Excessive barking at dogs. Help needed!
I have an excessive barking issue with my dog I need to correct. There are three main places this is a big issues, in my house, in my yard and in my vehicle. Anywhere else she seems fine but in these places she is bad about barking. I will try to explain the behavior. She is 14 months old. We have done Obedience training and Nosework and when she is at class she is fine with the other dogs. When she is on walks she is fine with other dogs. When we are at the park and she meets other dogs she is fine with them there.
I take her out to let her go to the bathroom in our yard on a leash. If a dog passes she tends to bark at them. Sometimes she will even bark at people that pass, but not as often with people. This seems to only happen in my yard though if we go on a walk she doesn't bark at people or even the same dogs. On walks she never barks at people and is very friendly, sometimes she will bark at select dogs but typically those dogs are acting aggressively and are lunging/barking at her. 95% of dogs she will ignore on a walk. When she is in the yard though she will bark like crazy. I have managed to get this a little better with praising her when a dog passes and she doesn't react. I tell her "leave it" when a dog comes by and she seems like she is going to bark. I have tried treats but she ignores them completely. I have tried her number one prized possession a tennis ball when she starts to bark and she will go after the ball but literally bark with the ball in her mouth. I have had some success putting her in a down while a dog walks by but she is still not calm at all. Once she starts to bark I don't seem to have a way to shut her down. I usually just have to retreat from the situation and she stops barking. I have had people ask if the dogs could meet when she was barking and every time it has been the same reaction she runs up to them sniffs them and then puts her head down and looks up at them like she wants to play typical I want to play pose head down butt in the air. I have never seen her act like she was going to "fight", bite or lunge at a dog. The way she barks though I would expect most owners to think she would, I really don't think she want to fight at all.
If she is in the back yard she will bark at dogs and people that walk by. Not at every person but when she does she is very loud. If the neighbor has her dogs out she will just run up and down the fence with them and not bark at all. I basically manage this by making her come back inside if she starts barking at people. It makes it so I am not comfortable leaving her in the backyard as much as she could be.
If we are at home and she gets to a window she will just stare out the window and bark at any dogs or people that walk by. I basically just manage this by not allowing her access to the window. If I tell her to get down she will, but if I walk out of the room and she can get to that window she will go right back to barking.
If we are driving in the truck she has the same reaction. She barks like crazy at every dog we pass when we are driving. These can be the same dogs she will ignore on a walk but when we are in the vehicle she barks like crazy at them.
If we are watching TV any animal that comes on the TV she barks like crazy. I tell her to "leave it" and she will quiet down for a second then try to sneak in some barks. Again I really don't have a good way to shut her down.
I have never really disciplined her for this aside from retreating from the situation, telling her it was bad and telling her to leave it. I really need to get this under control before it gets too bad. I am kind of at a loss.
I sure can understand. My Sting was the same way. What I did was first read the book Barking: the Sound of a Language by Turid Rugaas which did help me understand and train. It does take consistency and practice. What I had to learn was not to retreat but to take charge. I would make him sit and put my hand gently on top of his nose - to quiet him, all the time making sure I was between the distraction and him. I also had him on his leash. The second I got his attention - I moved and he had to follow me - I would change directions suddenly - keeping his attention on me and then I would have him sit again and do the stay - then reward. By this time he had quieted. As he got better, the routine shortened. I had to learn when my Sting barked - he shut out everything else.
Barriers - leashes, fences, windows - tend to amplify what is already there. Does your dog possibly have some anxiety about other dogs? How often does she play/meet strange dogs? Are you sure she's okay with them? Many dogs who are uncomfortable or too excited playing with dogs off-leash develop the type of reactivity you are talking about.
When she meets other dogs she seems to love them. Even when meeting smaller dogs that try to dominate her she just plays with them. My mom has a maltese/poodle mix that has little dog syndrome and tries to dominate her she just lets her try to bite her then sometimes she will run away and back to her over and over as a game or put her front feet in the air and plop down in front of her but doesn't even touch her. She typically just smells the other dog and goes right in to play mode. She will put her head on the ground under their head and turn up and look at them. She does the look I have always read is the play mode with the butt in the air but her head near the ground. I have never seen her act aggresive with another dog she met at training, on the street or that has come over.
Sometimes it seems like her barking is a call for attention like come look at me or why aren't you playing with me.
Mary Beth thanks for the book suggestion I will look in to that book!
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