Attention Barking

Posted by Apisama
Feb 9, 2010
Hi there,
I am new for the forum and the pets' world. I never had any pet before in my life (40yrs) until 6 months ago I got a male puppy Pomeranian at the age of 10 weeks. He is now seven and a half month old. He is such a smart, lively, adorable little one, who is really good with potty training, rarely has accident. However, we do have 3 major problems with him.
1. Attention Barking: He needs my attention most of the time, he barks a lot when I am around. I have a maid at home, she said he never barks and behaves really well during the day. But with me, he barks a lot with his high pitch voice that annoy every ears!!!! I live in a condominium so we need to shut him up as soon as possible. I did the cold shoulder techique but he still barks (a little bit less though).
2. Travelling problem: He gets in full alert and barks all the time while he rides in the car. He has no problem with car-sick. But with his high voice, it drives everyone nut, especially in a close space.
3. Too excited to play with other dogs: He has no problem on socialize, it is his specialty actually. Very excited to play with guests or anyone come into the house. He is the only dog in our home. Everytime we takes him out he gets excited to see other dogs and wants to play with them. He barks loudly and wants to jump out of our arms or lease whatever holding him at that time. Sometimes I let him play with other dogs but he doesn't want to stop the play and it annoys others.
The third one isn't a major problem for us since he doesn't have much chance to play with other dogs but please do help on the barking. It starts to annoy everyone.
Looking forward to hearing from you all.
Best Regards,
Posted by KOPsRobyn
Feb 9, 2010
Hi Apisama

It was definitely a good idea to start your dog on the ‘cold shoulder’ treatment. You may need to persist with it for quite while though as he has gotten used to the idea that he is the alpha dog, it will take him some time to accept his new position in the pack. In addition, there are a few things that you can incorporate into your daily routine to re-establish yourself as the alpha dog. These include insisting that you walk ahead of him through doorways and when walking on the leash, and feeding him after you have finished your own meal. If you are playing a game with him, make sure it is you that chooses the toy and when you decide that you have had enough, take the toy away with you so that he realizes that it is you that controls playtime. When you first come home, you should greet the rest of the household first before saying hello to him, which will help him realize his place in the hierarchy. All these things can be incorporated relatively easily into your normal daily routine, although it will require some patience and perseverance from you. You shouldn’t worry if he struggles initially as he currently sees himself as head and therefore being in the submissive position to you, who he sees as a subordinate, is distressing. Soon, though, he will settle into his new place in the hierarchy and should become a more relaxed dog, as he has been relieved of the stressful role of protector.

You are right when you say that he is barking to try and get your attention. In order to get this under control, you will have to make sure you are very strict in not giving him attention whenever he asks for it. You must ignore him if he comes up to you, as he has to learn that attention from you is earned and not just given out whenever he wants it. Before you pat him or play with him, give him a command, such as 'sit-stay' so that he will see that your attention is a reward for good behavior. This will act as an incentive for the future. If he continues to start bark, you should take him by the collar and lead him away to a 'time-out zone'. Don't speak to him or make eye contact when taking him away, so that he is getting absolutely no attention from anyone at all. This place should be quiet and free of distractions, away from other people and dogs so that he can be left completely alone. Leave him there until he calms down and then make him obey a command, such as 'sit-stay', before releasing him from the 'time-out zone'. If he misbehaves again, do exactly the same. He will soon learn that that is not the way to get your attention, in fact it will lead to complete isolation instead, which is not what he wants.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with problem barking is never to reward the barking. Ignoring him will be hard at the start, as he will keep barking, but if you are patient and persist with the training, you will see the fruits of your hard work in time. You must also reward him when he behaves himself. Initially to stop his barking, you may need to use either a rattle-can (few coins in a can) or a water-gun, but make sure you only rattle/spray when he is barking. This will distract him for a few seconds, which should be plenty of time for you to give the 'quiet' command and reward him for his silence. Then you should distract him from what is outside by giving him another command, such as 'sit-stay'. The moment he is quiet, say 'Quiet' to him and then give him lots of attention and a treat. This gives him something to strive towards, so that he knows what you want as well as what is considered bad behavior. In addition, once he has learnt this command, you should be able to give him the command and he will stop barking.

If he continues to bark even though you have ignored his barking completely for a month or so, as a last resort you could try a citronella collar, which emits a powerful smell when the dog barks, which they find extremely unpleasant. The problem with these collars is that they will address the barking but do nothing to treat the cause of it. All other methods should be tried first before resorting to them. You should find though, that if you are very strict with the alpha dog training, he should become much calmer and quieter, both in the house and when you are driving.

It is also a good idea to set aside some time each day for a bit of general obedience training, which will not only improve his obedience levels but also the relationship between you.

Lastly, neutering him if it hasn’t been done already would be wise. He will be going through the adolescent stage soon, and with the increased levels of testosterone, he will challenge your authority even more. The alpha dog training is especially important during this time, as he has to be clear that you are in charge and that he is below you in the hierarchy.

I hope this helps and all the best with the training!
Posted by Apisama
Feb 10, 2010
Dear KOPsRobyn,

You are an angel. Thank you so much for you help. I will try to follow your advice as strictly as I can.
But first... Are there any quick fix for a time being on riding a car? We are going for a vacation next weekend and it would be terrible if he bark all the way for 3 hours. I have 8 days to get him at least stay a little clamer in the car. Do you have suggestion on that? Please. Could I give him a carsick pill so he would sleep while we ride? I am not so sure it is a good idea though. Have anyone ever tried?

Thanks again and hope that I haven't bother you too much.

Best Regards,