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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I have a Malamute/Newfoundland mix named Kija who is about to turn a year old. He has always been a good dog, until recently when I had to move back to my Mother s home due to my mental illnesses becoming overwhelming due to the situation I was in previously. He always listened to me--he still does--and never barked under any circumstances at all.
The was only ever the occasional (sad) attempt at howling when sirens or the garbage truck drove by.

Here at the new home he barks only at my step-father who has a drinking problem. I have a theory that he may be acting out because my step-father would play with Kija when he was completely wasted--play as in trying to make my dog sit and lay down in a completely different language that Kija hadn't been taught or ever heard the sounds of (and yes I understand dogs don't understand languages, that the sound is what's important). The barking itself is uncontrollable and I've gone along with the ignoring Kija s being when he barks, like I did before and as the trainers I talked to suggested doing.

The problem is no one else will get on board because the barking is annoying and it also angers my too-often-drunk step-father. For him, to train a dog means to beat it into submission and I have been a bit rougher with Kija since being here, but that has only made the situation worse. I have gone back to how I originally was training Kija, by rewarding only the behaviors I want and ignoring everything I don't want. I will be moving in three months, but I can't have my boy getting shouting at for barking and I refuse to used rough tactics of teaching him.
 

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IME, a dog who has never barked before who starts barking at only one person, generally has a really good reason for barking at at person. If the playing involved you step-father's training style, that could do it. You could also start paying attention to see what your stepfather is doing when the barking starts.

Management is probably your best option. Keep Kija away from your step-dad and distract with toys/treats/training that the pup likes when you are together. Treat for when your dog is around your step-father and not barking. Remove Kija from the room/situation when he is and doesn't start responding to you.

Personally when my dogs bark (usually alert-barking when they are watching out the window), I thank them and tell them they are good which stops the behaviour because they know I am now aware of whatever it was that concerned them. You might want to try this after you leave the room with Kija. I wouldn't do it around your step-father though because it sounds like it would set him off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks

That makes since. He doesn't bark when we're in the back half of the house away from my step-dad. He's quite like I know him to be. I suspect he might know that something is off with my step-dad, because even with new people he will not bark at them consistently, just a couple times before they properly introduce themselves to him then he is back to his quiet self.
 
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