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"Barking" problems
  • LeelusMomLeelusMom
    Posts: 41
    Hi all!

    Now that it's spring and it's warmer outside, our neighbors are outside a lot more, and every time they are, Leelu watches them through the window and "barks" (more like chuff). When I tell her "no," she keeps doing it. In any other situation I can think of, when I say "no," she stops doing what she's doing. But in this case, it's like she can't hear me. Has anyone else experienced this? It's starting to make me crazy!

    Posts: 1507
    She's telling you someone is there. To stop my boy from barking at people walking past is to tell him "Good boy" and give him pets and hugs. It calms him down and is a reward for him alerting us (he did his job) . It seems counterintuitive but it works for me. The barking at strangers outside is not a learned behavior but can be shaped to be minimal.
    Post edited by INU RYUU at 2012-04-11 22:39:19
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    Try also to reward before she barks, the moment she spots the neighbour you let her know she did a good job. Another thing you can do is to just remove her gently from the window when she barks and as soon as she's quiet you let her get up to the window again. Repeat a few times and I think she will understand.
    I also find that the "chuffing" seems hard to stop for Juni, it's like she can't help herself when she gets into it. When she's out on my patio she's not allowed to bark at my neighbours, she gets sent in to the flat immediately and is let out again the minute she stops, it was very easy to grasp for her. But once she just couldn't resist barking at someone that particularly needed it, in her opinion. So she barked, then turned around and walked straight inside, all the while muttering/chuffing to herself. She even went under the bed sulking and probably thinking how unfair it was. Hilarious.
  • mandumandu
    Posts: 135
    Hi All:

    So Mandu barks a lot more than we thought he would, but it's usually pretty obvious why he's doing it (because he wants our attention, because he's hungry, because he's gotta go potty, etc.). These things are pretty easy to ignore, redirect or resolve. However, he's recently started barking NONSTOP while my husband and I are eating our dinner. We've tried coordinating our dinner time to make sure that Mandu isn't hungry while we're feasting, but it doesn't matter. He looks longingly at our dinner table and starts yapping these really high-pitched sounds for 15 minutes straight. We've tried ignoring him, but he seriously does not stop. We try redirecting his energy and treating him when he calms down or stops barking. He'll calm down for thirty seconds and will go right back to yapping. I mean, my husband was born and raised in Italy and makes outrageously tasty (and delicious-smelling) meals, but Mandu can't have everything he wants! Have other folks experienced this particular barking-behavior?

    Also, we've enrolled him in puppy kindergarten/obedience classes that start next week.

    Thanks, all! You rock.
  • notoriousscratnotoriousscrat
    Posts: 1686
    The next thing I'd try would be putting him in timeout in a different room when he starts barking.
  • mandumandu
    Posts: 135
    Ah, I should have mentioned that we have been trying timeouts with Mandu. We try to make time-out very exciting and happy with lots of love and praise, but the little rebel hates them knows what we're up to and continues barking loudly. How do you make your timeouts work?

    Also, a potentially irrelevant detail about why this feels urgent to me: my husband and I live in an apartment building in Brooklyn, NY, and we recently started having heated conversations with our neighbors who constantly host disruptive and ridiculously loud parties until 4 in the morning. Our building is populated mostly by families who have lived there for decades, and it's just incredibly rude and inconsiderate. They have started "countering" by saying that they can hear Mandu barking at 7:00pm, and that they will complain to the landlord if we confront them one more time about their dumb parties. So...we want to fix this thang. :)

    Thanks, all!
  • notoriousscratnotoriousscrat
    Posts: 1686
    I make them really boring so that they're not fun. Honestly, for Zim they're probably kind of aversive because he hates confinement, so I save them for things that really need them (like he used to nip at faces as part of the puppy biteyness). I stick him in a laundry basket he can't get out of and set the timer for two minutes then I let him out when the timer goes off and he shuts up. Either way, timeout shouldn't be fun, it should be about taking away what they want (like playtime or attention or whatever). It's supposed to be be negative punishment (taking away something desirable).

    As far as your neighbors go, I get that as a problem. It's easier to deal with neighbors when they can't complain back. That said, I do think your landlord is likely to take your dog barking at 7 way less serious than them having loud parties at 4---which is important since I Mandu's problem is probably going to take a while to fix.
  • mandumandu
    Posts: 135
    Got it. Perhaps I was afraid that Mandu would see timeout as too much of a punishment and rebel even more. I will use your suggestion during tonight's supper.

