Puppy toilet training reinforcing all kinds of barking

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by bombolone, Mar 20, 2017.


  1. bombolone

    bombolone PetForums Newbie

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    Hello

    I have a question which hopefully someone might have some helpful thoughts on.... My 15 week puppy, who is in a playpen with crate inside, has started barking A LOT. He barks, amongst other things:

    - when he is upset that we are leaving the room

    - when we get our coats on to go out

    - when we pick keys up to go out (either with/without him)

    - when he hears us walking around in our bedroom upstairs

    - when he hears our car arrive outside the house

    - when he hears a rustle of food packaging (thinking it might be for him)

    - when he smells tasty things from kitchen

    - when his food is on the way

    and.......... most confusingly

    - when it is time for him to go out because he needs the loo.



    He didn't used to bark much at all. Since toilet training, he has started barking a lot. This is obviously because he sometimes barking to tell us he needs to go out. That is great. But it means we are reinforcing all barking with taking him out - all in the effort to get him well house trained. Given all the above reasons, you can imagine we are spending a lot of time with him in the garden with nothing happening on the toilet front - he was just barking for attention or one of the other reasons above. And as a result, he is barking more an more, because he gets a nice trip out to the garden with us (if he is bored, if he is lonely, if he is hungry etc.). However his house training has been going well (with all those trips out!).



    So to quieten things down, we got tough and ignored the barking. Doing "controlled" barking e.g. put coat on, he barks, take it off and wait, put back on, he holds off, then barks, then take off etc. until he lets me put coat on without barking, etc etc. That works and he is trying to not bark, even if he needs reminding a bit. The trouble is that he has had TWO accidents indoors (having been dry) because we have not responded to the barks which obviously meant he needed the loo. The difficulty is that we can't tell the difference between the barks for the loo (we need to act ASAP) and the barks which need to be ignored so he doesn't become a complete pain barking at everything...



    It's very confusing to know what to do! Catch the bathroom call (and go in and out all day) but reinforce all kinds of undesirable barking, or work on not reinforcing the barking by ignoring - but damage the toilet training?! What am I doing wrong? Any advice or ideas very much appreciated...



    Thank you in advance!
     
  2. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    So pup only gets let out of the pen to toilet outside? What about training sessions, carrying outside to socialise/habituate, play, other interaction?
    Barking is communication, it really shouldn't be ignored. The foundation of a good relationship with the dog is that you take notice of what he's trying to communicate to you. So take him out when he barks, if he toilets then reward him, and do some play or training. Training should tire him out by making him use his brain, even for a few minutes. He should be out of the pen for more than just toileting. He must be bored, frustrated and lonely. He needs to interact with you.
     
  3. bombolone

    bombolone PetForums Newbie

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    Hi there Burrowzig thank you so much for taking the time to reply and give your feedback, that's so kind of you. I now realise how hard it is to paint a full picture of your situation with one question, so I apologise for not having been clearer about what I am doing.....

    -So I take my puppy out to the park 2-3 times a day. One of those walks is over an hour.
    - I also train about 4 times a day for short spells.
    ALSO (and this is related to my query) he goes out to the garden an awful lot - mainly because I can't read his toilet signal vs. his "I-want-attention-and-would-be-in-the-garden-with-you-all-day-long-if-I-could" signals.

    A good example of an extended barking outburst is in the morning, when I go upstairs to wash and get dressed. By that time, he has generally gone to the loo before and after his breakfast and if he 'goes' is rewarded with treats AND play and balls etc in garden (if no toilet action I have started bringing him straight back in) for 5-10 mins.

    When I go upstairs/leave the room, the barking begins. It can go on for the whole time I have shower, get dressed etc. - i.e. a long time! I try to wait for him to quieten down before going back in to the kitchen. But that doesn't always work! The problem is that if he hasn't gone to the toilet recently and starts barking like that, I have no idea if he is saying 'don't leave me here' or 'i need the loo' - so I end up taking him out to the garden just in case. He loves to be in the garden. As a result he has started barking a lot, so he gets to go to the garden a lot. Yet 3 times out of 4 HE DOES NOT GO! So I am in and out like a yoyo mostly for 'false alarms', reinforcing his barking that got me out there.

