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Discussion Starter #1
I need help with barking before things escalate any further.
my dogs never used to bark inappropriately. Harley is a happy barker, he barks on walks, he barks when he sees his dinner, the others never really barked much.
A couple of months ago they started barking early in the morning when i was still asleep, I never managed to figure out why. Now they bark at everything, noises in the house, (including normal noises of people in other rooms) they bark in the car, and they go crazy when i return to the room, worse if i have actually been out, it is a cacophony of barks and howls.
They have never been rewarded for barking, in fact they go silent as soon as i enter the room as they know they only get attention whilst calm. How do I stop them barking while i walk from the front door to the room they are in or from my bedroom to the room they are in?
They are tense and jump all the time now. Jasper has started barking at scary things on walks, and is extremely clingy. The barking makes me tense and jumpy which i am sure affects the dogs. They are only fully calm when we are all in the same room.
I don't want any aversive training methods, I don't think punishing them for expressing an emotional state is a good idea. I need to find a way of restoring the calm, which isn't easy when they all set each other off.
Any suggestions?
 

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I have this problem too. My longhair Zarita will often go out on the porch and start barking for no apparent reason. This starts off the sheltie, and the other two start! I haven't found anything that works, except denying them access to the front porch. I laugh sometimes, 'cause you can see little Zarita's head start wondering "when shall I start something?" I don't know if you can start training them TO bark, then add "NO bark to the training.?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I had thought of that actually Susan. I don't know.
I have minimised their access to anything stimulating ie no furniture they can climb on to see out of windows etc.
I have started leaving music on when I am out (not that they are ever alone for long) but I don't like background noise when I am in, i like things quiet lol.
 

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I stopped Angel's barking with a squirt bottle! Whenever he barked, I gave a no bark command and sprayed him in the face, plain water! Now when he barks, once, I reach for the water bottle, give the command and he slinks away! He still manages to get one or two little ones in - but that's it! I don't know what he does when I'm not home, though. And if I go out when hubby's home, he will bark when I come in because he doesn't tell him no bark!:rolleyes:

The key seems to be in surprising them with something unexpected like water or a loud noise! There he goes. . . Just barked at something outside! I reached for the bottle and he stopped!:)
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Spraying water is an aversive technique. It may prevent the behaviour, but it doesn't alter the dogs emotional state, the dog is just afraid to express that emotion.
I think I am looking for the reason that they have started barking and a way to make them not want to any more.
I would prefer to only use positive training methods.
 

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We're having a similar problem. Lilo never barked before we got Rocky, but at some point he started barking at every little noise and now Lilo joins in. Noises our housemate makes when he's not in the same room as us (like his bedroom or bathroom door opening and closing... or when he's cooking), when he comes home (when we come home too sometimes), cats outside, neighbours, etc. At least they don't bark while on walks.

I saw a great video about this a while back and how to stop it. I don't have the link anymore, but basically it involved creating a positive association with the noises that trigger your dogs. First you pick one of the triggers and make the sound in front of them, repeatedly, giving a treat each time. Then you need two people for the next step... one makes the noise while the other is in another room with the dog, feeding a treat and praising the dog after each sound (before the dog has had time to bark). Repeat with other random sounds that set them off. We started doing this and they're getting better. It might be harder with 5 dogs though! lol
 

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We are having the same problem.

Jaxx never barked before Opie came into the house. Then Opie started barking at every noise now Jaxx does the same thing. I have been giving them treats when they get alert from a noise and they do not bark. Jaxx is getting it and now if he hears a noise outside he looks at me and I tell him it is okay and then give him a treat. I think it was easier with Jaxx because he was never really vocal before.

Opie on the other hand is VERY vocal. He is starting to understand quiet but it is still a work in progress. With him we are still giving the treats when he is quiet inside but we are really focusing on outside and being vocal because he barks more outside than in and I figure if he figures out the quiet command outside than we can do it inside a lot easier. Opie barks at everything that moves if he is outside unless he is being carried then his body language changes if he sees or hears something but he is quiet.

Our biggest problem is neighbors. When I see Opie getting ready to bark outside I get his attention onto me and tell him quiet but if he barks once then people think it is so cute for a little dog to be barking so they keep talking to him and encouraging him. I do not want to be rude to our neighbors but I also do not want Opie to grow up and always bark at every person he sees.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Coco_little_bear, I think the video you mean is this one by kikopup https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g
We have been trying to de-sensitise them to noises using that method, but you are right, it is harder with five lol
They also relapse because of the barking before we enter a room, which I think is a separate issue (although i don't know which behaviour triggered the other) They are summoning us, they know we are coming and bark excitedly (or howl in Bibi's case) which always works, because we do come in, either to the house or the room. I don't go into the room they are in until they are quiet but it is harder when we have been out. The reward of us coming back seems to override the fact that we don't interact with them until they are calm.
Talking about it has actually clarified in my head what I need to. So thanks guys. I think I needed to vent, the noise does my head in and it is impossible to progress when you are cross with your dogs.
 

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How frustrating! But, there's hope! Maybe something happened in the morning that they were trying to alert you to, and since you never made that connection with them they feel they have to be extra alert? Take into consideration where "their room" is (where you keep them mostly.) Is it by a road? Facing which house? What do those neighbors do? Is it wildlife? Stray cats? In HTTYPSC Debroah Wood shares a story in which her papillons interrupted an attempted burglary! Maybe something serious like that almost happened and they actually had a big influence on it by barking loudly and often, thus why they feel it's now a useful "tool" in their toolbox.

What are "scary things" for Jasper? Do you think that those things could be associated with the missed alert in the morning, or is he just a sensitive guy to begin with?

I think your best bet here is to isolate the instigator and deal with the that dog's issues first. If there is no singular instigator and your pack dynamic alternates, then pick out your most attentive/food driven member of your bunch and begin training.

Desensitization to stimuli and a new training word may help. In this way, saying that new word aloud and attaching desired behavior in your mind, you are helping yourself be "less jumpy." What I catch myself doing in training all the time is the anticipating! It's a human thing. Just say to yourself, "Well, they're going to bark" and don't try to communicate with them until you're centered and have a good method your comfortable with to steer the situation back to safety and calm.

I think Kikopup's got some great stuff. I can't really think of any new methods or technology that would address this behavior other than:

1. Isolating instigator & causes
2. Build up of communication & new routine


Take more time for yourself to relax and cut yourself some slack. You're managing a pack as well as a human life (and we know those positives outweigh the stress!) but you're giving them the best life ever and they are always ready to change for the better. Stop anticipating the behavior. You now know they'll do it. Start getting a picture in your mind of how you want them to behave and set them up for success. Also, do some research! Who knows what kind of technology out there could help with this.

Good luck, Stella. Sorry again. This must suck. Silver lining? They all picked it up, so they can all be reasoned with :laughing6:
 

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I have the same issues...Izzy starts it and the Zari pipes in...Zari will stop immediately when told too but Izzy is another story...we have tried the water spray, the noise distraction to redirect her thought process ...that works much more effectively...but what works the best for her is the words.. ".Don't say a word ". It takes a bit but if we get her to settle quickly it works for her....the DVM feels that her poor vision is why she reacts to any noise so quickly...I feel your anxiety...it's no fun...
 
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