bottom of my sliding glass doors in the dog room. It lets light into the room like Japanese Shoji paper. If you tape it onto a clean window surface and tape it tight against the surface of the window the dog can't get it off.

My dog is also a barker. She barks when we leave. Tongue on the ground helps immensely. Wear the dog out. Ball throwing, walking, running (not good on pavement as it's hard on the dog) And dont' forget mental exercise can be absolutely exhausting to a dog. So train tricks, basic commands anything.

3rd thing to try is NILIF. Feed the dog by frozen kongs, or treat dispensing toys. Stop feeding it in a dog food bowl. Make it work for it's dinner. You can also hide the kongs in the house and let your dog find them.

My dog will bark non-stop if I leave her at home to drive my dd to school. If I take the dog and leave her in the car when I drop off dd, then go home and walk the dog, play with a flirt pole or trick training then leave her with a frozen kong she won't bark at all. I can come and go multiple times or just leave her for 4 hours.... she won't bark after I take her with me and exercised he. I bought a digital recorder, so I know what she's up to when I leave.

Many books (Like Pat McConnell) will advise you to train the dog to bark on command. I've not done this but I understand the theory behind it. If you train a dog to bark on command, and it learns to bark on command, then it doesn't bark Unless the command is given. A neat trick to extinguish a behavior you don't like.

Good Luck, and dont' give her attention when she barks for attention.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
We tried the "bark on command" approach. Dale does, in fact, bark on command, "Speak!". She picked that right up. She still barks all the rest of the time too ;). She, I've decided, is unredeemable. I tried a citronella collar...she just kept barking, I was driving once with it on her and the whole car filled up with citronella! No mosquitoes at least ;). I can't bring myself to try a shock collar, so we've learned to live with it, obnoxious as it can be. I hope the OP's dog is more amenable to cutting out the yelling! Dale is 1/2 ACD and 1/2 JRT, explains the love of barking. Some people down the street had a similar dog, they actually did a "debark" surgery on her, I could never do that either. At least we live in a house and not an apartment, so the neighbors don't have to listen to her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
The other thing I just thought of is this: there's a great book about dogs and people and their respective behaviors, it's called "The Other End of the Leash," by Patricia McConnell. It's a neat book and very helpful in understanding dogs. Anyway, one part talks about dogs sometimes being demanding, and how, if you give into their demands all the time, they really become like spoiled children.
I just wanted to pop in and say THANK YOU for recommending this book! It's absolutely fascinating; I've been loving reading it! (Or having my Kindle read it to me...finally, an advantage to my excessive commute!)

Also: we wound up getting the aforementioned bark collar- the one that uses vibrations, not electric shocks. For the most part it seems to be doing a lot to help, though we've only had to put it on her a few times, and always with positive reinforcement as she quiets down. So far we're having considerably fewer barking problems at night when we're trying to sleep, and less during the day as well (though I generally let her bark outside; if she does it when it's too late to be appropriate I just bring her in).

She still tries to get my attention (quietly) around 3:30-4am for a potty break, but hey, one problem at a time. Next on the list is the issue of getting her to stop peeing and pooping when she's at my boyfriend's office during the day. (Complicated by the fact that the other dogs who were there started having an indoor poo/pee problem shortly prior to her arrival, and the fact that it's virtually impossible to catch her in the act! We'd like to get it to the point where she can be loose in the office, which is mostly an open space, but there are some spaces where my boyfriend can't see her.

It never ends! :)

EDIT: Oh, and I forgot...the occasional pee problem that we were having has also stopped, and I think that one's directly related to the book; she recommended playing in the area where the dog seems inclined to pee to give it that 'home' smell. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,350 Posts
Glad the book is helping! I enjoyed reading it myself! It has lots of info, but is also a very entertaining read!

I'm also glad that things are improving! :)
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top