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Barking...for Attention?


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I call "Two Step" the "door bell" as he will bark like a mad dog at people coming onto the property even if he knows them. He will bark at any wild animal that passes through, cars that come down the road, but not at birds or squirrels. So I decided that this boy is trying to tell me something. I started to investigate what the commotion was about, and sure enough, something was there. He told me in so many ways...sometimes excitement, ...play time, sometimes his ruff stood on end....be aware. I realized that this pup has self appointed himself as THE "watch dog." It is HIS job. I go out to see him, he meats me and then he leads me to the situation / destination...... the person, the wild animal hiding in the woods, what ever.

 

As we are walking to "his" destination, I'm thanking him softly for letting me know what's going on......When we arrive the barking stops. He alerts me of strangers that shouldn't be here, guests arriving at the gate, racoons in the basement, etc. I guess what I am trying to say is that it is not always for them to GET attention but for us to PAY attention. Two Step is my verbal one. He talks all the time with different tones, and levels of volume. I wish I understood "dog" better. He is quite the conversationalist.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I do the same with Danza - often, when she barks at something she'll run to me and give me The Look. The look that says "This is real! This is something! Go look!" So I do, and about 20% of the time I can see what it is. Either way, if I don't see a threat I'll look at her and say "It's nothing to worry about, it's OK." Her job done, she relaxes.

 

I call "Two Step" the "door bell" as he will bark like a mad dog at people coming onto the property even if he knows them. He will bark at any wild animal that passes through, cars that come down the road, but not at birds or squirrels. So I decided that this boy is trying to tell me something. I started to investigate what the commotion was about, and sure enough, something was there.

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I do the same with Danza - often, when she barks at something she'll run to me and give me The Look. The look that says "This is real! This is something! Go look!" So I do, and about 20% of the time I can see what it is. Either way, if I don't see a threat I'll look at her and say "It's nothing to worry about, it's OK." Her job done, she relaxes.

 

right on!

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  • 2 months later...

Hi,

 

Our barking dilemma is different. Selma does not bark us, but friends and visitors - not just once but many times, she is shy of people, but not at all of other dogs. She barks people passing our yard (not anymore bicycles - she stopped, when was practicaly run over by one, luckily not physically hurt), our neighbours and relatives though she has met them several times and knows them, and she of course barks hedgehogs, birds etc.

She practically starts with yip already on the steps every morning when let out for a pee. We have tried "thanks" "enough" and "come!" and nothing at all but she barks.

I´d love to hear how to teach her to bark when I want her to. Our labrador was easy, because she tries everything to get a treat :). I started to say "woh!" and she got it. Selma does not. She stares at me, starts to wag her tail and play or gets down, when I bark. So how do you do it?

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How old is Selma? Your situation actually doesn't sound much different than mine - that bark is always so close to the surface, close enough that it just comes out of her without her even thinking about it. It's the getting her to think about what you care about that is the challenge.

 

We use the word "hush", which I like because it sounds so little like a bark on its own. You don't want to do this:

Selma - Bark! Bark bark bark!!!

You - Selma, don't bark! (which sounds a lot like barking. Even the word "quiet" is kind of harsh.)

 

I've found that not every barking situation is the same, and it's actually more than just one problem. There is boredom barking, barking for attention, barking as an alarm, etc. You can't fix each problem with the same solution. For example, one problem we have is Danza barking at stuff outside when I am working in the house. She hates my studio so stays in the family room when I am in there. If she starts barking a lot she has to down stay in the studio for a little while until I release her. After I'd done this a few times all I had to do was open my studio door to shut her up. (My door stays closed to keep the warmth in.) Now, I yell hush and that does the trick. If the tone of her barking tells me that she really is concerned about something, I'll go look. I'm working on not yelling hush.

 

Call Selma to you and have her down-stay and hush every time she starts barking. Give her treats when she comes, which changes her state of mind. (My Danza is 5 now, so we've had a long time to work on this.)

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