Dog Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So Fiona is almost a year old now. Dane/Pit/Lab mix.

This behavior started about three months ago and it's continuously growing worse. My grandpa's dog stayed with us for two weeks while he had his knee replaced and I'm not sure if Fiona gained this behavior from her, because she does it as well (Pit as well, very noise sensitive, any out of the ordinary noise sets her off into barking).

What happens is there is a noise, usually from me or one of my family members, getting excited at the tv, or just sort of making any sort of higher pitched vocal yelping noise in conversation or playing games or something and Fiona will start growling and barking and always runs to the door. If we let her out she goes nuts and starts barking and howling and tearing around the yard. She knows its us making the noises yet it triggers her to want to go outside and bark and sprint around our property?

Sometimes my dad encourages it by howling and getting her riled up and then letting her go outside and freak out because he thinks its funny. Which I KNOW is not helping the situation at all.

It's gotten to the point where any noise will set her off and start her with her growling (this isn't aggressive, its more of a rumbling groan almost? Like its just her getting amped up) and she'll rumble on and on for minutes even if the noise isn't repeated. If it IS repeated then she jumps up and starts howling and generally goes nuts.

A. Why is she hearing US make the noise but then want to go outside and bark and run around our house barking? She knows its us so why the strange behavior?

B. How in the world do I make her knock it off? "No's" and vocal corrections are not working and my dad in particular is not being cooperative with consistently discouraging the behavior. I'm guessing he's a huge part of the problem but disregarding him, are there any tips I can use to break her focus once she zeroes in on a noise?

Please help y'all. She's driving me up the wall and I can't imagine it's fun for her to always be on guard like this. Thanks in advance!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Those are wonderful questions, it proves you are considering all the things your dog is doing.
Some dogs more than others, particularly dogs with some form of OCD or Fixation behavior, can be highly sensitive to noises and react to them in strange ways. They may think you are barking at the door, they may just get riled up, they may have been rewarded in the past for their behavior, or they could have pent up energy they want to work out of their system. Finding the reason behind the behavior can be difficult, but correcting it, though sometimes a process needing patience, can be quite simple if your dog is food and praise motivated.

First, make sure Fiona is getting lots of good exercise so that pent of energy is not the cause. OCD and Fixation behaviors decrease with optimum exercise, especially with mental stimulation (playing fetch, agility, trick training, ect, anything that uses the mind as well as the body).

It should be noted that dogs often have contagious barking, and if they hear one bark they all want to bark, riling one another up for the purpose of bonding and forming a goal. Perhaps Fiona is finding it to be a bonding period when you get up to let her out, or call her name when she does it, or when your father howls with her (this is a form of praise to her, which could make it more difficult to break the habit).

Barking is very hard to stop with correction, I'm not sure why, but dogs just don't seem to understand it well. Instead, I would suggest you teach her another behavior when she hears a noise. The best is to come up and sit in front of you, or rest her head on your lap so that she feels as though she is still bonding and getting a point across. This can be a slow process, again, but teaching her to sit, stay, lie down, come, and only rewarding silent and calm behavior should work miracles.

It is important everyone in the family works towards this goal together, or she will get confused. If she wants to run around outback and bark, have her sit first and then play a game with her so she doesn't focus on the barking or howling. Some dogs love to howl, and letting them do so is fine, but find a way to stop her when she is down. You could try telling her good girl after you have a "howl session" with her at a specific time of day (you start it, not her) and then moving on to something else. I know we howl with our dogs and they love it, but when we tell them good and all done, they quiet down and come over for some praise and pettings.

I hope this helps! Best of luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
First, make sure Fiona is getting lots of good exercise so that pent of energy is not the cause. OCD and Fixation behaviors decrease with optimum exercise, especially with mental stimulation (playing fetch, agility, trick training, ect, anything that uses the mind as well as the body).

It should be noted that dogs often have contagious barking, and if they hear one bark they all want to bark, riling one another up for the purpose of bonding and forming a goal. Perhaps Fiona is finding it to be a bonding period when you get up to let her out, or call her name when she does it, or when your father howls with her (this is a form of praise to her, which could make it more difficult to break the habit).

Barking is very hard to stop with correction, I'm not sure why, but dogs just don't seem to understand it well. Instead, I would suggest you teach her another behavior when she hears a noise. The best is to come up and sit in front of you, or rest her head on your lap so that she feels as though she is still bonding and getting a point across. This can be a slow process, again, but teaching her to sit, stay, lie down, come, and only rewarding silent and calm behavior should work miracles.

