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9 month old barking

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by jilldaniel, May 16, 2010.


  1. jilldaniel

    jilldaniel PetForums Junior

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    Hi

    we've recently rehomed a cocker spaniel cross who is lovely and gentle but seems to be barking more and more in quite an aggressive manor and I'd like to mop this in the bud.

    The times that concern us are:

    when a visitor comes into the house
    and
    at random people when out

    it's quite weird, as he doesn't do it with everyone, but when he does he won't stop and I wondered if anyone has any ideas why he would do this and how to stop it.

    He barks at other dogs and when playing etc too, but that seems more normal and he will stop.
     
  2. SEVEN_PETS

    SEVEN_PETS PetForums VIP

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    Ollie, my cocker spaniel, will bark at visitors coming into the house. He's not aggressive cos as soon as you let him go and say hello, he's wagging his tail and greeting the visitor. i think he just wants the visitor to know he's there and if he's an burgluar, he's in trouble. :lol:

    When out, try and teach the heel and watch me command. When someone walks past, say watch me and get a treat and hold it to your face. It distracts him until the person has walked past and in the future, he'll automatically look up at you when someone walks past.

    If his barking is truely aggressive, then I recommend contacting a behaviourist.

    To be honest, I find cocker spaniels to be very vocal. I see other cockers barking and my own barks at any given opportunity, at cats, smells, when playing with other dogs, visitors etc, whinging in the car and whimping.
     
  3. jilldaniel

    jilldaniel PetForums Junior

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    Thanks, that's interesting what you say about them being vocal, he is barking at other times, but those don't bother me as much as I see them as more "normal".

    When someone comes to the door he'll bark but won't settle down like your one, he'll just carry on until i need to put him in another room, this does calm him down. I wouldnt say he's being aggressive, but it looks that way!
    Also he does it to the odd person when we're out. Yesterday we were at the beach for 2 hours, 99% of people he totally ignored or was friendly with but there were 2 people (1 small child and 1 lady) who he just barked and barked at and wouldnt come back to me (very embarrassing). Any ideas why this would be?

    I'm considering taking him to a puppy class, not sure if that would help as he's pretty good at everything else and he's very well socialised.
     
  4. leashedForLife

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    hey, jill! :--)

    i cannot see how he can be *well-socialized* and still bark in a threatening manner at visitors and some folks when in public -

    those 2 things rarely go together, unless the dog is barking in frustration at not being able to meet / greet - which obviously is not his problem, as he was OFF-leash barking at the child + the woman.

    * this sounds like fear - or at least uncertainty / anxiety
    * i would NOT have him off-leash around strangers til this is sorted -
    if the child tried to approach + pet him, they could have been snapped at.
    fearful dogs display body language that lures ppl in to comfort them -
    and they are More-Likely, not less-likely, to BITE than a confident dog,
    even a confident aggro-dog is less-likely to bite than a nervous dog.


    theres a video here -
    Prevent Your Dog from Barking at the Front Door: Part 1: How to Train Your Dog | eHow.com

    a TETHER at least 8 to 10-ft from the door,
    Tethered to Success
    helps a lot - CLIP the dog on it before answering the door to keep them set back, the distance reduces anxiety.
    18-inches long between swivel-clips is plenty - a mat or bed or small rug gives the dog boundaries + comfort if the floor is hard.
    tossing treats from the door to the dog no matter WHAT the dog is doing!! helps associate visitor = Good things... .

    classical conditioning pairs one stimulus (in this case, visitors)
    with another pleasant thing - (in this case, treats) -
    the dog need not EARN the treats - they are presented *with* the stimulus
    in order to make a happy association between the 2

    if he is growling we do not punish the growling, nor barking - ignore it,
    feed treats - small, high-value, rapid-fire.
    the dog cannot bark and eat, nor growl and eat, simultaneously :D and the consistent pairing of visitor/rewards will relax
    the dog, reducing stress + reactivity in that context.

    the book click to calm is an excellent DIY for reactivity in public or private :thumbup:
    step by step, very clear, very humane B-Mod.

    happy training,
    --- terry
     
  5. jilldaniel

    jilldaniel PetForums Junior

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    Hi

    When i said well socialised i meant with other dogs, sorry, not too good with termonology! He did live with a man on his own, he's now with a family with a lot of people coming and going, so i wonder if it's all a bit scarey for him.

