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Barking barking barking for attention!

1782 Views 23 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  rott-pei
Hello everyone,

I have a 55 pound Shepherd Blue Healer mix. When we go out and play he starts barking if I don’t throw the frisbee or ball fast enough. If I turn to talk to someone he starts barking barking barking. If I go over to the neighbors and he hears or sees me he starts barking barking barking. Sometimes if I’m busy and I don’t play with him he starts barking to get my attention. He also barks at every dog that goes by and I mean barks like he’s gonna rip your throat out. It’s so loud and shrill I scream at him. I know screaming is not a good thing but I jumped out of my skin at the sound of his bark. He does stop but I’m sure the whole neighborhood hears me. Yes I am reactive. I don’t know how to stop the barking. Anybody, suggestions, help, please. I feel horrible but I’m so reactive and I don’t know how to stop his barking or me being jolted by the shrill of his bark. I’m surprised my ears don’t start bleeding bc of the sound. Thanks for any suggestions.

Robin and Buddy the Bambino K9
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You made me laugh as you're so on point. I know that yelling makes it worse. I just jump out of my skin every time. I will try to control MY impulses better 🤐 while on work on his. I will attempt your method. I need to do something besides get myself all jazzed up which gets HIM more jazzed up. Thanks for the tip. Will do!
R and B the K9
It's a teachable moment.

1) He wants you to throw the frisbee.
2) He's barking to get you to throw the frisbee
3) you throw the frisbee.

See where I'm going with this? It's a learned behaviour. Dog barks, he gets what he wants....

You need to flip the script.

1) dog wants you to throw the frisbee
2) dog barks to get what he wants
3) you bring him back to a clamer state of mind.
4) the dog stops barking and "sits" (or whatever you decide indicates a calm state of mind)
5) you throw the frisbee.

My point here is that the REWARD (throwing the frisbee) must come as a result of the DESIRED behaviour (being calm). As long as you keep throwing the frisbee in order to "shut him up" then he will continue to bark and it will get worse.

See where I'm going with this?
You made me laugh too. I'm so reactive I'm an idiot. I will try to control my nerves and do the treat when I get him to a calmer state. R and B the K9
I have the same issue with my dog. My trainer told me to ignore her, and when she calmed, to reward her then. I didn't find that worked, though it's a technique.

What has been working better is I have treats with me, the second she starts barking I call her over, do some tricks with her (target is a great one), and make her lay down. When she's down, I treat her. Usually the stimulus is still ongoing so when she's down she hears the stimulus, but I treat her for not reacting. I'm not completely successful yet, but her 'fits' are much shorter in duration, and she's more responsive to me in those moments.
Thanks for the response. I'm in the process of making chicken. He will do ANYTHING for chicken. I will update my progress! R and B the K9
In addition to the very valid point made by @dogslife, I would add that both Shepherds and Blue Heelers are very vocal dogs by nature, so to some extent you may be battling genetics here as well. I've only had 1 Blue Heeler over the years, and she was an awesome cattle dog, but a bit of a yapper. All of which to say that you can probably lessen the barking as dogslife pointed out by rewarding behavior you want, but you may have to settle for "better" not perfect due to the breed.
Good point, I never thought of that. I'll take better not perfect. I am going to try the "treat" today.
yeah, yelling at the dog for being reactive isn't going to help. To the contrary. The dog will recieve that as "barking because I am barking". It will reinforce the behaviour.

What you can do if the dog is on a lead is to abruptly change directions in response to reactive behaviour. For example if he starts barking at another dog then literally make a 90 degree turn to the left or right. This also works if the dog is pulling on the lead.

I think you also understand, even if it's hard for you, that reacting to the behaviour also validates the behaviour. You need to set the example. If you want your dog to respond calmly then YOU must respond calmly. Insofar as your dog is taking behavioural cues from you, you must model the behaviour you want to see.

Case in point, my dog runs up t o a window in our living room and barks when he hears another dog barking outside. I will go and stand beside him (I don't admonish him for barking) and say, "what is it"? what do you see?". Once there is nothing else for him to react to I say, "OK, done!" and he stops barking. This plays in to the dog's natural behaviour but sets a boundary.
Once my dog sees another dog outside he doesn't know he goes wild. Barking, growling running to the next room for the window. I literally have to pull him out of the room of just keep the door shut. Apartment life is not for him (or me). We always had a house and this behavior was non existent. But...........that's a whole different story. He's actually very friendly. He likes a lot of dogs especially little dogs. There's only a few he doesn't like and we avoid them. Story for another day. At this point I want him to stop barking for attention so I can actually take him out and be around others.
The day before he let out a bark and I said "quiet" and went in to my pocket for chicken pieces. He stopped immediately. Success! Yesterday he looked at me and started barking barking barking. He was so loud he didn't hear me say "quiet". I grabbed him by the collar and of course he stopped. Not the best method. If I can catch him prior to the tirade, treats might help. If not I'm going try ignoring him and walk away.
Do you guys do much brain work at home? Could be just sniffing out treats hidden around the room. You could go deeper into scent work and things like that, but maybe if you could work out his brain, he will feel more satisfied and not seek to bark as much at the windows? Maybe simple training sessions? I try to teach my puppy at least one new thing a day. Could be easy like jumping up on the sofa and back down again? Or jumping over or under your legs, weaving through as you walk? I usually don't use treats for this, I just use toys and teach them as we 'play'.
We do zero brain work at home. Did did quite a bit when he was a puppy but have become quite lazy now that he's 8 y.o. He's becoming an old man so some times I get ignored. Not sure if he will respond unless there's chicken involved. I could try it with treats. Thanks!
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Have you tried any of the methods above?
I started ignoring him. I walk away in the opposite direction and say 'leaving' or 'going home' and he stops. So far it's worked. However, I do like the clicker video. When he would not respond to clicker training. His ears would go back, he could turn his head and ignore. I may try it again. If it's distracting it might work.
We don't do a lot of brainwork. He can sit, lie down, but he doesn't often hold a stay. He listened more when he was a puppy. I will need to work more at his behavior.
I actually meant the new person who asked, but your comment about the clicker makes me wonder if you are using it correctly. The dog isn't expected to respond to a clicker - it's the clicker that responds to something the dog has done.

If you want more information on that, please do shout out.
Sorry my bad........
When the trainer used the clicker he showed the behavior I noted. I can't recall what the situation was when he used it.
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