    Thanks, @notoriousscrat.
  • tkfushtkfush
    Posts: 131
    Have you tried giving Mandu something to distract him while you are eating like a frozen peanut butter kong or a treat he doesn't get all the time? I don't know if that would keep him preoccupied and not let him practice the behavior so he doesn't learn that he barks while you eat.
  • FrillfaceFrillface
    Posts: 170
    Bumping this since I'm having barking issues with Denso.

    His barks vary situations. Usually it's just the chuff bark, but sometimes not.

    - At "nothing"
    - The same neighbor(s) he's heard and seen for 5 months
    -Strangers (which is fine!)

    Usually he only barked if someone was at the door, or he could see them near our yard. We keep the door and blinds closed because of this, but he barks at sounds too. So it only helps to not escalate his bark I guess.

    Now, he seems to be using his bark more, at not just those things. He also started to chuff, and sometimes bark, at people when he is in the car or on his hike. But it's only sometimes, and some people. It is really frustrating because I don't know why he is doing it. Some of his triggers I do not know. Same with his fears: some cars he's scared of, some not. It's really weird.
    He does this at home too. He'll sometimes bark at people he has seen many times. He even rushed my neighbor once, when he started to open his door (We live in a duplex).

    He is growling a lot more too. It still isn't common, but he is starting to now. He has snapped at my boyfriend once, when he went to go get him from barking. He snapped at me a few minutes ago, when I went to get him from barking.
    He has also been climbing on the couch to be near the window more, and he will bark when put in our room to not bark. It's like he's becoming obsessed with protecting his house, or idk?

    I have tried ignoring in the past, and I have tried telling him "good boy, enough" with pets. He continues still, even while (or immediately after) I treat him. I have tried time out as well, but he just continues to chuff for a bit before, or while, lying in his crate. (I don't crate him, he goes himself since it is in the room). When I let him out, he will start again sometimes, it depends.

    I'm not sure what to do, especially since it seems to be getting worse. I can't have him snapping at me just because he wants to stare and chuff at someone/something. I just want him to stop after a few warnings, or when I say. Usually I ignore the chuffs since I don't care about those enough, but since he's been getting worse and louder it can be frustrating.

    Should I train him to speak? Does that really work in this situation? Should I find a behaviorist to work with him? I'm not sure what else to try.

    Edit: He was babygated into our room, and rushed the gate immediately when he heard the blinds in the livingroom (boyfriend was opening them). He has never done this stuff :(

    Post edited by Frillface at 2015-08-13 22:04:51
  • NikkitineNikkitine
    Posts: 776
    @Frillface - Do you try to pick him up or use your hands to shush him when he snapped at you? To prevent any possible contact with skin until he calms down more, it might be worth it to have a drag lead on him just in case.

    Is his crate his time out area as well as his sleeping area? Try having time out be someplace less comfortable/fun like the bathroom.

    If anything, I'd teach him the "quiet" command rather than "speak" since you don't want him confusing barking = treats! Haha
  • FrillfaceFrillface
    Posts: 170

    I will go to the livingroom, tell him "enough, go on" and point to the room. Usually I'll have to go around him to "lead" him to the room, and he'll go. If he doesn't go to the room, I'll pick him up and take him instead.

    His crate isn't his time-out area, the room is. He just usually goes to his crate when he's scared or "in-trouble" sometimes. He doesn't like his crate though, he only goes in there for bedtime, or the rare few times he goes in himself.
    I figured since he didn't like being in the room/crate as much it would be okay, but guess I'll worsen up the time-out with the bathroom. :P
    That makes a lot of sense, and a good idea!

    By "speak" I meant train that first, then "quiet". That's what I always read to do, but I don't know how well that would work lol.

    I'll try out the new time-out area and see how he reacts :)

    What bothers me is just how it's getting worse, even though I've tried preventing it in the first place. And he's getting snappy, growling at people, and charging! It's weird to me, but I'll try some more things :)
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    I think the "speak" command is fine, the idea would be that only when you give the command he gets a treat for barking. So barking without a command would have no value for him.
    I don't think it is enough though. I am guessing Denso could be in a "ghost stage" where things are more frightening to the pup. It is just part of growing up and will pass, but since he is quite a fearful dog in general I'd still work on it.
    For me, the timeout lose its' meaning a bit if you don't manage to timely reward being quiet. Like I tried to explain earlier in this thread I have taken Juni away from situations when she displays unwanted behaviour (like barking) but the second she does what I want (gives me eye contact/calms down/ is quiet) she is allowed back.
    I have also at times rewarded her with treats and praises as soon as I see her tense up from the sight of something and before she has started to bark. Which means she hasn't managed to bark because she is busy munching. The idea is also that after awhile it changes their mindset to a more positive one, because seeing people, dogs or whatever set them off now is associated with treats and praise.
  • FrillfaceFrillface
    Posts: 170
    Yeah I'm just trying to get some new ideas. With treats or chews, he still barks. But he does get them as rewards when quiet! I figured this newer behavior was due to another stage, or maybe his fear issues. He doesn't seem scared though, but more "aggressive". This is all new to me so I just want to make sure I do things right!

