Winston has acquired a horrible habit and I don't know how to get it to stop. He has decided that barking is THE. THING. TO. DO. ALL. THE. TIME. I've tried penning him ... he now starts barking and before I even begin to redirect, he PENS HIMSELF!!! Still barks, but he's inside his pen. It's like he knows he isn't supposed to bark, but feels compelled to continue. I've tried telling him NO, I've tried distracting him with toys, I've tried ignoring him. Nothing works.
He will hear a noise, like our EXTREMELY noisy upstairs neighbor (we are in a basement apartment that was not built to actually be two different dwellings...) and then he is off. He will start off with full on barking, very alert, very loud. Then after I tell him enough, he will switch to these... pops? of barks. They aren't super loud or super forceful, but they are nonstop and he will strut around, popping these little growl-barks for a very long time. Anytime the upstairs neighbor walks across the floor, opens/closes a door, if their dogs bark or start playing.... It's a wooden floor so it is inevitably loud enough without Winston chiming in. It's even worse that sometimes the upstairs dog starts running amok, barking and playing loudly and Winston starts barking at that too. But if he only barked when the other dog barked, I could live with that.
There is not a way to get the upstairs neighbor to cooperate with me, if anyone wants to suggest that. I've tried talking to them and they are content to be very noisy at all hours, day and night alike. I can't move, and we've been here for a few months and he isn't adjusting to the noise. This isn't a permanent environment but we may be here for 6 more months still. Before moving here, Winston would bark on occasion but after one or two loud barks, I'd tell him, "Ok, enough!" and he would stop and just do a few pop-growls and lay down. But now we have this behavior and I'm really starting to lose my mind. I also would hate if this behavior followed us to another location because well... barking is annoying. I can handle one or two alerts if someone approaches property or if a really loud sound occurs and all. But this is almost constant.
Any advice on how to solve this noisy chaos will be greatly appreciated. I do not want to use something that will scare or hurt Winston though as some people in person have suggested shock collars and spray collars. He is a giant teddy bear and very gentle and I love him too much to do something like expose him to pain. I know he doesn't understand that I know the sounds are happening. Maybe he thinks I'm deaf...? lol Anyway, any suggestions on toning down the barking will be wonderful.
Somehow you have to desensitize him to the sounds. There are CDs available that have all sorts of sounds on them that people use to train their dogs not to alert to these sounds. Reward for staying quiet while you play the CD. I'm not really sure how to go about it. I need to do it also. Mine are escalating their barking for no good reason at all. Its a corgi thang!
Yeah, I feel like for so long I would allow one or two barks because I read something somewhere that explained it like... Imagine if every time you ever had something to say, people yelled at you to shut up! And that's probably too hyperbolic but it's always stuck with me.
I can look into CDs but I'm not really sure if there are ones that contain the sounds of footsteps or just regular daily life noises? It isn't like gunfire or traffic sounds. You'd think after all this time, he'd become desensitized to the sounds since they occur almost daily, almost all waking hours.
What about playing some soothing/calming music over the top of it? Combine this with maybe try a drop or two of Rescue Remedy or some other calming agent, just to get him a little more relaxed so you can 'reset' him to the sounds he hears everyday. They also make calming music CDs for dogs.
Griffin would bark hysterically every time our doorbell buzzed. He would start out with the "alert" bark then he couldn't seem to stop. I had a trainer come over and she suggested throwing some kibble on the floor to distract him. That worked for awhile but then he ignored the kibble and went back to the hysterical barking. The latest thing I tried is called Pet Zoom from Amazon. I let him "alert" bark then when he started the hysterical barking I pushed the Pet Zoom and said no bark. It's a high pitched sound that interrupts the barking. I only had to do it a few times until he got the idea. Now I say no bark and show him the Pet Zoom and he stops barking. I realize that this isn't exactly the same as what Winston is doing but might be something you could try. Let me know how it goes.
While I'm sure kibble would distract my little piggy, my other little piggy would be mighty jealous! Also, I don't know if I can sustain all that kibble without him gaining weight! I did get the PetZoom but Winston seems to not really care about it. I really wanted it to work but Winston had other plans, I suppose. ^_^;;
And yes, it seems like he gets into this 'frenzy' of barking and then cannot stop. He makes these muffled barks for a good while afterward and nothing can be done to end that either.
Wow... I"d be looking to get out of the lease, on the grounds that the neighbor upstairs is making so much noise your place isn't livable. Heh...I'd probably neglect to mention to the landlord that it's the chain reaction to the resident dog that's causing the uninhabitability. But seriously: this could make you crazy in less than six months.
Cassie the Corgi came to my house via the dog pound. As the reason they'd given her up, her previous humans posted one word: "Barks."