    That video was very helpful, thanks.

    Why do you think he barks at certain people when out, he did it today with a lady in the pet shop, she was really good and gave him loads of treats until he calmed down. Do you think if we work at calming him down with visitors he'll be ok off the lead?

    Jill
     
  6. leashedForLife

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    hey, jill! :--)

    just got in, sorry U are probably abed :( but this will be waiting in the AM, when i am still [i hope :D] asleep -

    its hard to say, hun - at home and abroad are 2 entirely different contexts, :huh: he will need B-Mod in both.
    i;d start with the At-Home B-Mod + begin simple classical-conditioning when out + about - try to find his EARLIEST sign of worry,
    the very-early clue that theres something about that person over there that bothers him, Way Before he barks -
    dropping his tail, staring at them a few seconds too long, his ears go down, he licks his lip or nose nervously, etc -

    see the dog body language sticky for good links, and Working with a fearful, scared or shy dog for Triggers And Thresholds -
    U will need to know that for his B-Mod.

    but for now, just carry :thumbup: DYNAMITE! :thumbup: dry-treats whenever U are out with him -
    i;d use 2 sandwich-size zip-top bags, at least 2/3 full. i know that sounds ike an awful lot, but if he gets REALLY upset, it won;t last long -

    to redirect his attention, U will have to give him more distance from the scary person, and feed * fast! - very rapid-fire, tiny, high-value goodies -
    i often use the * best! * meat-based cat-kibble i can find, one without wheat, corn or soybeans, in any form -
    if they are really super, i can break an X-shape into 4 pieces, believe it or not.
    [its true! :D] and dogs will WORK for that teeny weeny stinky-good tidbit, too.

    i make sure meat is the Number-One ingredient, and everything else is less volume - or i use tidbits of pouch or canned tuna, canned jack-mackerel or water-packed sardines, etc.
    i freeze them ahead in the sandwich bags, and take out one before we leave to put it in my pocket - i BEND the frozen bits to make them break up a little. by the time i need it, i want them to be easily separated.
    i can throw a little bit of the dogs own kibble in to stink the kibble up - no more than 1/4 to 1/3 kibble, the rest is MEAT.
    the kibble absorbs any water, so it isn;t too messy.

    hopefully i would have figured-out WHAT makes certain ppl scary -
    do they stare at him? (ppl who love dogs often make direct eye contact - lots of dogs get a bit worried)
    do they wear glasses? mirror sunglasses? carry rustly or crinkly plastic shopping-bags?
    wear nylon jackets that squeak or crinkle? carry brollies? ...
    as soon as a nasty-person appears OR the dog first looks anxious - i see the dogs early sign -
    THE BAR IS OPEN - feed, feed, feed! back-up if he is too close to relax + eat, but just barks -
    thats too close; if hes eating, keep feeding. :001_cool: feed him so quickly, he swallows + the next bits in front of his nose...
    :thumbup:then theres NO * TIME to bark, :lol: see the method in the madness? ;)


    when the scary-person disappears from sight or is out of earshot (for the dog - dogs can hear a normal conversation
    from approx 60-ft away), the bar closes - goodies go away, till the next trigger.

    depending on how many triggers he has - and how common those are - he may make rapid progress, or very slow.
    just remember U have to go at the dogs speed - if U try to hustle the process, it will fall apart; if U take small, rapid steps
    and stay UNDER his threshold, he can make very fast progress. a log can really help - just some notes, what U saw,
    what the dog did - how far away the person was, did s/he seem unusual, what the dog did FIRST as an alarm signal,
    how long did the stim last, how quickly did he recover his calm, etc.


    when U work with a spooky or twitchy dog, it can be hard to see what progress the 2 of U make -
    but a LOG or pictures from yer phone, taken at the time, can tell U just how much the dog improves.
    U need to savor the little triumphs, so when theres a backslide or a setback, U don;t think its RUINED... :eek: hang in there, look where he started, and see how far he came.

    there are always things that happen that seem like complete disasters -
    luckily dogs are very, very forgiving. :001_cool: don;t give up!

    happy B-Mod,
    --- terry
     
  7. jilldaniel

    jilldaniel PetForums Junior

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    I've booked in for some dog classes so hopefully that will help.

