Training to pick up a toy rather than bark at the door?

Alright so we all know how impossible it is to get our little buddies to stop barking at sounds/things/people/whatever so I want to try the method of teaching my corgi to pick up a toy (or any designated item) to keep him from barking when people come to our door or are in the hallways.

But I need help! I'm not sure how to teach him this. I've had great success with teaching him other tricks but when it comes to this I'm not sure what I'm suppose to do. I've tried the command of "Go get a toy/ball" when he's fussing over the door but what is on the other side of the door is a much larger concern in that moment.

So what should I do to teach my dog to go get something rather than bark at the door? What worked for you if you where able to achieve this?

Also I've tried doing a few google searches on it but I can't seem to find anything that is about training a dog to do this.

TIA for any help you have!

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I had a slightly different issue as Sully never barked or asked to go out. We recently had some maintainance men who were walking in the halls and coming to the door and Sully suddenly began barking and she didn't stop even when I said "Good, Okay." What worked best was my acknowledging her bark with "Good." Then the cue for "Okay, thank you." If she continued I would say "quiet." In a stern voice and reward with praise and or a small treat if she stopped. "Good Quiet."

If she refused to stop I held her snout gently and said "No, quiet." And praised her if she was quiet. On the very rare occasions that she tested and refused to stop I would take her into the bathroom and shut the door, then open it the second she was quiet and reward her. I wonder if the motive for the barking is important. Sully never barked so she was praised for communicating which was reinforcing, but she was less sure when to bark and for how long. She was alarmed by strangers in the house but she soon learned that the alert was appreciated but she was to stop with a cue from me. If your guy is responding out of sheer excitement you can have some practice sessions with low key visitors who do not feed into the excitement while your pup learns to greet visitors more calmly. Me daughter has a dog that gets very excited when someone comes to the door. She is trained to put a toy in her mouth which is kind of cute, but it doesn't seem to have helped her calm herself.

Agree with Holly. Simpler and more effective to teach and enforce the command "Quiet!"   If my dogs bark, I always check it out and then they know they just have to shut up!  I will not open a door if they are barking and also require that they stay back as someone is entering ( no rushing the door).  If barking appears to be from fear ( for instance thunder, or a strange object ) then I sit the dog near me and hold my hand in its collar to sooth the apprehension> I will give a treat for quiet if it's fear related, but never if it's from excitement.

Part of it is to realize they can indeed be quiet.  We travel a lot with the dogs and they had to learn that, in a Hotel situation, people will come and go in the hall, doors open and close, people talk at odd hours, etc.  They adjusted quickly to what would not be normal at home.

Of course they are  never left in the Hotel room alone.  If we go for dinner, they go in the car.

Thanks guys!

I spent a lot of time yesterday with trying just a "quiet" command, it's certainly going to take a lot of work and a lot of me spending time in the kitchen or living room to really stop it (he isn't to fond of listening to me when I'm back in the bedroom it seems). I've also been giving him lots of praise when I see him react to a sound but not bark or growl at it!

Barking is considered "self-rewarding", which means he gets rewarded ( gets something out of it ) just by doing it, so you  want to prevent if possible, or interrupt quickly.  If you know or hear something that will trigger the bark, you can start getting his attention and reminding him "quiet" BEFORE he barks, correcting if he does bark and rewarding with a small treat if he has remained quiet until the issue is over.   If he is elsewhere and you cannot correct immediately, you have a setback, so I would take him in the bedroom with me while he is learning. 

You could alternately try a citronella bark collar ( no pain or shock involved ). It works with some dogs, not with others, so if you buy it, keep your receipt so you can return it if it does not work with Chubbs.

So far it's working out for me that he likes to sit by our door on the tile patch and my desk is right next to it so in the times that there is a sound, or if I see him become alert to something and he doesn't bark he immediately gets "Quite, good boy! Quiet! No bark good boy!!" and petting since he is close enough. Sometimes even a treat if I have bits of them sitting on my desk. So lets hope this makes it nice and easy for him to learn that it's ok that their is sounds outside the door. 

Right now I think it's working great because there's tons of stuff happening here, we just had new neighbors move in below us so that generated a lot of noise, then just the other night the neighbors across the hall moved out so that made noise, and now we're dealing with the neighbors diagonal from us who love to make lots of noise. So there's just a mess of noise going on that we're able to work on this strong and hard since we just moved in here ourselves so all these new sounds are something that he certainly needs to alert me of haha.

I've thought some about those citrus collars but I wasn't sure, right now I won't be able to from financial reasons, but it is good to know it could be returned if it didn't work. That was one of my previous worries about it before, I read so much on how it was hit and miss if it worked on your dog or not so I didn't want to pocket out the money for it and then have it be a waste if it didn't work on Chubbs. 

