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Hi there,

This is my first post here. I am seeking help for my dog. She is a 3 year old Shepherd/Beagle mix. We rescued her back in 2010. She was already a year old. Her first few days with us, she was very quiet. And here we were thinking, wow we have such a nice quiet dog. Wrong! She barks at everything. I mean everything. We took her to a training course at Petsmart and were told when she gets overly barky, we bring her in for a "time out." We would do that, we'd bring her in and she would be quiet but as soon as we let her out, she only started up again. We bought "Bark Off" from As Seen on TV. It was useless. We then tried a shock collar which worked for like maybe 2 weeks until I think she got used to it and just didn't care if she got shocked or what. We were going to bring a trainer to the house to work with her, but we also lived with my in laws (who have a dog) and figured if we trained our dog, their dog will need training too, because she was just as bad and would likely reinforce bad behavior on our dog. Needless to say, it never happened. My husband and I finally just moved out and into a new home with our dog. I am now concerned that her excessive barking will piss off our new neighbors. I really wanna get it under control. If I put her in the yard, she barks every time they open their gate, anytime she hears another dog in the distance, people jog by, kids walk by...she is barking. I can't even leave the living room shades open because she sees everything and barks. We looked online at something called the Dog Silencer Pro. But it gets such mixed reviews. Some say it's great, others say it was worthless. She is a sweet dog and she's very smart. But I think she just feels dominant over us (she probably is by now) so she refuses to listen. I think she also may have some socialization issues. We don't know what her first year alive was like so I don't know if she was abused or basically just isolated from other people and other animals. We really wanna get her help and get this barking under control. We are desperate for information, but mostly advice. Thank you!
 

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The first step would be to find out WHY she's barking. Dogs bark for different reasons. It sounds as if it might be partially "alert barking" because it happens when she hears/sees something she thinks you need to know about.

The tip you were given at Petsmart can work, but only if you remove her and go into time out EVERY time she barks. So, if that means you do a time out, and then come back, and she barks again, you do a time out again. If it takes 15 time outs in a row, that's what you have to do. Otherwise, you are sending mixed signals. I realize if you have signed up for a class, it is a waste of your $ to keep leaving the class, and coming back, and leaving and coming back, because you are not there for some of the instruction. BUT, if you remain in the class and allow her to bark, but SOMETIMES take her for a time out, then you are confusing her.

You can do the same thing at home, but in conjunction with that, I would teach the "quiet" command. Here's how we did it:
- dog barks, you stick a smelly, tasty treat under their nose.
- they usually stop barking to investigate.
- say "GOOD QUIET!" in a super happy voice.
- give the treat.
Repeat this, as you are teaching a forever habit (hopefully), not just trying to reprimand and get her to stop on one occasion. Gradually require her to remain quiet for longer before she gets the treat. Start with 5 seconds, then after a couple days, try 15 seconds, then 25, etc.

Once she learns what "quiet" means to you, then, when she barks, give the command. If she responds, great, she gets the reward. If she doesn't, you can put her in a time out spot until she's quiet, and then return. BUT, same as above, you have to repeat as necessary.

As for when you aren't home, I would confine her in an interior room with no windows, if you can. That way, she can't see out.

She's not barking for dominance. But, you are, in a way, confusing her by trying a lot of different techniques. I know it's frustrating, but I would try training like this before any of those products you mentioned, because, as you say, if she becomes accustomed to being zapped, it's not going to work.
Good luck! :)
 

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Thank you for your reply. I wish I understood why she barked all the time. I mean, it's everything. A bird, a squirrel, another dog, another person. When I walk her, I usually have to avoid encounters with other dogs because she goes absolutely crazy when she sees one. And not in a "I am going to kill you" crazy but more like "oh another dog! let's be friends! I wanna meet you!" Which is why I think she maybe was isolated at a young age because she goes so crazy when meeting another dog. Like overly excited as if she's hardly been socialized.
I will definitely try your "quiet" command. I am willing to try anything at this point.
 
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