    Getting more worried about him though, we got him last week and he seemed so calm and gentle. I've just taken him out with my 2 boys and he was so excited, barking at everyone now. A little boy tried to stroke him and he barked at him and didnt want to be touched, he wasnt like this at all when we got him and I don't understand why he's changing so much.

    He was much calmer after I'd dropped my kids at school, so I'm thinking I need to walk him on my own for a bit, without the distraction of the children. Then I can concentrate on getting him passed people with the treats, although if he's barking at everyone that's going to be hard!
     
  8. leashedForLife

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    hey, jill! :--)

    its not at all uncommon for a fearful dog to present to the pet-owners eye as *calm* when in fact the dog is shut-down or quashed, and is not offering an opinion right now on how they feel; they ALLOW anything, merely because the dog is so intimidated they express no dissenting emotion or behavior.

    this is precisely what is often labeled *calm submissive* in certain circles -
    profoundly frightened dogs are often referred to as *frozen* - they can even be literally stiff, like mannequins with posable limbs.

    get some calmatives on board ASAP - see
    Pet Forums Community - View Single Post - dog body-language - and why it matters so much...
    Rescue-Remedy can be combined with another more-specific Bach-floral to magnify the specific-remedy -
    read here
    Remedy Chooser - Official Bach Original Flower Remedies UK Site - Nelsons
    its on Redirect - Nelsons and its the Bach remedy chooser.
    3 drops of LARCH added to 3 drops of Rescue-Remedy, for instance, might be very helpful.
    i give a full-dose AM + PM on an empty stomach, plus a full-dose about 15-mins before a stressor - it lasts about 90-mins.
    there is no risk of interactions or over-dose.

    NILIF can really help anxious dogs:
    *Nothing In Life Is Free*, SIT for every want + every need - no exceptions.
    this gives the dog a way to communicate too - when the dog understands the concept, a very precise UN-cued SIT,
    often with eyes-on-eyes gaze, is a dog-version of Pretty Please?
    so he would SIT to get his leash on, get the door open (to enter or exit), get the leash OFF, enter/exit the car, get his meal
    from the counter to the floor, get attention or petting, etc.

    if he does not want to be petted, thats OK - he can choose whom he wants to interact with, thats fine. :) just let ppl know he is
    anxious and U are working on his issues; he will improve.

    see if the local-library has a copy of click to calm - its a huge help, very accessibly written.
    did U get to Working with a fearful, scared or shy dog ?

    all my best,
    --- terry
     
  9. leashedForLife

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    see the Yahoo-Groups for a helpful support-group - shy-k9s
    shy-k9s : shy-k9s

    join on the list-home page above for access to the archives, files, links, + pix;
    the JOIN button is bottom-right, i think.

    i would recommend that U set the PREFERENCES to admin-mail only, and read the archives, post, etc, direct to the list -
    this leaves Ur in-box free for personal stuff. ;) Yahoo-TOOLBAR is a free download which allows U to click on the *groups* icon to go direct to any groups U join -

    Levels Training is another excellent support-group
    traininglevels : Training Levels Support
    for folks training their own dogs, with or without professional help - it is a pos-R reward-based training group
    (not coercive or aversive).

    cheers,
    --- terry
     
  10. JjPhoenix

    JjPhoenix PetForums Member

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    if you can arrange some visitors that he barks at to come round, get some chicken pieces/cut up sausages/chopped hot dogs something like this thats really high value meaty treats that he doesnt usually get, get them to come in, ignore him and gently toss some of thiss treat on the floor next to him as they walk past him to you. get them to continue to ignore him, put continue to toss the pieces of food on the floor. no staring either! then get the 'visitor' to get up and leave. repeat this again. when your out if you can again engineer 'meetings' and do the same thing.

