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Excessive Barking. Please help

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Beckham's Mommy, Jun 16, 2018.


  1. Beckham's Mommy

    Beckham's Mommy PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, everyone -

    I have a 6 year old male Chihuahua/Dachshund mix named Beckham. I adopted him from a shelter 18 months ago and he has been my sidekick ever since. I love him to pieces. He is a great watch dog and gets along well with other dogs. The issue I am having with him is his EXCESSIVE barking when men come around, my boyfriend in particular. Since the first day the two met, Beckham has barked excessively at him. He does not let him pet him or get close to him. Beckham will literally bark for almost the entire time my boyfriend is visiting. He usually stops barking for a few minutes and will get a drink of water or jump up on the couch with us but then starts barking again. I've tried holding him, petting him, telling him it's ok, everything. The barking does not stop. While I'm holding him, I can feel his heart beating fast and he sometimes begins panting like he is out of breath. I've noticed that if my boyfriend stands up or moves closer to Beckham, he will flinch and back off but continues barking. Recently, I was at my sister's house and a male friend came over. Beckham started the excessive barking again and would not calm down. Another time, I took him to the dog park and there was a man who walked by us. Once again, Beckham began barking like crazy. However, he does not bark at my brother or uncle. He also does not bark at the vet, even though the vet is a male. I also took him to my cousin's house and he did not bark at her husband. I live in an apartment and encounter my neighbors quite often while walking Beckham around the complex. He does not bark at any of the males. Unfortunately, I do not know much about his background or where he came from. All the shelter told me was that he was on the street and someone took him to the shelter. I wonder if he was possibly abused in the past by a male. But then I still wonder why he only barks at some men but not others. It is frustrating because I want my boyfriend to feel comfortable when he comes over. I want Beckham to feel comfortable around my boyfriend too. My boyfriend treats me well and I want Beckham to know that he is not a threat. We do not argue or yell or anything that would possibly trigger Beckham. My boyfriend is calm during all the barking but I can tell that it bothers him. I am considering taking Beckham to a dog trainer who can help get to the bottom of this and find a solution.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you everyone for reading.
     
  2. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Probably best to get a vet referral to a good behaviourist who can assess the dog and recommend ways to change this behaviour.

    It sounds like fear/anxiety to me.

    Only use someone who advocates reward based, positive methods.

    In the meantime, put some distance between him and what sets him off. Try placing him behind a baby gate when someone comes and avoid close encounters when out.

    Sit with him on a leash (avoid holding him as that might make him feel trapped) on the other side of the room when OH is around so he can settle. Allow him to choose whether or not to interact.

    Treat/praise when he’s calm.

    The stress hormone builds so give him a few quiet days at home so he can start again on “empty”.
     
    MissSpitzMum and tabelmabel like this.
  3. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Hiya i am certainly not expert enough to guide you through to fixing this problem but holding him and petting him when he is barking is definitely not what to do. That is basically you validating his barking and telling him he is a good dog for doing it!

    I expect, when he jumps up on the couch, he sits right by your side and barks at your boyfriend?

    I would not allow him to do this either. You need to be in a unit with your boyfriend, not your dog.

    @Lurcherlad has good advice there -put some space between your dog and boyfriend and have your boyfriend throw some tasty treats forward when the dog is quiet. You must resist the urge to pet your dog for barking. And remain completely disengaged if the dog sticks by your side. If it jumps on your lap, say nothing, no cuddles. Just quickly pop it down. Have your boyfriend throw treats forward only when your dog settles and is calm
    Not if the dog is barking or trying to strain forward to get to him. Practise short sessions a few times a day.
     
  4. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    This isn't strictly true...depending on the reasons for barking but if this is fear based then you will not be rewarding him by comforting him :)

    This resource might be of use http://careforreactivedogs.com/
    I would advise getting in a recommended force free trainer to help you set up a plan that helps, I think it will be best to get hands on advise because unlike us they will be able to see the true context of the barking.

    In the mean time can you set up a safe space for him so that he has somewhere to go when visitors come around, you might find with his safe space the barking calms a bit because he isn't worried about being approached when he isn't comfortable :)
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  5. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Thanks @StormyThai! I didn't know that so probably shouldn't have posted when i don't properly know what i am talking about! But i will leave my post up and then your correction of it makes sense:)
     
  6. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    Don't know if it helps but my dog doesn't like visitors much. His 'safe place' is my bedroom upstairs. He has access to it and sometimes he chooses to stay in the room with visitors and sometimes he just goes off upstairs.
    I can't change his nature, or make him gregarious when he obviously isn't, so I allow him choices.
    Fortunately I've not had to deal with him barking at visitors but that might be because he's always had the option of leaving.
     
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