Excited Dog

Posted by SUNBEAR
Jan 5, 2012
I have a 2 year old Australian Cattle dog. Had him since he was 8 weeks old. He gets very excitied when I put him in the truck for a ride to a field where I let him run free and play. When approaching the truck he gets excited. After loading up he starts excessive barking and jumping back to front. Also nips (grabs, not hard) my hand as I get in like he's telling me hurry up and get in the truck. I have engaged the center rear seat belt and attsached him so he cannot jump to the front. I have tried leaving him in the back seat, closing the door and walking away. He quits barking. When I return to the truck he starts his none stop barking again. Any suggestions?
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jan 6, 2012

I have a dog like yours so I do understand exactly how you feel.

One of my dogs is a border collie/cattle dog mix and we adopted her 7.5 yrs ago at the age or 1 or 2 so she must be like 9 yrs old but she is still a full of energy. She is a very smart dog and learns commands and tricks very fast, except for "Be quiet". I don't mind her barking as long as she stops when told to "Be quiet". The worst of all her barkings is "excitement barking" like your ACD.

I have trained her not to bark when I come home. I actually had to go back and forth between the door and my car at least half a dozen times for a few days. If she barks when I grab the door knob, I would turn around and go back to my car. I repeated that until she calmed down. She has learned that one but she still barks when I first see her in the morning

Same thing happens when I put on my jacket (she knows which jacket I put on when I take the doggies for walk), or reach to the leashes. The other two dogs get excited too but they don't bark. They just wag their tail but Holly becomes soooo excited and barks furiously. Then, I put the leashes back to the rack and tell her to lie down. It is hard to bark when lying down so that helps her to calm down. I reach to the leashes again and if she barks again, I would only take the other dogs out. Holly will have to wait until we come back. I really mean it. If she doesn't listen, she doesn't get to go. She knows the consequence but for some reason it seems to be very hard for her to control her excitement. She is very obedient and she can sit still when I tell her to even there is a feral rabbit across the street, or she lets a squirrel go even catching it in her mouth as soon as I tell her to "Leave it". My husband and I always say to each other "Holly is a perfect dog if she doesn't bark"

Anyway, what you are doing is the only way to teach your ACD not to bark, unfortunately. You should try not to go at all if she starts barking again after you come back to the truck. Put her on a leash and walk back to your house. When she calms down, go back to the truck but as soon as she starts barking or nipping your hand, bring her back home. You might have to give up outing for the first couple of days. You just need to be patient and consistent.

I hope she will learn to be calm in order to go out to the field soon.

Good luck
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jan 9, 2012
Hey Sunbear,

I agree - the best way I know to deal with excited dogs is to ignore them when they get worked up and only go through with the act once they are calm.

My own dog used to get way too excited on walks when we would approach another person or dog. My solution was to stop the walk and make him sit until the other dog/person was gone, or until he had calmed down. Sometimes this meant I had to take him off the path at the park and behind some trees, sometimes I ended up holding his muzzle so he would have to pay attention to me. It was a learning process, but he actually caught on pretty quickly and started behaving much better.

With your dog, I like MHN's idea of walking away from the truck and leaving him and trying again. You may need to say "no" or "quiet" to lessen the barking before walking away. If he stops barking when you give a command, be sure to say "good dog". You can try calling him out of the truck and then trying again later - approaching the truck with him instead of him already being in it.

Again, it will probably involve a lot of stop-starts and repetition, but it is an effective way of training dogs to behave instead of going berserk. Its just about starting at the beginning of the stimulus and working through it so your dog understands that the fun activity only happens when he behaves himself

Hope this helps - please let us know how things go!
Posted by kidunotgoatsyahoocom
Jan 10, 2012
Very good suggestions, here are a few more that can be used in combination-whatever works for your particular dog.
Use a crate. If he starts barking cover the crate with a towel until quiet.
Set time aside, grab a book and sit in the truck and read (use earplugs if you want) until quiet prevails. Start the truck, stop and repeat if he starts barking.
Train to ride on the floorboard, it is hard to see much down there or to get too excited.
Take short trips with him that start and end at home, no stops.
Teach your dog to bark on command, it will be easier to teach 'quiet' then.