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Discussion Starter #1
I used this method (common, I think) to train my dog to be quiet. First, I taught him to speak. No problem there, loved it. Never see him get something so fast lol. Then I taught him quiet, using classical conditioning--giving him a reward every time he got quiet. He's been doing it consistently.

But NOW he's just barking randomly and looking at me. I have just been ignoring him because I figured out what's going on. But now he figured out to go to the door and bark. I live in an apartment and can never be certain when someone is actually out there (the main reason I taught him this command). Because of this, I never use "quiet" in his crate--even though I'd love for him to be quiet.

How do I cure him of this? I was really happy that he finally got quiet, but he figured out how to game me, too.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
This is getting serious, please help asap!! I'm absolutely losing it. I'm just ignoring it and looking away, but it is getting worse. I would work on some other skills, but I just don't have the time right now. I live in an apartment and the guy upstairs is getting really mad. I didn't mention that he's always hated his crate but used to settle down after a few minutes with his kong, but now he's barking sporadically all night long. What can I do?? Any advice is really appreciated.
 

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Dog is barking because he is bored and is wanting attention. Play games, train tricks, try puzzle games, fetch, flirt pole. Some fun games are hiding treats/kibble throughout your house and teach find it. Put treat/kibble in cardboard boxes and let him rip it up. Tape it for more difficulty, stack them within each other, etc. Do some body handling/ nail trim sessions.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No, I know when he's bored. He is begging for treats. He has learned that if he barks, I cue quiet, and he gets a treat, so he's playing me by barking so I cue quiet and he gets treats. I play find it, am teaching tricks, and teaching "drop it" so we can play fetch. We spend at least 1/2 hour a day training (broken up) and go for at least one one-hour walk a day. He's not bored, I promise you. Appreciate your input, but this is treat running.
 

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I'm going to hazard a guess that the issue is in phasing out treat delivery OR your dog has discovered it's rewarding to bark because"
bark=treat=YAY!!
bark=0 treat=STILL yayyy!!!

It sounds like you're doing a great deal of training so bored I'm not thinking is the issue. I've read that 'speak' as well as 'sitting pretty' was not the sort of thing to teach a young dog. I can see why now.

The off button on this one is tricky. Would love to hear what others have to say about this situation.
I'd try phasing out treats in favor of unreliable delivery & transfer to praise to see if that helps.

Then only praise when the bark is warranted. I'm pretty sure if there's a burglar outside of your apartment burgling around & he barks, then you cue him to be quiet, if the threat is real, he will keep barking. Hence doing what you want (scaring said burglar) away & alerting you of someone outside your door.

Maybe you could open the door & check if there's someone there each time he barks or alerts.

Then, if there's someone there for real, treat. Might want to try that with a friend or 2 helping.
 

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No, I know when he's bored. He is begging for treats. He has learned that if he barks, I cue quiet, and he gets a treat, so he's playing me by barking so I cue quiet and he gets treats. I play find it, am teaching tricks, and teaching "drop it" so we can play fetch. We spend at least 1/2 hour a day training (broken up) and go for at least one one-hour walk a day. He's not bored, I promise you. Appreciate your input, but this is treat running.
Oh okay.

I taught my dog the same way and he's very food motivated and I never had this problem, but my dog does bark annoyingly when he is bored or frustrated when no one pays attention to him. I just tell him "quiet" and if he doesn't then I send him to his crate. I just feel it's strange a dog would bark and bark and bark just because you've taught this command. Have you tried a relaxation protocol? Teach to relax on a mat and practice a "place, settle" command?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes, maybe not the right thing to do. In essence, I've taught a reactive dog who barks his head off when someone passes the door (which is quite often, since I'm in an apartment) to bark all day, on and off. Sigh.

I have read a lot about this in the interim (desperate for an answer), and there are two essential things I have learned:

1) It is essential to give treats (for food motivated dog) while doing classical conditioning (e.g., "quiet"); but
2) It is really time to phase out treats for those skills he really has down (sit, down, up, etc.).

I've been over-reliant on the treats, I confess. But I think if he gets the idea that a treat is NOT ALWAYS coming if he does what I say, maybe with a more unreliable (new) command, he'll get the point, too. It can't hurt, and it's about time.