    Now that he is used to his hikes with only a 1% chance of getting scared, I have been taking him to stores and public areas (when not super busy). He gets yummy treats when we are out, and I carry him since he gets overwhelmed quick when walking himself.

    I am assuming his socialization situation is the cause, although I am not sure why that would make him worse, so I am also assuming puppy stage with it. Hopefully the improved time-out and continuing socialization with these new areas help out. :)

    Thank you guys for the better ideas and understanding!
    Sorry if I sound dumb or ask too many questions or something! I just wanted to make sure I was doing things right, or see what I could improve on :)
    Post edited by Frillface at 2015-08-14 13:25:02
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    @Frillface, I remember that Denso came with a lot of fear issues. His current behavior sounds like fear induced defensive aggression with the barking and rushing, and redirection of that stress with the growling and snapping at you.

    Have you been working with a trainer? An experienced trainer will be able to evaluate him and personalize a desensitization/counter-conditioning program for you. That is really hard to do over the internet, especially when you don't know what is triggering him.

    The main thing to remember with fear and anxiety cases is you want to change the dog's perception of the situation so it's no longer scary. But it's not something you can force. For instance, if he's so overwhelmed that you have to carry him on social outings, it is no longer doing him any good - instead proceed at his pace and reward progress. When over-threshold, a fear aggressive dog can be a bite risk, and it sounds like Denso's reactions are escalating.

    First thing though - don't physically intervene when he is barking or freaking out at home. Proof that command to go to his crate/room himself, with lots of practice and rewards. Personally I would use the crate over a room because you said he chooses to put himself there sometimes when afraid. With anxiety, a timeout is for calming and security, not punishment. Comfort is a good thing, he needs to feel safe. If you have a wire crate, covering it with a blanket or sheet will make it more den-like.

    A couple of threads with similar fear/anxiety issues:

    Some general articles on aggression and fear
  • FrillfaceFrillface
    Posts: 170

    Wow, thanks for all of that information!
    This is exactly why I asked these questions. Since his case is a bit different, I was just unsure of what to do (that was the correct way).
    There are so many options, but I wanted one that fit him, and I was having trouble finding that.
    So thank you so much!

    As far as in the home, I thought he was comfortable. Same with the neighbors, as he has seen and heard them since he came home. Especially when we practiced yard time a lot!
    But I guess I was wrong :(

    The original plan was to work with a trainer, but we have really been struggling financially, also being unemployed at the moment. So that won't be possible for a while, I am ashamed to say..
    That is top on my list to do though, when I am able to get back on my feet.

    I really wish I could figure out his triggers as well, for my training benefit. For the first time this morning, he chuffed for 5 minutes, then let out a bark. It was 4 AM, and I didn't hear a thing. Sadly, this woke my son up, and here I am awake too early! ;)
    But that was the first he has ever barked in his crate, let alone that early in the morning, and at "nothing".

    He will walk and everything when I take him somewhere, which is a huge improvement from when I first got him, but he does vomit sometimes after a while if it's too overwhelming. He does much better in my arms though.
    I will stop doing that then. I plan to take him people watching at the park, when it isn't so hot out. So I'll start there before taking him to places with me. I thought carrying was fine, oops!

    At home he doesn't act scared though. He's just alert. I don't know how to explain it, but his body doesn't look fearful. That's why I didn't really think of it that way, but it is escalating so it is obviously the case.. I will be keeping a lead on him and working on his crate cue.

    Edit: He isn't neutered yet. Not sure if that makes a difference.

    Now to take a peek at all the lovely links you posted :)

    Post edited by Frillface at 2015-08-15 11:16:29
  • @frillface

    If I remember correctly, Denso is around 7 months, right? That's right around when Winston found his voice and spunk too. It may be a bit of fear, but I honestly think he may be starting his teen stage as well.

