Pooka is 1 year, 4 months and has started barking in a bad way. She has also become more territorial and liable to pick fights with the anti-social husky that lives with us [discussed here].

we have had to close all our blinds because if not, she just stares outside and waits for any broach on her territory and barks like mad. The more you yell, the more she barks. She won't respond to the "quiet" command at all any more. The only thing that works to lessen(not stop) the barking is to tell her she is a good girl (in a sweet happy voice) and that she is "all done" in a calm way. She still barks, but it does not escalate, and slowly becomes growling with little barks after a minute, and then stop. Picking her up also helps. Any little noise can (not will) set her off into a barking frenzy. Just setting down a drink, if it makes a "knocking" noise.
For a while we did spray bottle training, and we have now found the spray bottle and will probably start this again.

Pooka loves to chase squirrels, but now, anything in the backyard is a threat and MUST be dealt with, which means a lot of staring out the back window, perking up, running to the backdoor, whining and jumping around at the door ringing the cowbell. Most of the time we let her out, but only most ;). She now spends most of her time outside, sniffing around the back fence and/or barking at the back fence. (it is chainlink and maybe only 3 feet tall).

Inside the house, her and Aurora (the husky) have come close to fighting at least twice in the past 2 weeks. Once I was holding Pooka in my arms on the couch and she had dropped her rawhide, Aurora walked over and bent down to sniff it (she really isn't too interested in chews) and as Aurora approached, I felt Pooka stiffen, lightly growl, and right when I though "oh, maybe I should show my authority to emphasize I'm in control" Pooka starts barking like crazy and Aurora bares her teeth and starts coming at Pooka, but I yell at Aurora (who moves back) and hold Pooka back (she is desperately trying to get at Aurora). Today, just my husband was home working at his desk. I didn't get the details but he said Pooka was under his feet and Aurora came nearby and so Pooka started growling and almost started a fight again, even though there were no toys or chews anywhere.

Both these situations have Us involved. So she might be jealous of Aurora? or just protective of us? Ever since I had the talk with the housemate about his dog, I have actually spent more time nurturing Aurora. Once when I was brushing Aurora, Pooka came in and just got real close and stared at me super sad with her ears down, "But mommy, the furminator was our special thing!"

I think the two behavior changes are related and can be fixed. I am sure there are forum posts on this. If anybody knows some of the posts on this topic and can easily find the links, please share!

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Comment by Sarah C. on February 10, 2010 at 11:01pm
I agree with DaBear. The leave it command ended up being my go-to command. It ended up replacing no, and I think it more instructive because they've already learned the whole, "if i stop what im doing right now, i can go have a treat" instead of, "If I bark and then stop, ill get a treat" or whatever else.
Comment by Summer's Mom on February 10, 2010 at 8:21pm
Boy, does all this sound familiar. I agree with DaBear - what he says makes sense. Otherwise, you will be like us - Summer is 7 yrs. old and still barks like crazy anytime she sees other animals in the yard, or hears strange noises, or anytime anyone leaves the house - especially my daughter. I really think Summer believes that I should make my daughter stay with us. It's cute sometimes but annoying most of the time.

Okay, now we have always had success with a shake can ( a pop can filled with a few coins) that we shake in order to get her to stop doing whatever we don't want her to do - jump on people, bark incessantly, etc. She immediately becomes submissive. So whenever she barks at my daughter leaving, all I need to say is "shake can" and she immediately stops barking, jumps up on the couch and lays next to me. I pet her and praise her. It is the closest we have come to having her obey a command. (When she was a puppy, we tried obedience classes with little success - mostly due to inconsistancy among her human pack members).

We also find that sending her to a certain spot away from a source of agitation, such as me cooking on the stovetop which usually sets off the smoke alarm because the two devices are too close to each other, works also. I start to cook, Summer gets agitated waiting for the smoke alarm, and so she is sent to the stairwell. She does it reluctantly but it seems to calm her agitation.

The secret seems to be in finding another behavior to replace the bad behavior and being consistant in how you respond to the bad behavior.

Good luck.
Comment by Stephanie on February 10, 2010 at 2:20pm
Is she getting enough exercise? All of the looking out the window and barking seem to be boredom activities in my house. Also, I would work REALLY hard on the "leave it" command - that can help you with the barking, and the aggression, if you watch and see the anxiety building, "leave it" can tell them both that you're in charge.

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