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My dog will not stop barking.

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by sydneyechoted, Aug 20, 2013.


  1. sydneyechoted

    sydneyechoted PetForums Newbie

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    First of all, sorry this is so long!

    I have three Tollers, and my youngest is 2 and he's called Teddy. He is quite hyperactive, he never settles and is very excitable. He has been in obedience classes (positive reinforcement) since 8 weeks and is generally well behaved.

    My problem is his barking, he can bark all day everyday. He's very noise sensitive, any noise outside or inside the house and he will bark, and then he doesn't stop for a good few minutes. I think he's scared of these noises because he's always been nervous but I also sometimes think he's doing frustrated barks cause its an exciting noise and he can't get to it (like the cats jingly collar means there's a cat about he could be chasing) or he's in the kitchen but one of the other dogs has been taken away.

    He mostly barks at the tractor/quad bike passing, the gate opening, the door opening, the cat flap, a knock at the door, people talking in the living room if he's shut in the kitchen, the letterbox, the cats collar, doors opening and shutting, if one of the other dogs has been taken away. And if he's on a walk with one of the other dogs he will bark and lunge and other dogs but when he's alone he doesn't do this.

    About a year ago we got a qualified behaviourist in to try and help him, and we did all the things he suggested.
    We moved the stairgate from right next to the front door to the kitchen door which hasn't stopped his barking but he's not jumping at the gate when people come in the door anymore.
    We've stopped him being able to sit on the windowsill, as he would sit there all day watching out of the window before.
    Put a screen up in front of the kitchen door so he can't see out of the front windows.
    We tried using the plugin adaptil for a few months but it made no difference.
    We have tried a thundershirt for a few months and still occasionally but it made no noticeable difference.
    We tried various powders and drops in his food, like herbal remedies for calmness, which made no difference.
    We have tried a husher (which is like a bit of elastic that goes around his mouth to let him realise he's barking) but it didn't make a difference and even though I spent a long time introducing it he never really liked it on.
    We took him to the vet who said it was probably just the way he is, but prescribed him Clomicalm and we have tried distracting him when he's barking and treating him for going quiet but this hasn't made any difference. Most of the time he can't stop barking and can't focus on me he just runs back to the door/window and keeps barking.
    We have tried giving him frozen kongs and rawhide chews to occupy him and try to tire him out a bit, but he struggles to lie down to eat them and he often growls at the other dogs when he has them. And a couple of times one of my other dogs has flew at him and took a chunk from his ear, but if I keep them separate for his chews/kongs he howls and barks at being left alone.
    We also made a sound cd of all the sounds he barks at and played it really quietly in the kitchen and this did make a difference to his barking, but when our CD player broke he went back to the way he was before so we've made a new one but some sounds are too loud and some too quiet so it's hard to find a good volume.
    I've tried stooging the situations and getting someone to open the gate or knock on the door while I fire treats at him or scatter food, but he generally barks then takes a mouthful then barks etc.
    I know people suggest teaching him a speak command then teaching a quiet command, but I'm very reluctant to reward him for barking because I don't want to make his barking any worse.
    I've even tried shouting at him every time he barks (I know I shouldn't) and sometimes he looks at me then goes back to whatever he was doing before, but most of the time he carries on barking.
    I've got some brain games to try and keep him occupy him, the log with little squirrels in that he has to pull out and the dog food maze, but these just make him very excited. So I only really use them when he's already being mad to stop him bouncing off the walls.

    We have had some victories. He can now walk around the block without lunging at cars or cowering at tractors, although this took 5 months and a lot of food. Although he is still scared to death of motorbikes. He will also walk with his tail up and wagging, rather than tail between his legs and him cowering low to the ground and pulling. He has passed his KC Good Citizens bronze and his APDT foundation award. And he can go to agility classes without barking at the tunnel or dogs going through the tunnel, and only does occasional mad laps of the room.

    It doesn't help that the other two dogs are reactive as well so sometimes they will bark first at a noise and it sets Teddy off.

    I feel like I've hit a brick wall and I don't know what to do now. I've fixed most of his problems but I just can't crack his constant barking.

    Can anyone help us?
     
  2. tanglewood3

    tanglewood3 PetForums Member

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    Barking is probably the most difficult thing to stop. They do it naturally and without thinking. It also gives them a high.

    I would do lots of obedient things with him to help him concentrate and think. Look on youtube for tricks to teach him. He needs to be occupied.

    I would also prevent access to anywhere he can see outside. Crate would be best.

    As for the barking. If he is barking, say nothing. Just hold up a titbit and when he stops, say, 'Quiet', good quiet' and give the titbit. It may feel you are rewarding the barking, but you are rewarding the stopping of barking.

    You do this over and over and over. You will get to the stage where touching your titbit pocket may stop him and then try saying Quiet while he is barking.

    Try doing it in a specefic situation at first and make sure that you catch the moment when he doesn't bark at a time you expect him to, and say, 'Good quiet' and reward.

    Try in the meantime to distract him rather than shout at him when he barks.

    It will take a long time (months), but don't give up.
     
  3. Hopeattheendofthetunnel

    Hopeattheendofthetunnel PetForums VIP

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    Probably not what you want to hear....if Teddy was your ONLY dedicated, zesty barker, I'd say try putting the bark on cue, combined with teaching a "quiet" command alongside.

    But with THREE dogs egging each other on and setting each other off? Yowsa, the odds of any intervention succeding are not great.

    The only other avenue left to consider is putting an anti-bark collar (NOT a shock collar, just one which emits water vapour) on all three of them and see whether this reduces the frequency or duration of the barking. Whilst not a fan of these collars, I am not a fan of a relentless barrage of barking either.

    Good luck!
     
  4. paddyjulie

    paddyjulie PetForums VIP

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    Hi *waves*

    I'm Chesters side kick ...we used to go training classes ;)
     
  5. Fluffaluff

    Fluffaluff PetForums Member

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    My older adopted dog is very similar to this.
    Though we LOVE her dearly she is wearing us down. Whe nat home we cant sit with windows open, because even just someone walking past *she cant see them* she barks. Anyone who comes to the door she is in a state of mind where she would even bite me. An incident a few months back, we were out off lead and a child ran sort of close to use and she bolted at the child barking furiously, this has scared me the most as i dont want her to hurt anyone and we do have an 8 year old and put off having another child due to her nature.

    I feel bad because I feel like Ive let her down even though we have had her 2 years and not from a puppy. I just dont know what to do with her anymore. Our 1 year old Shih tzu doesnt show any of her behaviours and when he is alone he isnt bothered by the things that he would react to when they are together.
     
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