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Old 03-03-2011, 06:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Excessive barking at other dogs

Dagger is really bad about barking at strange dogs. She barked non-stop at Petsmart the other day, and today my neighbor's teeny dog (don't know what it is) was outside, and she barked at it, too.

Her tail is wagging when this happens, but her hackles are up. When she gets near enough to the other dogs, she stops barking and sniffs them, but when I pull her away to keep going about my business, she starts barking again!

Is this aggression, or fear, or just wanting to play? And how do I get her to stop barking nonstop at the other dog long enough for the dog and their owner to let her meet them? My neighbor was kind enough to let me get Dagger near enough to her little dog (which is probably seven pounds, tops) to smell her. But it was obvious she was worried about my 34lb. puppy getting too close to her little dog, and even the dog seemed a little scared. I can't socialize her if she scares off all potential friends! What should I do?
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Old 03-07-2011, 03:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I am in the same boat here! We had a friend bring her dog over, a king charles spaniel, my pup barked NON stop. I had to eventually crate him while we tried to have some dinner. Today at the park, we were sitting watching the kids playing. He was very calm, lying down with his head on my lap. This poor dog waddles over to us, also a very calm dog. Zoo (my pup) starts going nuts,barking and would not stop. I tried redirecting him, but this did not work! even with his favorite treat. I would also love some advice.
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Old 03-07-2011, 03:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This is all fear and you should not try to have your pup meet other strange dogs at PetSmart as you can't control the type of dog she's meeting. You are better off meeting known dog safe dogs that you can have lie down so they are less scary looking and encourage your pup to walk by from a distance. By forcing your pup to get near other dogs the way you are doing, you are making things worse.

Socializing does not mean your dog has to meet or play with other dogs; it means your dog is around other dogs and shows no interest in them.

I personally will correct dogs for barking at other dogs as it's unacceptable behavior. I don't correct the fear, just the behavior, and then praise the dog for stopping it. I don't let other dogs get too close where I know the dog can't handle it.
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I agree that it is fear. I am currently working with my 18 month old on the same issue. My trainer has us working on the "Look at That" game from the book Control Unleashed. If you haven't read it, then I would recommend reading it. It might help.

I tried the correction route that Elaine mentions above but it wasn't working for Willow. Not saying it doesn't work from some dogs but it was my opinion as well as the trainer that corrections weren't the way to go in Willow's case so I switched gears.
So far Willow is doing very well and in our last session we were out in a park, walking parallell, opposite and even towards another dog/handler and Willow was able to keep calm. When we got too close and she would start whining a bit, we just moved back a few feet and started again. We were still at a distance of more than 30 feet and our next step is to cut the distance even more and walk within 10 feet of another dog/handler. The key is when you are first working on your training to start at a comfortable distance for your dog. Do not get so close that they are barking, barking, barking and you are not able to get their attention. Start far away and work closer as your dog allows.
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I am by far no expert on the matter, so please take my advice how you will.

It seems like both of you are scared or nervous of your puppy barking excessively at other dogs.

So for example, I am about to take my puppy into Petsmart, and I'm really nervous she's going to bark like crazy, right away she is feeding off my nervous energy, when we get in there, and she starts barking, the nervousness and embarrassment that can occur will certainly not help the situation.

I like to think of projecting energy with a simple example. My nephew falls and bumps his head infront of me and my sister. He immediately looks towards us. If for example we both make a sad face and said 'Ooooh hunny, are you okay? Come here my baby, let me kiss it better.", there is a good chance he will start to cry because he can sense something bad just happened. If when he turns to us we say in a calm cool voice 'Its okay, you're fine.', odds are he will just get up and keep playing. Obviously this is assuming the bump isn't too excessive.

Puppies in my opinion are the same, if when the excessive barking starts and you just get nervous and anxious hoping its all going to go away, it'll probably only get worse. And this starts from the second you get out of the car in the parking lot of Petsmart.

I encourage you to work on what type of energy you are sending out, I know its probably a lot harder than it sounds, but it could help.

It goes back to a bigger picture of becoming the alpha male in the pack. If your puppy knows you are the leader and respects you as the leader, then when you redirect him from barking he should stop.

Obviously a lot of the above would only happen in a perfect world, but it definitely could help.

I remember watching an episode of The Dog Whisperer, and this one lady's dog would gnarl and bark at any people passing by. When Cesar walked in the room alone with him, he was absolutely fine, the dog layed at his feet and was submissive.

The second his owner walked in, she had this fearful look on her face like she was saying 'It's okay hunny, he's only here to help.', immediately the dog started gnarling and barking. It was an amazing thing to see and Cesar was able to show the audience exactly how projecting negative energy can encourage bad behaviour.

I really hope this helps.

Also, I am not implying either of you are bad owners in the least bit, I'm just simply stating what I think could be the problem and what could possibly help.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks, guys! I think I've figured out a method that works with Dagger:

I took her to my friend's, who is also the man I bought her from. I walked her with a prong collar, and he walked beside us with his GSD, Hera (who happens to be Dagger's mom). We passed several fenced yards with dogs that barked nonstop as we passed by. He instructed that I should just yank once on the leash, firmly say "no" and continue walking like nothing happened. It took her a little bit to understand, but she finally figured out that she should just ignore them! It was such a relief to see her walk by the dogs with hardly a bark. She still watched them, but she was mostly quiet and stayed right by my side!
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