But for this particular skill, I think it is really important to treat every time he is quiet where there is a "legitimate" bark. I just need to discern when that is. I think opening the door to check is an excellent idea. But I know, from watching last night, that when he is really barking he gets wound up and I need to do the shaker can thing just to get his attention to show him "quiet," and even then he is generally not responding quickly. Oh, and I am having two neighbors helping with the knocking on a daily basis, but we need to prep it in advance so I'm all set up with shaker can, clicker, and treats.

I can't remember where I read it, but some book addressed the issue of "treat running," and it did say to just ignore the behavior and begin phasing out treats. Like I said, he is reliant in terms of training--when I taught him "speak" then "quiet" a la this excellent video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vtn8NhofOw; that training is now definitely over because he's got that), but not where "real barking" occurs. Then, I need to whip out the treats.

I just think it is funny because I thought he was a little dumb, but now I really can't say that. I mean, getting from point A to point B, then adding the component of sitting at the door, point C? ANYTHING FOR FOOD. lol

Also, as suggested by Yin and others, I've been taking most of his daily allotment of kibble for training purposes. Maybe I've created a very hungry Frankenstein. Gotta reconsider that.

I've also read about extinction burst, where the behavior gets much worse before it gets better. I witnessed that myself for loose leash walking and even "sit."

Thanks guys for your input. If anybody knows more about getting that off button fixed quickly, would LOVE to hear it!
 

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I'd go back to basics on the training from that video and specially only treat for barks that are asked for like the video explained. If you don't ask for the bark then don't reward, even for the quiet. If he barks without asking just walk off and find something else interesting and get him to do the alternate behavior/play.
 

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I would certainly quit treating him when he barks without you asking him to even if he stops when you tell him to. The idea is teaching them to bark on command, then treating when you tell them quiet when they stop. It is not to treat them when they bark on their own even if they stop when you tell them quiet. It is the same with obedience commands, you don't give your dog a treat every time it walks up to you and sits unless you have told them to sit. It is going to take a little while now that he has learned that if he barks he gets a treat.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I would certainly quit treating him when he barks without you asking him to even if he stops when you tell him to. The idea is teaching them to bark on command, then treating when you tell them quiet when they stop. It is not to treat them when they bark on their own even if they stop when you tell them quiet. It is the same with obedience commands, you don't give your dog a treat every time it walks up to you and sits unless you have told them to sit. It is going to take a little while now that he has learned that if he barks he gets a treat.
Yeah, I don't treat him when he barks. That was a VERY short term thing, as per the video I referenced above. I only treat him for "quiet." He knows this. It is an uncued bark, then (if I choose to do it), "quiet," then a treat. He just figured out that if he barks and then is quiet, he gets a treat for "quiet." THIS is the problem. I'm just ignoring him when he is barking for the purpose of getting a treat after I cue for "quiet." Sorry if I was unclear.
 

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Yeah, I don't treat him when he barks. That was a VERY short term thing, as per the video I referenced above. I only treat him for "quiet." He knows this. It is an uncued bark, then (if I choose to do it), "quiet," then a treat. He just figured out that if he barks and then is quiet, he gets a treat for "quiet." THIS is the problem. I'm just ignoring him when he is barking for the purpose of getting a treat after I cue for "quiet." Sorry if I was unclear.
You need to pair the praise together for the whole process otherwise the dog is going to learn to bark because it cues the quiet command and they get treated.When you get to the point of phasing out the treats for asked barks and quiet then do it at the same pace so he still links the asked bark with the asked quiet and treat.


If you only treat for barks that are asked for and then treat for the quiet then it teaches the dog to only bark when asked. The problem is you're treating for any type of bark for being quiet afterwards, not just when asked.

I think this is a method only used for dogs that bark for attention or through anxiety. If your dog is barking because it's reactive then I'd try CC instead.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You need to pair the praise together for the whole process otherwise the dog is going to learn to bark because it cues the quiet command and they get treated.When you get to the point of phasing out the treats for asked barks and quiet then do it at the same pace so he still links the asked bark with the asked quiet and treat.


If you only treat for barks that are asked for and then treat for the quiet then it teaches the dog to only bark when asked. The problem is you're treating for any type of bark for being quiet afterwards, not just when asked.

I think this is a method only used for dogs that bark for attention or through anxiety. If your dog is barking because it's reactive then I'd try CC instead.
Ok; he understands "bark," and "quiet," when cued. Do you mean that I should continue the paired cues and then phase out all treats before correcting for quiet in situ? If so, I've totally misunderstood. Please explain--I'd love to understand, because if so, that could be the key to this whole thing.

