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Midgt55's picture
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Hi all,

I need help!! I have a 16mth old boy call Anubis. I love him to death (even with all his normal puppy feral-ness!!)   :)

However I am getting complaints from my neighbours because of his barking and I don't know how to stop it.

Most importantly he only seems to do this when I am not home. When my roommate is home he apparently is still really barky.

I'll try to give as much information as I can, but feel free to ask for clarification :)

I walk him as often as I can (sometimes life gets in the way). But he normally gets out 5-7days a week. On the weekends he will get a 1-2 hour walk. During the week is more of a 45min-1hr walk.

He has obedience 1-2/week (depends on work schedule).

I have tried toys/treats as a distraction. They work fine until he finishes them and then goes back to barking (I asked my neighbours to let me know).

When I am home, if he barks, I have tried the distraction techniques, i.e. another noise to startle him out of him, praise for being quiet etc. It works when I am home, once again and not my roommate.

I have even resorted to anti bark collars - citronella and ultra sonic. I assume he seems to think the citronella smells pretty as I have been told he stands there and sometimes empties it in once 'bark session'. Ultra sonic - no effect, but I think he manages to shake it around so it doesn't sit on his neck properly. (the bark collars seem to be wearing a little balding patch too :(
My breeder suggested maybe the bird house ultra sonic thingo?? I know it will stop him from barking at everything though???

At the moment I am having to keep him inside for the sake of my neighbours, but as I am sure you can all appreciate, he is going stir crazy!!!

I do live across the road from a primary school - however he will back after school is out and before I get home. I'm not entirely sure this is the cause of the barking.

I do have small yappers that live near me (and bark constantly and no one seems to care about them - very annoying!!!!). He has stopped barking whenever they bar (once again this is only when I am home), but seems to be more the tone of their bark which will set him off.

Anyone/thing that passes near me is bark worthy I have been told. He still barks at my neighbours sometimes. I have been given the impression he barks because he likes it/is bored???

I have considered separation anxiety - so please tell me if I have missed some signs of what to look out for. When I leave he doesn't seem to care. When I leave I normally leave him with a treat/something to chew on. Sometimes once I have given it to him we won't even look at me. If he is inside he normally will be eating/curled up asleep. Sometimes when I am home I will leave him outside for a bit (I had him outside for approx 6hours one day to see what his barking was like). He barked maybe 6-7 times during that entire time outside. I would consider that normal? I have been told when I am not home it is more like 6-7 times in a 1/2hr bracket.

I have been told even if he is inside he will bark at the randoms of the outside world when I am not home.

I don't know what else I can try???? My friend mentioned her sister in law who adopted a rescue dog that had been 'debarked' or whatever they call it. He can still bark, but just at a lower intensity and is an extremely happy dog. (Please don't vilify me for mentioning it, I'm not saying I will, just that I need help). I don't want to have to resort to that, but if I get many more complaints I may not have a choice. I feel like all I am doing is telling him off for barking (bark collars and the such) and he doesn't seem to get the difference of when to bark and when not to?

Sorry for the essay, was just trying to get as many details across as I can.

Please help me :(

DJ's Dad's picture
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I have no solution....my dobergal, DJ is not all that vocal.  She only barks when she 'means business'.

PLEASE dont even consider a de-barking surgery!!!  I have a little rescued Pom that came from the shelter and one of his previous owners (he's had several, poor little dude) had him debarked because he was 'too vocal'.  It does NOT stop the urge to bark. It does NOT stop them from doing what they do....it only serves to make your dog sound pitiful and unloved, if you want my personal opinion.  My little Tigger can only make 'huffing' sounds when he tries to bark.  It's sad and I wish there was a way to un-do what has been done to him by some thoughtless past owner, but it's a permanant cutting of the vocal chords and can't be reversed.

KevinK's picture
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Welcome!  What training methods and/or techniques are you familiar with?

HarleyBear's picture
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I'll be looking carefully at this post.  I have a foster at home right now that is driving me and the rest of the family batty.  I really don't know what to do with her anymore.  Her barking is driven by anxiety (it is very clearly anxiety.  She whines and pants when we are home).  But I don't know how to calm her down.  Thundershirts, DAP, Rescue Remedy, etc.  She used to wear a citronella collar, but it didn't work for her either.

Have you figured out why he is barking?  Is it something outside?  Or is anxiety from you not being there?  Getting to the reason might help you narrow it down the possible solutions.

