Barking, barking, barking

Posted by rartz
Jan 29, 2008
I have a 12 month old, not fixed, pyrenees dog(Bear). I have only had him for a week and he has already learned our invisible fence system with help form my other dog who knows the fence. We let him out with our other dog and they play in our three acre invisible fence enclosed back yard. The last two days Bear has started barking alot. He barks as soon as he goes out in the back yard and sometimes will bark for what seems like hours straight. We live on a river with lots of woods and wildlife all around our property deer, turkeys, ect. Do you think he is adjusting to his new surroundings and will eventually stop all his barking? When he comes inside he also tends to want to bark at the windows and if he hears another dog on TV. How can i curb the barking with Bear?
Posted by Todd
Jan 30, 2008
Hi there and thanks for your question.

Dogs bark for a huge number of reasons. In Bears case it may be out of boredom or out of accidental reinforcement.

Make sure that you reinforce your position as the alpha in the household and work on Bears' obedience. Work with him for 10 minutes twice a day on the basic commands of sit, stay and come.

If the problem is boredom make sure that Bear is getting heaps of exercise. Give him 30-40 minutes of exercise a day to make sure he is too tired to cause any problems.

Often dogs barking problems come from accidental reinforcement, this can be as simple as not reprimanding him when he first barked.
The way to retrain him not to react involves reprimanding the wrong behaviour and reinforcing the correct behaviour.

You should reprimand your dog for unacceptable behavior, such as barking. If you do not reprimand your dog's poor behavior then he will feel that he has the right to behave that way and it will take much longer to correct the behaviour.

What I recommend you do, is the next time your dog acts poorly by barking, saturate your dog with the garden hose or a bucket of water, or if it is inside, throw a heavy blanket over your dog and be sure to reprimand it. DO NOT yell, as this has no effect on the dominant dog. Growl instead, use a guttural growl like " AAHHH!" instead of "No!", as this makes a sharper sound then "No" (If done correctly it may hurt your throat a little).

The 4 Step Anti-Barking Program (as per SitStayFetch)

Step 1

Remove all triggers for your dogs barking. This may not be easy to do, but perhaps by limiting your dogs access to the things that trigger the barking. This may take a bit of investigation on your part to determine the root cause of the problem if you are at all unsure of what may be causing it.

Step 2

Make sure that when he does start barking that EVERYONE ignores him. NO petting, talking, treats, etc. Besides barking, make sure that you do not respond to any vocalization (e.g. crying, whimpering, grunts, etc) that your dog may make. If you have limited success with a fortnight of this approach then go straight to Step 4.

Step 3

Notice and acknowledge good, quiet behavior. Praise Bear and pet him when he is quiet around the triggers to its barking. Remember to only give your dog attention when it is not seeking it.

Step 4

Catch Bear in the act and reprimand him straightaway the same way as mentioned above.

Another way that you can help the situation is to recreate the stimulus to the barking. The best way to do this is to record a car driving past or whatever sets Bear off. This tape then provides the stimulus that you need to desensitise your dog to.

Start by playing the sound at a very low level, play it at the lowest level that he starts to notice the sound. If he barks reprimand her as above. Play this tape for 20 minutes a day, try to feed him while he is listening to it as this can help reinforce the treatment.

After a few days turn the volume up a little bit. Continue turning up the volume every few days until after a few weeks you can have it at a high level without him reacting. You have to make sure you reprimand him and don't reinforce his barking at all.

Be patient and consistent with your training. He has to know what is and what isn't acceptable. Good luck and please let me know of any success you have.

Kind Regards

Todd Field
Posted by rartz
Jan 30, 2008
Thank you very much for the advice. Bear did much better yesterday and i'll see how he does today with these tips