4 yr old dog please help with barking - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2013, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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4 yr old dog please help with barking

I have a 4 year old GSD, Kane that I have had for 5 months. My problem is he barks a lot and I cannot get him to stop. He is very well behaved, follows commands except when told quiet. He will bark a lot when my husband gets up (he works nights and sleeps during the day) as well as when he gets home. He will bark at him like he is a stranger coming through the door. He will bark at my daughter when she comes up from downstairs. I want him to bark when people come to the door but will stop when told to. He barks at people when meeting them but does it as he is meeting them. He is a very gentle boy just sounds like he wants to eat you.
We are starting our camping season in a few weeks and need to get this under control before our first trip.
Any advise anyone can give me will be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2013, 09:49 PM
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Barking: the sound of a language by Turid Rugass (it is a short book) has some great advice. It has sure helped my Sting's barking habit.


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2013, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I will look for the book. I have tried so many things and none have worked. It is so surprising because he follows commands so good. I just have to find the right thing that will work for us.
Thanks again.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2013, 11:16 PM
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If it is not yard barking one thing that helps is to reward the quiet. Catch the dog quiet - "good quiet" - reward. This is great for clicker training but it can be done without. It is how I taught my puppy to be quiet in his crate.

Ignore the barking. Don't give ANY attention to the dog when he barks. The minute he stops all is good. It worked for me.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-11-2013, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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We have tried to ignore it. My husband keeps treats in his pocket and won't acknowledge him until he has stopped barking, then will pet him and give him a treat. I think some of it is being protective of me. I am with him all the time. If I do go somewhere he usually won't bark when I come home. I really appreciate the advise, we will definitely try it.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-11-2013, 06:03 PM
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I hope Nancy's advise works for you. My Sting flunked out at that. Of course, my timing could have been off. What he did was quiet - grab treat - bark. I had to have him sit - then - down stay - then - the reward - by the time he got through that routine - he had quieted down. It takes persistence - but it can be done. Also putting your hand over the top of his nose has a quieting effect.


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-11-2013, 10:02 PM
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Make sure your dog is getting a lot of exercise. Just being let out into the yard or 3 walks a day usually is not enough.

Ensure barking is never rewarded incidentally.

Practice your obedience commands daily. In the house as well as out.

Train your dog to bark (speak, or whatever cue you like). Once your dog barks on your cue and knows this trick, you can teach your dog to "shh" or "quiet". It might go something like this:

Speak! *he barks* --> you reward with treat or whatever your dog loves. He has barked on cue and now is waiting for your next message. Then say "shhh" or quiet" and reward. Repeat. You can use a clicker to mark if you wish right after you say quiet, since he isn't barking at that point then you reward.

Once it is obvious, your dog can bark at the door like you want him to, but when you have had enough, you will be able to say "shh" or quiet" and throw a toy or ask for a sit or down, etc. but don't ask him to hold the sit/down for long at first. I've found with very active dogs, an active pose (like going to get a toy, or tossing him a ball) is much easier than a static pose that he has to hold (like a sit).

You have turned the barking into a trick, or a cue and how to quiet on cue using environmental changes (exercise) and operant conditioning using positive reinforcement.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your advise. I will try everything, hopefully it will work. We have made sure that he gets exercise and ignore the bark. He is my second shepherd and he has a very loud big boy bark so that just makes it worse. It appears that he was abused prior to us having him. Some things will trigger a fear in him, he will bark and run away at the same time (only with my husband). I am being incredibly patient with him. He is fine with me barks very little or not at all when I come home. He is a big gentle boy and will learn that he doesn't need to bark at every person he hears moving in the house. Thanks again everyone.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-16-2013, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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I am waiting for the book to arrive. I hope it helps. Camping season is starting soon ( I hope ) and I need to get this under control. He doesn't respond to any commands telling him to be quiet. Once he settles down then we reward him. I am very anxious for the book to arrive. Thank you
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-16-2013, 01:02 PM
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While you are waiting for her book to arrive, you may want to look on her website that has questions and answers: Turid Rugaas - Calming Signals Community The book did help me understand and train my Sting who is also a big boy and has a deep loud bark. It does take consistency and practice. As another post suggested, movement helps also. In the beginnning of the training - I would grab Sting's bear - squeak it - and have Sting follow me away from the attraction and I would reward for the following. I had to learn when my Sting barked - he shut out everything else and getting his focus and attention was the challenge - sometimes I even had to stand right in front of him - have him sit - focus on the toy or treat. My Sting did learn that yes, he could bark a few times and I would go see what it was - then he had to be quiet and got rewarded.


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