Midgt55's picture
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Hi KevinK - I am familiar with different techniques - although I don't claim to be proficient in any. I have taken him to different training places and have tried most things from positive reinforcement only (doesn't seem to be very effective), to old school dominance (not the biggest fan of this).
I am open to suggestions :)

DJ's Dad - I don't want to, but if it that or extremely unhappy neighbours, I'm not sure I'm being left with much choice. I keep getting complaints :( 
(p.s. I have seen a dog that has been debarked and he seemed happy? Like he didn't even know that he wasn't barking at his normal volume)

Midgt55's picture
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HarleyBear - I have no idea why he is barking :(

I don't know if it is from outside stimuli or anxiety. If it is anxiety then I don't see any other sign.

I could be wrong, but I think it either he is bored or he thinks everything is worth barking at??

KevinK's picture
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Debarking a dog is 100% wrong, and not something that will be supported here.  You can stop ANY dog from barking by doing the following:

 

1) Figuring out exactly why they are barking.  Where 99% of people go wrong, is they don't know why the dog is barking.  If they don't know why the dog is barking, they can't work on the problem.  So, while they "think" they are working on the problem, they're not.  Barking doesn't stop, dog gets blamed.  If eating an apple give me a headhache, and I like to eat apples, I will get alot of headaches.  If someone were to say "Oh, maybe it's stress, try a massage, relaxing, etc.".  If my headaches WERE related to stress, getting a relaxing massage may help.  However, if I'm still eating apples, I accomplished absolutely zero towards solving my headache problem.  Same applies with nuisance barking.

2) Once you figure out why the dog is barking, you can come up with an appropriate plan.

3) Once you have a plan, you work it into your daily training.

 

I'd be curious to know what kind of daily training, mental stimulation, and exercise your dog gets.  The majority of nuisance barking comes from one of these 3 things not meeting the requirement of the dog.

Midgt55's picture
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I have no idea why he is barking, I know that is my problem :(

He will get out 5-7 times a week (depending on what life gets in the way).
Week night outings are approx 45min-1hr walk/run and weekend are more like 1h-1.5hr walk/run.

He will go to obedience 1-2 week. I also do maybe 10mins training at home daily.

He has toys - rope toys seem to be favoured as he likes to chew (read shred) them.

I have treat dispensing toys, inside and out. Once food is finished, he is finished with them.

He is primarily raw fed, so will have bones and the such to eat while I am out - again, once finished goes back to barking I am told.

I don't know what else to do or what I should be looking for?

KevinK's picture
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Dobermans can be a pretty demanding breed, more so than others, and it mostly comes down to their intelligence, and energy levels.  It's a breed where generally if "life gets in the way", that can cause problems.  Many dobermans NEED daily training, exercise, mentail stimulation, being challened, every day.  Some are more laid back, but many are not, they are alot of work.  We do our regular training, bitework, scent detection, and anything else we can think of.  If you don't provide the proper energy outlets, your dog will find it's own way to get that energy out, and usually it is in ways that as humans we don't find to be acceptable.  Such as nuisance barking.  Life can't get in the way with dobermans.  In order for my girl to be happy, I gave up 2 hours of sleep a night.  If I wasn't willing to do that, she wouldn't be like she is now, she would be an out of control, crazy dog.

Midgt55's picture
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So what do you recommend I do?

Longer/more walks? More training at home? I'm willing to try anything.

I find any toy etc outside he tends to loose interest in once the food is gone - what else can I try?

Midgt55's picture
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What should I do for mental stimulation? More training - or is there other things I can try?

Joined: 2012-10-28

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Our B. really loves the (nosework) find it game. She has to lie and stay while I hide her toy or rarely a treat in the other part of the house. Then I come back, tell her Good Dog" for staying and she leaps into action when I show my empty hands and command "Find IT".

Depends on how well you hide things her mission is to root it out and Boy is she proud when she does!!

Some people leave numerous hidden things in the house for to keep the dog occupied when they go out. It helps to name her toys, too, Bella knows which toy is which, believe me:)

A game like this can be played indoors in the evening and subtly work on other commands as well!

We also have learned her bark language there are many different tones and "words " they use. Listen carefully and try to categorize (translate) them. You would be surprised how many different kinds of barks there are.

 Does he do other vocals? Like whines or whowlishes??

JMHO,

 

JBK and woof from B, she is 18 mo.

Midgt55's picture
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He is a very vocal boy - he most definitely has an opinion about everything and loves to tell about it - all the time :)  idk what 'whowlishes' is? He does whine & groan about everything.

I can't realy tell a difference between barks they are pretty much all the rolling 'intruder alert, intruder alert' type of bark, but I can't see what he is actually barking at. There is sometimes a 'something startled me, so I'll bark'.

