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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 are right, you screaming at him just raises the whole 'temperature' even further.

Two things come to mind. You need to fix the cause - what makes him bark - AND you need to fix the response (the barking itself).

To fix the cause, I suspect learning impulse control would help a lot. The video below will help with that.

Once you have started on that, I like the yoghurt pot method for barking. Get a yoghurt pot, and smear the inside with wet dog food, squeezy cheese, yoghurt or anything else your dog likes. When he starts to bark, you can offer the pot to lick - he can't bark and lick at the same time.

As he is doing that, repeat the word that will become your ”quiet” cue.

After some repetitions and you think he has got it, give the cue and if he stops barking, give the pot as a reward (if he doesn't stop barking, stay at step 1 for longer).

When he is stopping on cue, gradually increase the delay between the cue and reward.

Once it is reliable, you can start fading the reward to something more convenient.
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I didn't find that worked
Sometimes - and it depends very much on the situation - a dog's barking is self rewarding, that's why ignoring it may not work.
Have you tried any of the methods above?
Yup. Sometimes it feels like we are making progress but then she does a quick 180.
That might be something called extinction burst. It's where a problem seems to get worse, because what used to get a reaction from you is no longer 'working', from the dog's perspective. So she does what she was previously doing (in this case, barking) even more. This is actually a sign that what you are doing is helping!
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.
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