    Winston never barked up till then, but since around 7 months onward, he has started becoming more "confidant". He will growl at us, "talk back" including barking, and will bark at the door/things outside/etc.

    As for barking in the crate, we are very used to that. If he wants something, or wants out, that is his first course of action.

    When he is barking at things, usually we will just start talking to him, and asking him what the matter is. I'll go over and "check" to make him feel better. After distracting him and getting him to stop, we will generally start playing with him, or give him something that will distract him from that trigger.

    Now that he is almost a year, he barks at random people/items a lot less, and at us a bit more. XD Sassy boy.

    Snapping - well, we get snapped at a lot. When we try to move him to go to bed, when we try to pick him up, you name it. But his actual "snaps" are gentle, and I see it more as a sassy (rude) way of telling us to quit it. It's pretty easy to figure out the triggers to these, and finding ways of getting him more comfortable during that behavior. (etc, tricking him into getting the harness on instead of chasing him around)

  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    Resurrecting a thread so maybe someone can help. I want to work on Coal's barking issue--it seems that he gets barky when he hear hears or sees a male in our house/entry way, and on walks he will occasionally bark at certain kinds of noisy bikes/scooters and people for various reasons. I know the whys. I figured the best thing to do was to teach him "quiet" and "bark" commands--problem is, it is super hard to get him to bark! I used to be able to use the swiffer, but I managed to counter condition him to it and don't want to break that. I started working on the vacuum, too, so that 's out.

    He very rarely barks, most chuffs but goes all out when startled or sees/hears something he doesn't like. I can once in a while get him to look at me, but he won't stop, even with treats. Heck, I tried telling him to sit (because some books say doing something that doesn't go together helps) and he barks/chuffs while sitting or laying. He is a multi-tasker XD

    The only times he gets barky is when he is so excited that he can't really focus well. So that means 90 percent of the day, he is pretty quiet hehe. How can I work with such a troublesome boy? :)
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495

    "Quiet" and "bark" commands don't really fit with shibas who don't normally bark. My shiba is the same way.

    If you know why he's barking and you want him to stop, then give him reassurance or tell him to "leave it" depending on the reason.

  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    Yeah...he doesn't XD In the house, I totally get it because we really get visitors very rarely. But on the street he will sometimes bark at people or things that startle him, even if he has been on good terms with that person before. For example. there is this one old lady who wears a kind of bonnet hat and sunglasses. Some days he is totally cool with her, others not so much. It is kind of recent (I guess another face of adolscence). Reassurance seems to encourage him a bit. It takes a lot of work to get him to stop.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495

    If reassurance is encouraging him then it's not the correct solution. Why is he barking at the old lady one day and not the other? Is she wearing something different? My shiba gets triggered if a friendly wears a baseball cap. She stops, tense up and growls/bark. First I'll get her attention by calling her name. Tell her leave it, then let her know that its her friend. I'll ask the person to remove their baseball hat, kneel down and let my shiba sniff them. After that she goes back to her normal self.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    I am not sure. He has been slowly becoming more uncomfortable with hats and sunglasses when it never seemed to bother him before. I am planning to start working on that at home to see if it helps. Bicycles and scooters are a tougher one to work on, but he has been getting better as I take what chances I can get. Still, especially at night when we do a final walk, he sometimes gets startled and won't stop until the object is gone. So far it has usually been men and bicycles--and it is funny because he meets lots of men as we go to different places and LOVES them (as you can see in the pics when we go on trips and stuff). You can see how that is a problem XD

    Mostly, I just want to teach him to stop when I ask, especially in tight situations. At the moment, I just take what opportunities arise and work with him on it. He is still trying to catch on. I guess I just need to find something that I can use to trigger his barking and work on teaching him the cues...maybe a broom.... I think we still have one somewhere.... We tend to use the vacuum usually, though.

    Coal really struggles to focus when he is in an excited state. He has always had an issue with relaxing and I have been working on it since he was three months old when I saw it. He also becomes hyper vigilant---staring intensely at the object of his obsession even though it is so far away that you can barely tell what it is. Once whatever it is is at a certain distance,I can tap him on the head and he will hardly even blink. Get between him and the object? He tugs and pulls around to see it. I have found his threshold distance--but it changes depending on the day haha.

    Anyway, if I can get him to respond to the quiet cue as well or better than his recall cue (it is one of the strongest cues we have..yay liver!) then that might help hugely.

