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Barking In The House - Suggestions Please


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Paulie moved in with us just over two weeks ago. He joins Ringo, his litter mate, who we have had for 18 months. They will be 5 at the end of August. Paul had a long racing career, retiring at the very end of December '09. He retired to Grey Haven and I brought him home from there at the end of March.

 

While Ringo is a very laid back, social boy, Paul is very shy and takes a while to get comfortable with new people. He was very comfortable with me, almost right away. His shyness and fear show are apparent by his avoiding, backing off from new people and pacing in the house. No signs of aggression at all though, and he has no problem "telling Ringo off" with a bark if Ringo tries to help himself to Paul's food bowl. That said, he has made amazing progress in two short weeks. He has mastered the steps and sleeps in our room on his dog bed next to Ringo. Though his crate remains set up and open at all times, he has not set foot inside it for nearly a week. He no longer flees the room when my kids walk in.

 

About 3-4 days after arriving at our home, Paul began barking as soon as he ran outside. I took this as a sign that he was starting to see the yard as his home/territory, and rather than running from strange sounds, he was "sounding an alarm", i.e. watch dog behavior. I don't see this as a problem, unless its very early or late and prolonged barking will wake the neighbors. (In those cases, I'll go out back and call him over to me, bring him inside as soon as he's potty'd.)

 

That behavior has decreased during his second week at home, but he has "made up for it" by increasingly barking inside at seemingly random times. (Though I'm sure they're not random to him.) He might see or hear something that we don't and he appears to be "sounding an alarm." The problem with this is that everytime he suddenly starts barking, we all jump out of our skin from the startle of it. Ringo never barks unexpectedly, so we're not used to it. If he does it at night, then he wakes up the kids. Needless to say, he has DH on edge. (Imagine sitting enjoying your morning coffee and the sports page when someone sneaks up behind you and blows an air horn. Now repeat, at random 4-10 times throughout the day.)

 

So far, I've tried calming and reassuring him the first few days, but as he get's more confident in the house the barking seems to be increasing. While I don't want to do anything to hinder his settling into his new home and adapting to pet life, I also want him to learn to use his "inside voice" and save the barking for the playgound. So, beginning last night, I began responding with a sharp "STOP!" which he does, but usually just starts right up again. DH is doing similar "KNOCK it OFF!" but I am concerned about DH's reaction being more of a set back for Paul learning to trust all the members of his new family.

 

I know two weeks is a very short time for him to have been in a home environment, especially after a long race career. That is especially why I'd like to see what fellow GTers have to advise, because I really want to do right by Paulie and avoid a situation where family begins to get annoyed by him.

Edited by dlgwarner

Mom to:

Littermates Ringo (Pak Sgt Pepper)at the bridge, Paul (Pak Penny Lane) and John (Pak Let it Be). The three reunited Beatle Brothers.

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Guest Swifthounds

Quick question for you: What happens when he starts barking (like at the morning coffee routine)? IOW what's the reaction from everyone (dog and people)? I'm not faulting you at all. Having a barker after having a non-barker is quite a change. That he has tried the "barking out of nowhere" in several venues suggests to me that he's doing it for a purpose, and sometimes that has to do with getting a reaction...

 

Over the long term with a barker, and regardless of other things you can do, I would teach him "speak" and "quiet." It's a more long term solution to unwanted barking and is waaaay more helpful than you'd think.

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IMHO, you don't need to baby the dog just because he's shy of strangers; I think your husband is closer to the right reaction. Reassuring and comforting a dog when he'd doing something you don't want him to do is telling him it's OK.

 

I'd consider teaching him to speak, and then "no speak." That often works really well! Since he's inclined to bark anyway, the bonding time teaching him to bark on command will be healthy, and then you can counter inappropriate barking with "no speak." Shouting "knock it off" certainly expresses annoyance at the behavior, but I find a very specific command works better like (like "speak" and "no speak').


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest mcsheltie

IMHO, you don't need to baby the dog just because he's shy of strangers; I think your husband is closer to the right reaction. Reassuring and comforting a dog when he'd doing something you don't want him to do is telling him it's OK.

 

I'd consider teaching him to speak, and then "no speak." That often works really well! Since he's inclined to bark anyway, the bonding time teaching him to bark on command will be healthy, and then you can counter inappropriate barking with "no speak." Shouting "knock it off" certainly expresses annoyance at the behavior, but I find a very specific command works better like (like "speak" and "no speak').

This... or teach him to sit or down. I let them bark three times, then I say "enough" and I ask for another behavior. When they sit (or whatever) then I reward them for doing that. The point is rather than use punishment for an unwanted behavior, focus them on a wanted behavior and reward for it.

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Guest Swifthounds

This... or teach him to sit or down. I let them bark three times, then I say "enough" and I ask for another behavior. When they sit (or whatever) then I reward them for doing that. The point is rather than use punishment for an unwanted behavior, focus them on a wanted behavior and reward for it.

 

Very good suggestion, especially with a dog new to your house. With any unwanted behavior (not just barking) you want to interrupt the behavior (here it's the "enough" but it could be anything) and redirect their energy. It's very effective to teach by the positive training or interrupting/disrupting, redirecting, and then rewarding the good behavior.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't do well with barking - I'm a greyhound person, and many greys are very quiet. Our current foster, however, thought he'd be a barker.

 

I understand that you don't want to scare a new dog - that's good - but - it's also important to let a dog know what IS and IS NOT acceptable. I find that clapping my hands once loudly - and saying HUSH! in a strong voice, gets the attention - then, redirect. Call the dog to you, and praise it for coming. That's the low tech version. Stop the behavior, redirect, and reward for the dog redirecting. I react at the FIRST bark. You can teach an alternate behavior as others have suggested.

 

Barking outside is harder to correct (I still haven't managed that with our foster) but in the house, not that hard. Dogs need direction and rules and guidance. Don't be afraid to give it.

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Our grey barks, too. Though we've been able to narrow down the why and when. I agree with the others that say to interrupt and then re-direct.

 

I think it is also important to be consistent--- so whatever you guys decide to do, both you and the DH need to do it the same way, using the same terms. If you say "stop" and your DH says "Knock it off" --- it's confusing for a dog. Decide on the term (stop, hush, quiet, etc) and stick with it.

 

 

Jennifer, Mike and the menagerie ---

Molly (Blue Sky Dreamin), Tinker (BT My Lil Girl) and their feline brothers Miles and Lewis

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Is he barking a lot, or just a couple woofs and then quiet all by himself? If the latter, I'd just ignore him. He's still getting used to all the sounds of your house and 'hood, and it'll help him to experience everybody else completely ignoring whatever it was.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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