But everything I've read is that reactivity is "quieted" by this method; even the trainer in the video knocks on the door and instructions on this say to have other people knock on the door to practice. I really thought I was doing this correctly.

Most importantly: what is CC??
 

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Ok; he understands "bark," and "quiet," when cued. Do you mean that I should continue the paired cues and then phase out all treats before correcting for quiet in situ? If so, I've totally misunderstood. Please explain--I'd love to understand, because if so, that could be the key to this whole thing.

But everything I've read is that reactivity is "quieted" by this method; even the trainer in the video knocks on the door and instructions on this say to have other people knock on the door to practice. I really thought I was doing this correctly.

Most importantly: what is CC??
No, if you're correcting the bark and he's listening still treat but with regards to the barks he's doing because he learned it may give him a treat you either need to ignore it, redirect to another behavior or treat for the quiet and phase out fairly quickly or he'll continue to bark and wait for the quiet command. Still keep practicing the asking for bark and quiet and treat for both but ignore any he does without asking.

CC is counter condition, it means you make the trigger mundane and make them think it doesn't need a reaction. The thing is with reactive dogs is that they don't often listen to commands because they're over threshold and focusing on the thing they're wary about.

CC might work better for you if he's reacting to the door i think.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
No, if you're correcting the bark and he's listening still treat but with regards to the barks he's doing because he learned it may give him a treat you either need to ignore it, redirect to another behavior or treat for the quiet and phase out fairly quickly or he'll continue to bark and wait for the quiet command. Still keep practicing the asking for bark and quiet and treat for both but ignore any he does without asking.

CC is counter condition, it means you make the trigger mundane and make them think it doesn't need a reaction. The thing is with reactive dogs is that they don't often listen to commands because they're over threshold and focusing on the thing they're wary about.

CC might work better for you if he's reacting to the door i think.
Yes, I think so. Like I said, I've made an occasionally barky dog a regular barker (sigh). So basically, just ignore it per CC--like I was doing before?
 

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I would crate him every time he barks when you haven't asked him to. Let him out of the crate when he is quiet. Once he learns that barking=something he hates, he will be much less likely to do so.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks; I heard that punishing by putting in crate just makes him hate the crate more. Plus he has horrible separation anxiety; he barks every time I am out of the room if he is in the crate. I can't see that helping. Does anyone else think this is a good method?
 

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If you crate him regularly, I wouldn't use the rate as punishment personally. I'd want the crate to be a safe relaxing place for him. Maybe instead of crating him, just turn/walk away from him, or go to another room for a moment until he quiets down, almost playing off the separation anxiety by teaching him you don't want to be around him when he is barking without being asked to.

Like others have said, now that this habit has been ingrained in him it's gonna take a little while to get out of it, but bare with him.
 

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In classical conditioning, you don't Have to use food. It's just easier and more predictable. Food may be a high value reward, but praise, tug, petting, Fetch, etc. might be adequate .... but this is only for future reference ... and to provide a bridge for this suggestion.

Change the treat! Rather than providing sirloin, drop down to hamburger, then kibble, then a piece of wet cardboard :)

Seriously, reduce the size of the treat, until it is only a taste ... dime-sized. If you are already there, then go to a piece of steamed green bean or broccoli, then a small piece of kibble. Then, you can start variable rewards OR you can start variable rewards in the beginning...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Just an update: he is barking ALL DAY LONG now--I truly created a monster. I would stress that the poster above is right: don't teach "quiet" if your dog just barks at the door! It is a disaster (or was for me, at least). Trying classical conditioning--redirecting and treat--but I think I need to use a higher value treat; I've been lazy and just using his regular ones.

Thanks all for the input.
 

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I had a GSD mix that alert barked at length if a leaf blew across a yard a mile away. I taught the quiet command, but I slowly lengthened the required quiet time to get the treat. So, at first, 1 second for treat, then 3, then 5, and on and on until he was eventually getting treated after a few minutes, and then not every time.

It's also helpful to reward good behavior you didn't ask for. So, if I saw Muggsy laying quietly, or chewing on his own toys, or sitting at the window not barking, I'd reward him. He cottoned on to what I liked- what earned him rewards- pretty quickly.
 
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