It is important everyone in the family works towards this goal together, or she will get confused. If she wants to run around outback and bark, have her sit first and then play a game with her so she doesn't focus on the barking or howling. Some dogs love to howl, and letting them do so is fine, but find a way to stop her when she is down. You could try telling her good girl after you have a "howl session" with her at a specific time of day (you start it, not her) and then moving on to something else. I know we howl with our dogs and they love it, but when we tell them good and all done, they quiet down and come over for some praise and pettings.

I hope this helps! Best of luck!
Hi! Thank you for the really thoughtful reply, I appreciate it.

Fiona gets two walks a day and both are a couple miles each, plus she romps around with our other pup so I think her exercise levels are decent. She's probably the most low energy dog I've ever had in fact, she'll just snooze on the couch all day if I'd let her (and if she doesn't hear any noises!).

Your points on contagious barking and bonding seem like that might be something thats happening. Her reacting is definitely to noises we make 95% of the time, not usually the tv or anything like that. So it does seem she's responding to US, not just any little noise.

I'll try and start training. She really likes to sit and 'shake' but not much else, so maybe we can try that when she starts rumbling. I had a talk with my dad tonight about not purposefully doing it anymore, or at least until we can get her to settle down when we want her to.

It is nice to know that you can still have howl parties with your dogs though, because it is sort of fun sometimes. I wouldn't mind her doing it if we could get her to be less reactive and settle when we ask.

So yeah, thank you! You've given me a lot to think about!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Cheerio has always been set off by the doorbell, knocking or when people come over. We tried so many things. He did not growl, but did little uff-uffs under his breath even when he stopped barking.

Recently I have been re-reading The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs by Patricia McConnell. It is an amazing book and she covered this topic. Here is one excerpt of the relevant bits you might find interesting. Starts on page 50 and then moves into the section that I am using to correct Cheerio's barking.

Barking dogs are often frightened dogs, and the louder they get, the more panicked they are.... Barking appears to be directed toward 2 different receivers. One is, of course, the intruder ("I see you. Can't sneak up on me. Better watch out!"), but barking is also directed toward the rest of the pack (Help! Trouble at the west boarder!") The pack usually comes running, responding to their pack members danger signal....It's doubtful that dogs read loud vocal displays as dominant or impressive. Rather, they might see them as a sign of fear or as a sign that we don't have a lot of control. Many people to whom dogs are drawn are laconic and soft-spoken. I think their lack of "barking" is perceived as a sign of leadership, and dogs are drawn to their sense of selfconfidence.
Here is what we are doing now based on page 52.

1. When he first barks, I say, "enough." (we use to say quiet, but we are having a fresh start and using the word she uses.)
2. Immediately get up (timing is everything!!!) and get a treat right up near his noise. I have a handy treat bag on me at all times.
3. Making smooching or clicking noises I get his attention and keep it focused on me because of the treat. If he does stop barking even for a second, I give him the treat.
4. If he turns away and keeps barking, I will lurer him so he is out of sight of the guest/door and give him the treat when he stops barking.
5. I will have another one handy as we walk back into the room because if he starts barking or even uffffing again, we will start the process all over. If he sees the door/person, I'll treat him again.
6. The goal would be that soon he would not need to be lead out of site and I will be able to hold the treat in my hand and praise him near the visitor. From there I hope he hears the word enough and comes looking for a treat without anymore barking!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Cheerio has always been set off by the doorbell, knocking or when people come over. We tried so many things. He did not growl, but did little uff-uffs under his breath even when he stopped barking.

Recently I have been re-reading The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs by Patricia McConnell. It is an amazing book and she covered this topic. Here is one excerpt of the relevant bits you might find interesting. Starts on page 50 and then moves into the section that I am using to correct Cheerio's barking.



Here is what we are doing now based on page 52.

1. When he first barks, I say, "enough." (we use to say quiet, but we are having a fresh start and using the word she uses.)
2. Immediately get up (timing is everything!!!) and get a treat right up near his noise. I have a handy treat bag on me at all times.
3. Making smooching or clicking noises I get his attention and keep it focused on me because of the treat. If he does stop barking even for a second, I give him the treat.
4. If he turns away and keeps barking, I will lurer him so he is out of sight of the guest/door and give him the treat when he stops barking.
5. I will have another one handy as we walk back into the room because if he starts barking or even uffffing again, we will start the process all over. If he sees the door/person, I'll treat him again.
6. The goal would be that soon he would not need to be lead out of site and I will be able to hold the treat in my hand and praise him near the visitor. From there I hope he hears the word enough and comes looking for a treat without anymore barking!
Hey I read this on my phone a few days ago and couldn't figure out how to reply, sorry it's taken me so long! Patricia McConnell actually came to my town's library to give a presentation a bunch of years ago, I remember her border collie but not much else unfortunately. Thanks a bunch for the training tips, I'm definitely going to try them out!
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top