    Also, his big test is coming up and barking can mean that he fails automatically.... while telling him quiet after the fact really does not do much, I am hoping that he feels less need to because he figures out that if he barks without the cue, he won't get a tasty treat for his efforts.
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1272
    Ozzy hardly barks at all haha. He does not alarm bark or bark at things that are out of the ordinary. I think I used the vacuum to teach him speak. He kind of chuffed at it once, and he makes other weird noises that are not barks lol. So I immediately grabbed the clicker and treats and got way excited and was like YES GOOD SPEAK and started encouraging him to bark more, which he did after a while, and was immediately ready with the clicker and treats. He was like...uh...bark? really? oh ok. Bark. Yum. Bark. :P He got it quickly once he realized that is what I wanted him to do. Even when I say "speak," he usually whisper barks, unless I tell him to bark louder. Or I can tell him to whisper and he'll just softly huff. I also use the like "talking hand" as the visual signal for speak. Like if you were mocking someone and hand puppet-ing their words. Ozzy learns better with visual cues for sure.

    I mostly taught Ozzy "hush" when we would have guests over. He doesn't bark at them, but he whines and gets very excited and sometimes chatters at them or grunts at them excitedly lol. Which is very cute, but he has to be quiet and "calm" before I'll let him come greet them... he used to be sooo overly excited and would just jump and get hyped and try to bite hair and stuff unless you were shoving a toy into his face (now he'll go grab one himself and hold it for greeting time). So, I just say "hush" one time. The second he was quiet, I say "good hush" and start to move toward him to let him out. But if he makes any more noise, I dramatically turn my back and walk away. Eventually, he got the idea that if he hushed, he could come out immediately, so now with guests he'll get a little eagerly whiney when he firsts sees that they're here, but then quiets down and sits and taps his paws on the floor in eager anticipation lol. This is when he is in the kitchen when someone comes over (usually it's like me returning from school and bringing a friend). So he's behind the baby gate in this scenario. I honestly think he would do okay free roaming, but he can be nosy and I don't want him to hurt himself or encourage destructive habits to form by setting him up to fail when I won't be home for a couple of hours. If people just show up, he has to sit back away from the door before I open it because I'm worried he'll run out while trying to get to them and will suddenly notice something more enticing outside (like a squirrel) and will just run off. D: Or sometimes I leash him when I know someone is about to show up so I can have him sit and relax before unclipping the leash and rewarding him with what he wants.
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2017-09-01 18:11:47
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    @Lilikoi hmm... a few months ago, I tried to start teaching Coal using the swiffer (before he was acclimated to it) and my family was against it feeling it wasn't worth it, so I lost that. When I decided it was time to work on it again, I had already started on the vacuum.

    I guess my idea was right. Broom should work...he always gets excited when the outside broom is used.

    Coal is interesting. He LOVES meeting new people all the time...just not in his house. He starts at a chuff and then gets more and more excited/anxious and starts going into straight out alarm barking. The last time we had a guest was during a holiday event called Obon (it is to celebrate the deceased family). I managed to get him to reduce the number of barks and go back down to a chuff with quiet/treat, but the moment he saw or heard the guest again, he would get riled up. He seems to be very territorial (but I mostly chalk that up to us just not having the people to come over). Japan is really hard to recruit people to help train him for this kind of thing because of the stigma of having strangers in your home. Heck, even family/friends aren't like to drop by much unless it is a holiday thing.

    I wish I had taken advantage of this when he was younger and before anyone had a chance to object. I don't want him to be the dog that barks incessantly when (in the once-in-a-blue-moon off chance) we have visitors.

    I am not worried about him free roaming anymore. We have been to a couple of pet-friendly hotels and he has been wonderful. No chewing or stealing anything. Have to watch him on the open trashcans (lids are generally only for large ones in the kitchen. Japan tends to have several small bins around the house)

    For visitors I have two things to train for. The occasional doorbell, and the more common practice of the visitor opening the door and calling out "Konnichiwa" (hello/good afternoon) or "Gomen kudasai" (I have no idea how to translate that in English). Yes, random strangers like delivery people, neighbors, and the bank will just open the door and call out a greeting rather than ring the door bell. I still can't get used to that. Maybe I can have my husband mimic he. Coal tends to be wary of him anyway XD

    He has once or twice mistaken the family for strangers when they come in because we so rarely leave the house haha. That is always funny. He'll see movement in the entry way and start alarm barking. As soon as he realizes his mistake, he will immediately grab a toy and go airplane-ears as an apology, sometimes with his tail wagging. We always laugh.

    I know desensitizing him is the best way...problem is getting stuff to work with lol. I figured if I at least get bark and quiet, it will help.

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