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Barking help!

Old-timer here.  It has been a loooong time since I've posted on the Nest Boards.  Wow these look different these days.  

Anyhow - I have a pet question - 

We have a new pup who is 9 months old and a rescue. She's a 14lb terrier mix - mostly cairn terrier - maybe westie too.  Super cute and we adore her.  I have no idea what life was like for her before we got her, but for us at home she is quiet, never barks, a lovable sweetheart, great with my girls. And then. . she barks like mad when someone comes to the door, if we're out for a walk and she encounters people, or - oh man, at the vet. She barked constantly in the waiting room. Would not shut up. It's not a vicious bark - and she doesn't bite - if the stranger approaches her she'll lick their hand and then back up and keep barking.  I wouldn't care if she barked and then stopped, but she just keeps barking.  I think she's fearful, but I'm not sure how to change it. A bark collar? Would that work? And that wouldn't stop her from being fearful, right? We're new dog owners so any advice you have is welcome. I want to be able to walk her down the street without her barking like a lunatic.  

Here's a pic of our girl.  Love her!

Re: Barking help!

  • hmmm, barking is hard, our girl barks at us when she is bored and wants us to do something (we've combatted that with lots of toys, puzzles, etc. and trying to ignore the barking, but I don't think that'll work for you). 

    Try to learn her triggors and think of ways to avoid them. is she food driven? if so you could have some frozen KONGs, or dog puzzles at the ready when someone comes to the door allow her to bark once or twice (barking is a natural thing for dogs, you don't want to completely discourage it), tell her good girl, and give her a distraction toy so her mouth is busy with that and she starts learning that one or two barks are enough.  On your walks, if you see someone coming, turn and go a different way, don't give her the chance to bark, you may not be able to avoid all situations, but reducing the number of times she can exhibit the behavior may help. 

    try bringing distractions to the vet too.  if it's a freaful experience for her make some trips there when she doesn't have an appointment, treats in the waiting room, treats from the receptionist, if they have an empty exam room treats in the exam room...turn the vet into a place she gets lots of treats instead of a place to be afraid of. 

    if her mouth is full, she can't bark.
    Me: 28 H: 30
    Married 07/14/2012
    TTC #1 January 2015
    BFP! 3/27/15 Baby Girl!! EDD:12/7/2015
  • There's some helpful info on bark training in the Pets Board FAQs, which should be stickied at the top of the board. Identifying the reason for the barking (boredom, anxiety, fear, etc.) is the first step, as the type of training varies depending on why your pup is barking (as PP said, if the dog is barking for attention, ignoring the behavior is probably the most effective method). Our pup was an alarm barker (doorbell/knocking were his biggest triggers), so we taught him the "quiet" command and also tried to preemptively distract him by putting him in a sit on his bed and using look/watch me when we knew someone was coming over and not allowing him to approach the door or the person until he was calm and quiet. GL!
  • She's very cute! 

    I second trying to teach her a quiet command and using distraction toys when you can. If that doesn't work I would consult a behaviorist. 

    Daisypath Anniversary tickers 



  • Also, If your cutie-pie is a bit reactive on a leash, check out the Yellow Dog Project Linky it is a fantastic project picking up momentum in fostering awareness. Basically tie a yellow ribbon around your dog's leash or collar somewhere (if she's tollerent a yellow bandana could work too) it lets people out walking know that your pup may need a bit more space, for whatever reason. 

    Me: 28 H: 30
    Married 07/14/2012
    TTC #1 January 2015
    BFP! 3/27/15 Baby Girl!! EDD:12/7/2015
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