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Barking At Motorcycles


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Jeter has been here six months, and has started expanding his barking repertoire this Spring. He has begun to bark at motorcycles. The house is on a busy suburban road. It is one short block away from a traffic light intersection with a regionally popular scenic drive for motorcycles. You can hear the louder motorcycles a block away from the intersection. Jeter (now followed by Milo) will rush the fence when he hears a bike at the intersection and bark a little. If the bike actually turns down our road, he BARKS and BARKS.

 

Do you have suggestions for desensitizing him? I have a friend with a quieter motorcycle who's willing to help.

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Ellen, with brindles Milo and Jeter, and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, and Nutmeg

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Guest Dancer

No tips, but I can commiserate...my husband 'barks' at motorcycles too (okay... he actually just complains a lot). He especially hates the loud ones...

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Counter-conditioning and desensitization - should be easy, since it's such a specific thing. Would do 2 things. First, get a recording of the noise that you can play in the house repeatedly (the longer the recording the easier it will be for you). You want to play it in the house for short periods at a low enough volume that he barely notices it. That last part is crucial - the last thing you want to do is play it at a volume that causes a reaction and leads to a fear of being in his own house. ;) I would turn it on, feed him his dinner in a grass feeder or some other device (put it in a kong, a treat dispensing toy, etc.) that draws out the time it takes him, then turn it off as soon as he's done. You can also do this giving a stuffed frozen kong. When he's totally indifferent to the noise at that volume, you turn it up a TINY bit and repeat. You continue doing this until you're at the noise level that mimics what he hears outside.

 

At the same time, you need to be in the yard with him with high value treats. The moment you hear the motorcycles start, you start feeding him. Bar is open - you are feeding NON-STOP (shove the treats into his mouth if you need to) until the sound passes. As soon as it does, you stop feeding. If he's too overstimulated to eat (make sure first that you are using something he REALLY likes and rarely gets like scraps of steak or lunch meat, liverwurst, etc.) then you may need to do this with him inside the house near the door with the door open so the sound is somewhat muted. With this exercise, what you're looking for over time is that when he hears the motorcycles, instead of barking he looks to you for his treats (and of course then you're going to feed).

 

Totally attainable goal to work through this if you're diligent, but important to make sure you are managing his yard time so that he doesn't get a chance to practice this behavior (it's self reinforcing - the noise scares him, he barks, basically saying "go away!" and the noise eventually stops, tada, it worked). Going over threshold like that also causes the brain to release stress hormones which stay in circulation for a prolonged period of time, making it more likely he will react to less stimulation next time around so it really is important to make sure you manage so he doesn't feel the need to bark.

 

Good luck! Please report back on your progress.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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I concur with Jen. And for a small nominal fee, Kevin and I will ride up and help... :lol

Wendy and The Whole Wherd. American by birth, Southern by choice.
"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!"
****OxyFresh Vendor ID is 180672239.****

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Wendy :lol Our neighbor is a farmer and runs a corn freaking cannon for all of August, 7:00a to 7:00p every ten freaking minutes the thing goes off to supposedly scare away the crows. omg Sweet at first was terrified and would run back into the house. To help her deal, when the thing would blow I fed her treats that she loved,at the same time singing "Dopey Neighbors" la la la. Eventually she would hear the damn thing and come looking for her treats :lol

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. Annie Oooh M. 

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, KLTO. Aiden.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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My bridge boy, Buddy, was a HUGE 'fan' of motorcycles. He got so excited when he heard them, which was quite a challenge on walks. He barked at all of them, but Harleys held a special place in his heart. Nobody told me about this till after we adopted him (he was a two-time bounce). His foster mom had Buddy's litter-brother, and Zip was the same way. It led us to believe that perhaps there was some motorcycle 'training' or something in their pasts.

Buddy also loved Dodge diesel trucks. Didn't care a whit about Ford or Chevy diesels, just Dodges. :lol I suspect maybe the dog truck that took him to race was a Dodge, so hence the excitement when he heard one.

 

I was never able to 'correct' Buddy's obsessions, but I wish I had. Walking three dogs, one of whom goes nuts over motorcycles, is not easy. And Rascal, being the younger, impressionable 'sister', learned from Buddy and would join in the barking and carrying on.

When my friend would dog sit, she would keep Buddy's leash in one hand during walks, and the other FOUR (my two girls and her two greys) in the other hand, just because of his motorcycle issues.

 

 

Phoebe, fortunately, has no such issues. :)

Phoebe (Belle's Sweetpea) adopted 9/2/13.

Jack (BTR Captain Jack) 9/28/05--11/2/12
Always missing Buddy, Ruby, and Rascal.

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Thanks for the suggestions. We're already starting to see less of a reaction.

 

And Wendy, you and Kevin are welcome on the condition that you pack your Whole Wherd into sidecars with you.

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Ellen, with brindles Milo and Jeter, and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, and Nutmeg

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I always thought that motorcycles made a noise that reminded George of the track because any time one came down the road when we were walking, he'd try and "race" it.


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

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