How to teach quiet? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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How to teach quiet?

My 9 month old boy has been protective barking lately...when he hears an odd noise outside or any weird noise at night. Does anyone know what's a good method to teach quiet? At the moment I bring out a treat to distract him from barking, but I don't feel as if he "gets" it. Suggestion?

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 02:19 PM
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Re: How to teach quiet?

When someone knocks on the door we put Jerzey in a sit-stay and tell her "quiet." We won't open the door until she stops barking. Despite no treat reinforcement and not even practicing it all that much, she's actually learning it. We've been trying to train it pretty informally (basically, we only work on it when someone actually comes over) but she's getting it slowly. It's not 100% but she's catching on.

I know someone will have more solid advice but I figured I'd throw my own two cents in...

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 10:41 PM
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Re: How to teach quiet?

Aloha, all. Whenever Rasa barks at the odd noise, etc, I come outside and I "good girl praise her" and while she is looking at me and still barking then I tell her ok "quiet". She shuts up and maybe she will mumble a bit. Now she will not bark much (only growl) unless it is very serious or something startles her. If I come out and show concern, she will start barking loudly. All in all I allow her to bark at strange noises because maybe a stranger is walking by (unusual because I am way out in the country but there is a homeless shelter 1 mile away and a State of Hawaii "crazy house" about 4 blocks away and barking lets it be known that the place is guarded). I am perfectly happy with this setup.

Anyone have suggestions on how to train to get a lower volume in barking? ie bark soft when indoors and loud outside?

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 10:31 AM
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Re: How to teach quiet?

I'm not quite sure what you [the OP] are asking for. Do you want a command (quiet) that will stop your dog from barking or do you want your dog not to bark at "strange noises" during the night? A quiet command is very useful but you are still going to be woken up at night with barking...

Regardless, here's a way I was shown to teach quiet that worked very well. At an early age my pup would bark if I put her in her crate and then left the room. I would leave the room and hide just outside the door with a bunch of treats. The idea was to wait until the barking stopped.

At first it wouldn't stop of course. But eventually she would tire herself and have to take a break, however short. You have to be ready to act quickly as the break might only be for a few seconds. As soon as she would stop, I'd enter the room saying "Quiet, good quiet" and give her a treat or two. Then I'd leave again.

I only had to repeat this a few times before she got the idea. What was cool (to me) is that she both learned crate = quiet and the quiet command. I can now get her to bark (gib laut) and she will stop mid-bark and swallow the last bark if I switch to "quiet".
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 10:48 AM
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Re: How to teach quiet?

We had a problem with Duchess, granted she was about a yr older than your pup at the time. BUT we used bitter apple, diluted at first, didn't work, had to go full strength. She would bark at other dogs, etc in class. So each time she barked, she'd get a spray in the mouth with the command. Took a couple weeks to break an ingrained habit, but at 12.5 she still knows the command.


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How to teach quiet?

Yeah I don't mind that he does protective barking (after all it's part of the breed to be protective) I just want him to learn to stop barking when I ask him.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 08:18 PM
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Re: How to teach quiet?

Aloha, and followup to my previous post, whenever I am sure Rasa is just barking at a cat or Mongoose, I act very down and depressed and say stuff like, all that barking for a cat? You're sure on a power trip! Whenever it is a signal that there is a suspecious noise, I act all excited and "good girl, lets look" and we go around to find the source of the noise. All my behavior Mod is done right on the spot as I have learned that even waiting 2-3 seconds after a behavior is TOO late. So I basically have done NO formal training classes/sessions with Rasa, (no time). I just mark good behavior and minimize the bad,----she is slowing falling into the pattern of my lifestyle. I basically use very little treats. And she is becoming more and more obedient.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-14-2009, 02:25 PM
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Re: How to teach quiet?

I read somewhere that there are two types of barking. One is nuisance barking, which is not what is being discussed here. The other is barking to alert the pack that they think something is wrong. In the wild the alpha will check things out and decide if there really is something wrong or not.
So what I do is go to the window or door that he's barking at and take a look. Then I tell him "enough" "leave it" if there"s nothing there. He just turned 8 mths and he's very good at stopping immediately when I do this. I'm thinking that eventually I'll be able to get him to stop by just telling him "enough" without having to go look every time. It can be a nuisance considering all he is ever barking at is a squirrel or a loud vehicle going down the road or things like that. We live in the country so there isn't much else going on.


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-15-2009, 08:19 AM
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Re: How to teach quiet?

Do NOT get excited, yell, etc. The dog thinks, "Wow - there really IS something out there!! She's barking too! I better bark more!"

Zack barks at everything. I want Zack to alert me to sounds, but I don't think falling leaves are dangerous. So, I thank him for letting me know that a dust mote floated through the room and then say in a quiet voice, "Quiet." The minute I get silence, I say calmly, "Goood quiet..thank you for quiet."

BTW, they bark at UPS drivers, garbage men, etc. because they've proven to themselves that barking makes them go away!

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