    once he is happy with this, then build up to them looking at him and throwing the chicken, etc.

    now these people should equal good stuff rather than bad stuff. i'd aldo try and walk him where other people arnt for now, as the more he practises the behaviour the more reinforcing it will be for him,
     
  11. leashedForLife

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    hey, j-j! :--)

    i would Not Suggest that the scary ppl do the feeding themselves -
    UNLESS they *toss the treat ===> beyond the dog* so that the dog gets the treat AND what he needs: Distance.


    this is why having the scary-person feed treats is a bad idea:
    * the dog must enter the humans personal-space to get the goody
    * normally nothing would get the dog that close - the food is a lure
    * once the dog EATS the food, the sudden realization that the person is way too-close overwhelms the dog
    * they over-react:
    bark, snarl, scramble backwards to escape, freeze/avoid eye contact...
    pretend theres no dog, on one extreme - possibly BITE on the other extreme;
    this spike in fear does not help the dog, who needs to be *under* their threshold of fear in order to learn
    a new emotional response.

    i would especially not have the stranger(s) walk PAST the dog to get to the owner, thus invading his home; thats not fair.
    * having the dog TETHERED behind the owner, within eye-sight + ear-shot but not so close to the door / person that the dog
    feels threatened or defensive, is far preferable
    * if the dog is BEHIND the owner, the owner can control the visitors access to the dog - and the ** owner ** can distribute
    the counter-conditioning goodies to associate the visitor with nice things
    * the dog does not have to defend her/himself if the owner is the gate - the dog can relax

    there is then no hazard of the dog finding her/himself so close to the visitor, that theres a freakout when they realize
    where they are - and over-react in that moment. the owner can carefully monitor the dogs state, keep the dog calm,
    keep feeding the dog treats, gradually reduce the distance as the dog relaxes.
     
  12. jilldaniel

    jilldaniel PetForums Junior

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    Just a very quick thank you for all your replies, I'll have a look at those links tomorrow.
    Obi has settled down a lot since I last posted. He seems to have stopped barking at people, one incident today but it was very minor. He is now only barking at SOME big dogs, most he is fine with.
    I have heard that my local obedience classes arent up to much, so if I am to train him on my own I'll be posting again soon!
    Jillx
     
  13. jilldaniel

    jilldaniel PetForums Junior

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    Hi again

    We are still very worried, Obi is still barking at visitors to the house and strangers who stop to stroke him. We're pretty sure it's out of fear. When we are out I am working hard on getting him to walk past people nicely, but if someone stops to chat then he will bark at them and not allow them to touch him. If someone comes to the house the same happens. I am putting him on his lead and giving him treats, but he continues to bark.

    My step son arrived last night, first time he has met the dog, and he barked at him on and off all night, he did settle eventually in the lounge but as soon as Josh moved it started again.

    He didnt do this for the first 5 days we had him, we had lots of visitors and he was lovely to them all. What have we done wrong? We tried shutting him in one room at nights when he first arrived, he was clearly upset and after 4 nights we took him up to our room and he's been fine since, do you think this could have upset him? We also have cats who he barks at everytime he sees, this is new to him too.
    I'm very worried as I have visitors coming next weekend and then 2 weeks after we have young children staying, one of whom is frightened of dogs!

    I start puppy classes tomorrow. I have read all the advice given, I've been taking him out into the front garden and working on him keeping calm when people pass by, i think that's working. It just seems so strange that he wasnt like this when we got him, I met him with his last owner and he showed no signs of this either.

    Do you think he might stop when he settles down, we've only had him for 11 days.

    Jill:confused:

    PS I'm a dog walker and have taken Obi out with all my dogs since he arrived, he's generally been fine with that, although there have been a couple of times when he's acted aggressively towards them. I'm wondering whether it's all been a bit much, too many new people and animals in a short space of time. His previous owner was a single man so a lot of change for him.
     
    #13 jilldaniel, May 22, 2010
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
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