    Does that make sense? So I totally 1000% agree with you that dogs' needs must be met (and really am trying my very best to do everything I can think of to do so) but I feel I am currently reinforcing any barking every time, and the barking is getting worse. When I have decided to 'tough it out' with the barking (for the past 24 hours - still taking him out once an hour, upon waking etc., when not barking), we have had accidents indoors. And the barking has got WORSE STILL... Until he is 100% toilet trained, what should I do - take him outside every single time he barks? That is meaning spending more time in the garden than indoors as he barks so much....

    Help!!! I do want to be a caring owner who meets her dog's needs, really. But also know that I am reinforcing some negative habits at the moment by responding to every bark. Any brainwaves much appreciated. Thank you so much again for your support.
     
  4. Siskin

    Siskin Owner of a slipper nicker.

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    Have you tried taking him out to toilet whilst on the lead so that he doesn't get a playtime excursion? I assume you praise like mad when he toilets in the right place? What do you do if he toilets indoors?
     
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  5. bombolone

    bombolone PetForums Newbie

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    Hello, thank you for your reply! Yes, I praise like mad if he goes and do nothing other than clear up if accident happens. I hadn't been putting him on the lead when going outside, he had run of the garden - so I suppose going out had loads of benefits. This has perhaps been the mistake, do you think? Since yesterday I started with lead. No action = straight back in. Action = lead off and play. He is not happy about it! Do you think this will help?
     
  6. Siskin

    Siskin Owner of a slipper nicker.

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    Could do, always worth trying, but give it a good try don't decide it's not working after a few days and stop.:)
     
  7. Sweety

    Sweety PetForums VIP

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    It does sound as though your pup, other than toileting, walking or training, is living in his pen.

    Overnight or whilst you are out of the house, it is the best idea for him to be in his pen, for his own safety, but once you're up in the morning or round and about in the house, is there a reason why he cannot be with you and part of the Family?

    At fifteen weeks old, he realises that there is 'life outside of his pen' and I think the barking may be boredom and frustration.
     
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  8. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    This is exactly what I thought too. He's not a tiny puppy anymore and from what you've said it sounds like you need to start integrating him into the household more.

    With regards to the toilet training, I wouldn't be waiting for him to 'tell you' he needs to go out. Take him out regularly and then you won't have the 'does he need to toilet?' problem.

    With regards to the exercise I think you're WAY overdoing it. I wouldn't be surprised if he's getting himself worked up because he's over-tired. My puppy is 9 months and he only gets 1 walk of just over an hour a day.
     
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  9. bombolone

    bombolone PetForums Newbie

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    Ooh McKenzie and Sweetie this is really helpful advice. Thank you so much for writing. My instinct has also been that he should be out and about with us more but we were following a trainer's advice who said it would be worth the effort keeping him in a pen until 20 weeks so he doesn't learn bad habits. However my gut is that this is a little harsh too and must be boring for him (however many toys I provide) - but I was trying to stick with it in order to have him well trained etc.

    Interesting that you think this is way too much exercise. I had read that they need very little also - I also read that too much can be bad for them, so have been surprised by how much he seems to like. I think he is wanting / enjoying the exercise and trips to the park just as much as a form of interaction as much as anything else - again due to boredom in the playpen maybe....? I am, however, shocked by how much stamina he has!

    So, thanks to your advice, I will take him out of playpen more and use it as more of a kind of giant crate for when I can't watch him but the rest of the time have him out in the kitchen.... I will also take him out on a lead only unless he goes to the loo - then he can play, as suggested above. I have started trying to desensitise him to certain noises as well - praising no barking when I open food cupboard etc. There are so many things!

    Toileting is tough. He seems to be on approx every 2 hours for wees but no real routine for number 2s! With the wees, I take him out every 2 hours and when he wakes up from naps or straight after eating - but there are a lot of naps + meals + 2 hr deadlines - and so a lot of standing around with no result! Quite frustrating... Especially because if he doesn't go I feel obliged to go out again after half an hour, as it is often then 2.5 hours since last action! Am I doing this right?

    Any other tips gratefully received... Thank you again so much!