That sounds like a fun game, one I can definitely start tonight. I have never bother to teach him the toys names. How do you teach the names? I assume you would hold the treat, say the toy name and then treat - repeat until he understands?

Thanks for everyones help with this :)

talisin's picture
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I had this problem with my collie that just passed a year and half ago. He never shut up except for the most part when he was inside the house and couldn't see anything moving. He was high anxiety from his previous life of trauma outside, he was afraid of being outside apparently that was ok he was an inside dog no problem right ??? wrong.....inside he got to where he would run to the door and bark, and he got to where he barked so much and used his back feet to "kick off" with to propel the bark further - he ruined the hardwood floor - his kicking pulled all the "pithe" out of the oak floors and it's like walking on grooved wood....we tried everything also, exercising him to exhaustion but he still insisted on barking, he stalked people through the bushes around the perimeter of our fence and would then jump out at them puffing himself up and scaring the living daylights out of them; when he barked inside the house with the door closed he would go nuts cause we have a leaded glass windowed door which made him see not one not two, but a hundred of whatever was signaling him......now he barked from age 1 to 14 drove me nuts; I tried all the things you mentioned along with the exercise, trying to figure out what set him off was easy (everything including leaves moving on the ground), I tried brushing him which he liked most of the time and he would be zoning out enjoying his brushing and out of nowhere he would jump up and race off no amount of calmness on my part or giving him pleasant experiences during distractions, treat training to keep him focused away from the distractions nothing worked, he hated toys so couldn't use that, even tried various muzzles so that he could at least HEAR ME when I was trying to speak to him and they didn't work either, there was no way to speak to him during this barking fit, I was at a loss, even the vet witnessed his barking fits and he noticed that it would actually take an actual touch to get him to refocus so I began trying to stand up EVERY time he barked and go barely touch his hair to distract him, he got to where touch didn't work either, I would throw noisy things to redirect his attention as I am on crutches and couldn't just "appear" like god to teach him something, I was ready to admit myself to the asylum - now the kicker to this story is that when we first got him back in 2000 he drove our neighbors nuts too, they could hear him even inside our house, after only two weeks of having Goofy our neighbors threatened to hurt him while we weren't looking, he was never allowed out unsupervised but they said they would harm him somehow, well that could be meat laced with something thrown over the fence, a bullet, poison etc. one even said " you wouldn't want your dog to turn up missing would you" so I took him to the vet to rule out health issues and we discussed all options and he said he could use a laser to cut the "flap" that vibrates that causes the bark, not the vocal cords that is old school he showed me the surgery, we discussed everything to the finest detail, we waited a few weeks and tried more things but ended up having to try the laser surgery - the deal is you have to keep your dog quiet for at least 8 weeks we made that mark, but the vet said that if the dog had this serious of an obsession with barking non stop it would cause the flap to "regrow" with scar tissue and the volume of the bark would increase as the scar tissue grew and then you would have your original bark back. That's what happened, Goofy insisted on barking and the only thing with his voice was that it was a tiny bit hoarse but loud goodness me, and he was a very happy dog didn't have any issues etc. And having had that laser surgery I would not ever do it again as it isuseless for automatic barking and put my dog under anesthesia unnecessarily which is always a risk.....now I know some byb do still cut the vocal cords and it is a vicious surgery and should not be done......I saw that surgery when I worked at the vet hospital and swore that was one of the most horrible things I ever saw......so I understand your frustration and know what you mean when you say there may not be another option. Yes it's great to think we can train the barking out of the dog, but I never met anyone that could help with Goofy they all threw up their hands.....I do believe that sometimes it isn't ALL the owner's fault that they have a barking dog......I have great faith in the trainers here and I am all ears to learn how to deal with this obessive compulsive barking cause goofy was always in a different world during his barking rages, he wasn't just barking he was raging.....I also know that dobes are super smart and if any dog can learn not to bark at everything I would sincerely believe it would be the doberman if that helps.....

Joined: 2012-10-28

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Wow Tal what a story to have to read. And I know you Loved Goofy so much!

What a trial. Some dogs are just trials... when I was growing up the kind saleslady at Macy's decided to give us a purebred long hair Welsh Corgi. (Collie with no legs) She went under the neighbors house and barked.... barked,,,,, barked;;;; barked. They almost went nuts, had a newborn (human) and all...