And bark she does. She was OK for the first couple of months, until she became fully comfortable here at the Funny Farm. But once she had established herself as the queen, NOTHING would stop her from barking.
That said, she doesn't bark hysterically. It's more a conversational kind of bark. She'll have a brief frenzy when the young guys across the street are playing with their cars or socializing out in front with their friends. No amount of assurance that they're our pals, not the burglar, seems to persuade her that she need not try to bark them down. She has a serious frenzy whenever anyone rings the doorbell or comes into the front courtyard. But that seems within reason to me. She has the "let the puppy in the door" barkfest: this has become a game in which the pup goes out through the dog door (Cassie refuses to use a dog door) and then trots around the corner to the sliding door on the deck, where she parks herself and peers in like an orphan looking at Thanksgiving Dinner. At the point, the puppy must be barked in.
But there are times when she'll bark for no reason that a human can detect. I'm sure they hear and smell a lot of things we don't, which must explain at least some of that.
I've tried "no!" I've tried squirting her with cold, clean water. I've tried soothing, cooing verbalization. I've tried ignoring her. None of these work. It's possible that ignoring at least shortens the barkfest, but that's only because you're not egging the dog on inadvertently.
Never heard of PetZoom, but it sounds interesting. If that doesn't work, though, the best strategy is prob'ly to get used to it.
I don't know how to handle this! Lol. He barks and barks and barks. Saying NO isn't effective - he knows he isn't supposed to be barking at full volume alert (whatever people want to call it) because when I suddenly look directly at him while he is doing just that, he pipes down in volume, but just keeps barking. He puts himself in the pen immediately now and just keeps barking. I tried the PetZoom and he can hear it but it doesn't phase him, unfortunately.
I haven't tried water only because he hates the rain so I don't know if I want him to think I am punishing him. The issue really is hard to deal with though because his barking is compounded (and caused) by the loud, almost constant, daily upstairs commotion.
He has also taken to alert-barking whenever I go to move through the rooms now. I feel like he is losing his barkin' marbles and I'm not far behind him! Meanwhile, Hazel (who I shamefully admit I haven't added nearly enough info on here about her lol) is only just over a year and hardly ever a peep. She just cocks her head and looks at us quizzically.
Y'know, I have a feeble thought:
Run that dawg! If he'll fetch, get a ball and throw it until you and he are ready to fall over. If not, take him for walks every day, and make them as long as you can manage around the other parts of your life.
a) Although we don't know that this will do ANYthing, it sure can't hurt.
b) And it'll be good for both of you to get more exercise.
At the worst, you'll have a HEALTHY barking dog.
The problem with barking is that it's a self-rewarding activity, which means the barking itself become the reward for the dog. The only way is to INTERRUPT it as soon as possible, in whatever way works (trial and error applies here as every dog will be different). You could try a cirtronella spray collar. It does not cause pain, it simply emits a puff of citronella scent, which dogs don't usually like. If it does not work, simply return it, so you don't lose your money. If the muffled bark is not problematic, I would settle for that, at least he learns the hysterical loud bark is not appropriate. Alternately, put a leash on him and keep him close to you, trying to calm him and reassure him. If he keeps it up, you can correct with a squeeze of lemon juice in his mouth, as you say quiet! The plastic lemons that contain jiuce are easily found in any supermarket and not messy. Sound proof tiles can be put on the ceiling, which would not eliminate noise, but make it much less. You may get the landlord to cooperate, so the space is more "livable' for any tenant. Another thing that might be worth trying is the "Thundershirt" which helps dogs who become anxious for various reasons. Here again, you can get it at Pets-Mart and return it if it does not work, so there is little to lose. Look for improvement and that will tell you which method is worth following. Reward silence with attention and the occasional yummy treat.
Anna, I read your answer when you put it up. Not having a citronella collar around, I wondered if simply interrupting the dog with a touch would work.
So the next time Cassie started one of her conversational bark-fests, I quietly bent down, put my hand over her withers, and said in as soothing a tone as I could manage, "Quiet -- no bark." It does work to interrupt the dog. And once she stops, she usually stays stopped, unless there's something real that's stimulating the yapfest. In that case, though, it's something you want to know about, and so in those circumstances the barking may not be a bad thing. Just ordinary barkaroonies, though seem to be stoppable with this technique.
Obviously Vicky, if a simple touch works, no need for a citronella collar! And yes, there is a difference between a legitimate bark and nuisance barking and dogs are smart enough to earn the difference, if given the proper feedback in a consistent way.
Your clue in the word "Interrupt" was invaluable! Neither "no" nor "quiet" seemed to get her attention, but physically touching her surely does. Thanks so much!!!