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I have an 11 week old Aussie mix named Theo.
He's been generally pretty good. I don't have a crate for him but I do have a play pen.

I typically put him in his play pen when I am physically and mentally exhausted, after a walk, after training, and after playing. He takes all his naps and sleeps in there.

Occasionally when he's awake and in his pen while I am working or being busy or just wanting a short break, he barks incessantly. I've read and heard that I can't give into his barking or it'd just be reinforced. He probably barks 2-3 times a day for 5-30 minute sessions. I've been trying to ignore it, but twice after barking, he ended up peeing in the play pen.

I just feel very confused as to how to go about his barking. I definitely don't want to ignore it if it means that he needs to pee but I also don't want to reinforce it if he's just barking for attention. But it's hard to tell the difference between the two!


Thanks everyone!
 

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We have a 15 week-old cockapoo who also uses a playpen when we can't be 100% present to supervise. What I just make sure I do is always take him out to pee right before leaving him in there and then I know if he is barking, it isn't because he needs to pee. I make sure to watch the clock and if it has been at least an hour and he starts barking, I go to the pen, ask him to sit, leash him and we immediately goo out to pee. He pretty much always pees, I think partially b/c he is conditioned to pee as soon as he gets out. But at least that way I feel like I am rewarding the bark with a potty trip and hopefully reinforcing that he bark if he needs to go to the bathroom.
 

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What I always did with my puppies is let them know that barking to me means they have to go outside and pee. So if they barked, leash went on, we went outside and stood around. No playing, no real interaction. Of course if they pottied, I threw them a little party.
They pretty quickly realized that barking was not going to get them the attention they wanted, and only began to bark when they needed to go outside. (They actually don't bark anymore, they go to the door and stare pointedly at me until I let them out).
 

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My dog literally never barks. If we're in a really intense game of tug, she'll play bark but that's it. Never whines to go out, never barked when people came to the door, nothing. Haha. BUT I actually read that some people use the barking as a trick. They create a cue to bark and a cue to be quiet. It teaches the dog to only bark on command. I'm not sure of the specifics but something worth looking into. If I had a link handy, I'd post it.
 

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Thank you for the advice everyone!
@MHDDOG2016 and @Shandula, how long did it take before your pup began to associate barking with bathroom?

and @Aspen726, I am terribly jealous. I wish that my pup wasn't as vocal T-T

Ha- I don't know that he does yet, LOL. It's just that I always take him out as the first response to the barking and he almost always pees right away, so not sure if it is luck, conditioning, or that he IS actually barking to pee. He still will sometimes bark to get attention in the pen but will quickly settle down after 5 minutes or so with no response.
 

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Both of my guys were very fast to realize that barking meant going outside. Maybe a week for my Aussie. My BC had some housebreaking issues that weren't her fault, so closer to 2 or 3 weeks maybe.
 

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Definitely take him out to pee when he barks, and put him right back in afterwards. He's probably barking because he wants to be with you, but he'll learn that barking only gets him a bathroom break.

I have a Mini Aussie who also barks when he's in "isolation". He just wants to be near me all the time, to have the freedom to follow me around. I've done some training exercises (Kikopup on Youtube has one about teaching your dog to love being left alone) and I've tried ignoring him. Not sure if either of these things actually worked though he's coming up on 14 weeks and it is starting to get better. I think very young puppies just don't have the tolerance for being by themselves, so it's a slower process than we might hope.
 

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I just wrote a post about my recent (possible) success with barking. Basically, I just leave the room. Come back when she's quiet. She's quickly come to understand that I can't play 24/7 and that I'm not going to hang out in the same room as her if she's barking. Yes, it's sort of negative reinforcement, but it's kind of a natural consequence, and reality. I don't want to be in the same room as barking.
 
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