About the toys: I always just call them what they are and after a few days she knows which is which, no treats: there is Piggy, Yellow bone, Gummy bone, Duck, Rope toy, and Antler and new toy. The only one that is just Toy is the one she had when we got her. Usually her "duck" stuffies are the "new toy"... they dont last long, but are still her faves. You could just as well call them Joe and Bob, just as long as the names are different. Dogs are very sensitive to sounds and way/ with enthusiasm/ that you say it. Remeber if you are seriously interested in their toy, they will want it even more, pretend to get atttached to it, like you are gonna chew it up, that will get him wanting it.

 I did the 'find it' game with a new toy and it took her (a little ) longer to find it because she hadn't gotten much smell/familiarity with it other than de-stuffing...

Yes Bella is quite vocal. Usually its endearing or for the passing motorcycles  or coyotes// good reasons. When I dont want her barking I point at her / or I go to her and tell her "QUIET" and softly hold her nose and say NO barking. Then I say good dog.

 Woof from B an' me

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Here's my two cents.  Since you don't know why he is barking and are not there to physically see it, can you set up a webcam on your computer?  

You will see (and hear) the actual extent of the barking, you will see how your roommate is actually dealing with it, and you might be able to see what sets him off (you leaving, or just something happening outside).  

In the meantime, try to keep him mentally and physically stimulated as suggested above.  To be honest, Harley barks at things outside too.  It helps to just close the windows.  Seriously, it's as easy as that.

Midgt55's picture
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Thanks for the advise every one! I am in the process of consulting with a local dog behaviourist to see if I can figure out why he is barking.

talisin's picture
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Princi - it was terrible and yes I adored my Goofman and still cry when I talk about him two years later, but I will never miss the barking rages, his ONLY bad habit was that incessant barking, he even barked at cars passing by while in the car, now that will drive you looney in a hurry.....he would have been a much happier dog had he not been on hyperalert all his life. That's what Ben did for him, Ben came into his life and he relaxed and was not as hyperalert, had I known that Ben was the answer I would have adopted him sooner :)) but all dogs wanted to kill Goofy so I was taking a huge risk adopting another large dog for him, but it was the best thing that happened to goofy......

I will still be interested in how the barking issue progresses......

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Atticus will bark at anything that moves. We usually tell him enough and he'll stop. If that don't work, it's a shot in the butt of the water gun. But he's getting better. That isn't needed as much. Last night he was crazy barking at us. We're in the country now, so he barked at Daddy out there bush hogging and at me on the lawn tractor. I can usually tell from the way he's barking if I need to heed to his call though. That part I love. I can't imagine butchering his vocal cords. I cringe at the thought. We had a man when I was growing up down the street that did that to his German Shepherd. Sounded so pathetic and I grew to strongly dislike that man. :-(. I hope you don't have to resort to that.

talisin's picture
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once again, today's technology allows for laser to the flap not the vocal cords.......but I sincerely hope it doesn't come to that ever......it's still not a good thing......I bought a bicycle honking horn and that seems to be working somewhat for my guys and now teaching Ben to speak on cue he hears "speak" and shuts up go figure.....it's like when he sees me wave at a person walking by and I say HI Ben goes nuts barking I have joked I would be the only person who would be waving and saying HI to a mugger so my dog would bark and attack hahahaha, now to make him shut up I have to say speak..... Goofy would be so proud of that type of thinking - it is definitely a Goofy thing.....

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I am not sure how to ask questions on here but my puppy is about 9 months and is wonderful. My only problem is his barking!  He barks whenever anyone goes by our house, we live behind a school and whenever the children go out yo play he barks, he barks in the car at people or cars goes by omg he barks and barks and it is a mean sounding bark.  When kids walk by I think it is to get their attention so maybe they come over and play because is tail is going like crazy but with how mean he sounds and looks no one is going to come into our yard. Yikes!  When out on a leash is is find and does not bark and at puppy daycare he does not bark at all. Please help!  I am sure my neighbors want to ring my neck.

talisin's picture
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Wow I know the feeling, my collie did that I wrote about him above, it is so frustrating I can't help otherwise I would have fixed my own problem :)) I did end up with Ben our rottweiler learning to bark at everything from the chihuahua and I went to the dollar store and got a bicycle horn one of those cheap little horns you fasten onto the handlebars and squeeze the "bulb" to make it honk - everytime Ben or Pepe would bark I would instantly honk that horn and they would both look at me like "what the crap was that" and it got to where I could just show it to Ben and he would stop - Pepe now thinks the horn means "come" so I honk it and he comes running, go figure.....but by coming he isn't barking so I guess it's working.....and of course Ben is at Rainbow Bridge now and pepe is almost blind so he can't see things to bark at anymore so it is a bit quieter.

I know others have dealt with this so you will get more positive advice there