Help, I can't stop my dog from BArking

Posted by scoobysue
Mar 24, 2008
Hi, I'm a new member and this is my first time posting on a forum. Anyway heres my problem. I have a border collie Oscar, he's nine years old, and I had no problems with him, until my brother had a child.

Everytime Ciaran, who's 16months comes down to my house, Oscar barks for what seems forever. Recently the neighbours has complained a couple of times. Oscar has never been like this. I have searched for help on the internet and found some ideas, for exmple when he barks to throw a blanket over him and growl back, or make a loud bang. However this just seems to make the barking worse.

Oscar is house trained and knows the basics and this works fine, until my nephew is around, and Oscar reverts. I have read about being the Alpha and I think he knows who the boss is. He is never first through the door, he gets his dinner after me, and he moves if hes in my way.

This is being going on since Ciaran was born and it has gradually got worse. Any ideas would be most grateful
Posted by Todd
Mar 26, 2008
Hi there and thank you for your question.

Oscar is probably upset about the change in the house but he needs to learn that the child is fine and not a threat.
It is good you have started on the alpha training as this is always the first step.

I would also encourage you to improve his obedience. work with Oscar for 10 minutes twice a day on the commands of sit, stay and come as outlined in Sit Stay Fetch. The more obedient he is the easier he will be able to be controlled no matter what the circumstance.

Now to your particular issue.
Oscar needs to get used to the fact that the child will be in the house from time to time. The first thing i will point out is that if you ever think that Oscar MAY nip at the child he will need to be muzzled when the child is around. From the sounds of it he doesn't seem like he will but you never know.

A good idea i like people to use is to bring some of the babies toys and clothes into your house. Leave them lying around especially in Oscars favourite areas like around his food bowl etc. This will get Oscar used to the smell of the baby which is very important.

You need to bring the child round as often as possible. When they approach the door make Oscar sit and relax. When he is relaxed his ears will flip briefly and his nose may drop. Have him on the lead so he is easy to reprimand and control.
When he is sitting get them to come in. If he starts barking reprimand him with a loud GRRRRR or AHHHHHHHH. This will give him a fright and break his concentration. At the same time you may want to throw a blanket over him as you mentioned or more to my liking squirt him with a water pistol.

Then tell him to sit again. If he does praise him and give him attention. try not to overexcite him. Keep on reprimanding and rewarding. It will take time and effort to solve his problem so don't expect miracles on the first session.

Once he is more comfortable with the child let them meet. Keep Oscar on the leash at first, let them sniff and don't let the child pull his hair or scream at him as this won't help.

Keep on with these controlled interactions and see how things go. Good luck and please let me know how things get on.