Sophie and Honey really are the friendliest little dogs imaginable. These two little Kyi-Leos (no, I hadn’t heard of that breed either – a cross between a Maltese and Lhasa Apso) are in effect litter mates – born three years ago within a couple of days of one another to different mothers but the same breeder.
Although they are lavished with love and attention, it hasn’t actually made them spoiled by nature. They have a virtual smorgasbord of food left down for them all the time, two dishes each for variety, far too much for them to finish, regularly replaced.
The lady doesn’t want them trained to do anything like sit or lie down, she just wants them to stop the constant excited barking on walks. That’s all.
The little dogs start barking with excitement as soon as the front door opens. They bark all the way down the road, pulling ahead. The noise intensifies if they see someone who may give them a fuss. They simply love people.
To deal with this barking we need to backtrack a bit. Problems can seldom be dealt with in isolation.
Firstly, because we currently aren’t able to use food for desired bahaviours due to high value food being permanently available, we need to give the dogs an appetite. Meals have now to be limited to the amount the dogs are able to finish and the bowls lifted. Snacks and unearned treats need to be cut right back. Food has to have value.
Next, the barking at home and in the garden needs to be dealt with. They should be called in immediately they start to bark and rewarded for coming away with food…..chicken….which should now be worth working for. The little dogs should soon be getting the idea that by stopping barking they can earn food.
Now we can start on the barking on walks. At the moment it’s NO NO NO – a bit like the lady joining in really, and it makes no difference at all.
At present barking is in effect rewarded with walking on, which is what the dogs want. This has to change. While there is any barking the lady should stand still and wait. As soon as there is a break in the barking, she can feed them and start to move forwards. As soon as they start again she stops, waits, feeds and starts off again. Over and over. It would be easier with one dog at a time, but that would open a whole new reason for the little dogs, who have never been apart, to bark
Lots of short sessions outside the house are what is needed, because walks in themselves will also then become more commonplace.
NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Sophie and Honey, which is why I don’t go into exact details here of our plan. Finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dogs can do more harm than good. One size does not fit all. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dog (see my Get Help page).