Sully had a bout with diarrhea this weekend. I couldn't figure out the sudden and persistent barking. tried feeding her, then I realized she actually felt an urge to go. I guess the lesson I learned was to listen to my dog. If Chubbs is as smart as most corgis, I suspect he may be barking for reasons you may not yet realize. Not saying you should allow brking, but there may be a reason you have yet to figure out. I have found it useful to take my dog out at the first sign of a bark. I don't resort to anything fun or rewards I give while out, just a short run in the back yard, followed by breakfast or supper. If trips outside are preceded by calm, short bark we have a nice but short walk and possible
visit with neighbors. It is not as hard as it sounds, once I figure out if there is an issue, such as the runs I cut her some slack.

Well I do know that a good 98% of his barks are noise related because I hear the noises too. Since we live in an apartment complex there's lots of noise, but more so when you live next to very loud neighbors who are social butterflies and them and their friends most certainly have lead feet when it comes to stairs. So almost all of his barking comes when these things happen and we can both hear the sounds. So in the case it's not so much about alerting me that something is out there when odds are I've heard it too.

Your noisy neighbors with a lead foot are the best possible trainers you could get to  set up just the kind of training situation you need and for free!  Your dog needs to learn the difference between what is normal in the environment ( and for you that's normal ) and what is out of the ordinary and to which he should draw your attention.  Anything else is nuisance barking.

Jeli's barking problem has erupted since July 4th.  I think she now has PSTD because of my not so considerate neighbors blowing off a mondo box of M80s at about 2:00 in the afternoon.  I had been prepared to make sure she was in the house and have distracting background noise and me treating her for 'dealing with' the fireworks issue that night, but the box of M80s blowing off in the middle of the afternoon took us both by surprise.  I'm sure it didn't help that I started yelling and, ahem, cursing up a storm when it happened.  She wasn't the only one barking!!!  But, unfortunately, the result has been that whenever there is the slightest, and I do mean slightest, little pop of a sound, Jeli startle barks and won't quit.  It can be something as soft as putting a glass down on the table a little harder that normal.  I've been working with her to try to desensitize her to these sounds, but sounds like that actually happen quite often and most of the time I'm unable to catch it for a training opportunity.  I think it will just take time, but is there anything else I can do to help Jeli get past her PSTD?  Suggestions welcome!

You are absolutely right Susan, this is a totally different issue with Jeli.  I am sorry this happened to her. We are on 10 acres and neighbors across the street, also on 10 acres, set off the same kind of noise THE DAY AFTER July 4th when they had already gone crazy with fireworks that were, btw illegal to set off here .  It sounded like shotguns, more than fireworks in the middle of the night and lasted over 1/2 hr).  Luckily the distance between the houses provided a bit of buffer.....

For Jeli, I would try Bach Rescue Remedy.  You can put 3 or 4 drops in her water bowl.  You can also put the drops directly in her mouth if needed ( i.e. she is really upset). I would plan to do this for about a month.  In addition any confidence building positive experience, which is of a low stress kind, will help.  Consider keeping some background noise going ( music, talk radio, a PBS type station ) that will  help her not focus and alert on any little sound.  Above all, try to remain calm yourself.  If every time she barks you mentally connect it to what happened and the neighbors, so will she, so rehearse a mental response that is more calming....They are so in tune with us.

Thank you for the advise Anna.  I have just googled the Bach Rescue Remedy and it looks like it could be very helpful.  Actually sounds almost too good to be true.  All natural, no side effects, calms them down but still allows them to function normally?  I think I'll take it myself!!!  (kidding ;).  


So, would the aim be to keep her on it for about a month, in hopes that that long of a time would allow her to see she can be relaxed about loud noises again?  Every little bang, from a car door two streets over, to a random firework, doesn't mean the sky is falling?  I think we will give this a try. 


It just breaks my heart that she has been so effected by my *&%#* neighbors explosives compulsion.  They did it last year too, and I did go over there and 'forcefully' request they to hold off their fireworks until the evening so that the rest of us could enjoy the day.  I think this year was retaliation for that.  As you probably notice, I'm still not over it myself.  Every time she startles, I get mad all over again.  I try not to show it to her, but you are so right - she probably senses it anyway.   Thanks for that reminder.  

The Rescue Remedy is as good as they say.  I take it myself on occasion.  It works well for so many things they actually have a book written about it.  The month I suggested is to give her a long enough time to recover from what she experienced as traumatic. It just takes the edge off allowing for the other measures you take to work better.  It is totally non toxic, if she swallowed the whole bottle she'd be fine.  Like homeopathy it works in way we cannot fully understand.  I have used alternative medicine most of my adult life.....  I've used it on birds that have flown into a windowpane (just a drop squeezed on the beak) and even with plants to help with the shock of transplanting.

If it helps her you will see some difference/improvement fairly quickly.  Don't look for big changes, a small shift can be enough to tell you you're going in the right direction with her.

Next year consider booking a room in some hotel :-DD  


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