Jessie barks at the lady, most particularly out on walks when she stops to talk to someone.
They say that as she gets older, their 13-year-old Terrier/Collie’s barking at the lady is increasing. She seldom does it when the man takes her for a walk – they walk her separately usually.
They are assuming it’s gradually getting worse because of Jessie is ageing. I think it’s more likely to have something to do with a gradual change in the lady’s behaviour.
A while ago the lady had an operation. Since then she has become gradually slower.
Jessie becomes increasingly impatient
Now it takes the lady increasingly longer to sort herself out before a walk while Jessie gets more and more impatient.
Jessie wants to get to the park, the woods, or simply to sniff. She’s a big sniffer.
Now at last they can leave!
The lady regularly meets friends and other dog walkers and likes to stop to talk. Immediately Jessie barks at the lady. She continues to bark until the lady moves on.
Jessie must be thinking Oh No! We’re not stopping again are we?
She finds that barking works because it forces the lady to stop talking and start walking.
What should they do?
The two areas they can control are the run-up to the walk and what the lady herself does when she stops to talk.
Before the walk
In the morning the man will take Jessie out into the garden while the lady gets ready. The lady could then meet him and a calm Jessie in the garden and they could go out of the back gate instead of the front door.
So the walk will now start off more calmly.
When she barks at the lady
Now when the lady stops to talk, Jessie should be less aroused. She will help Jessie out. After all, the dog only barks at the lady because she is feeling impatient and frustrated.
Let’s see if we can get the dog to feel better.
Jessie loves a game of tug. She also loves to carry a ball.
When the lady wants to stop to talk to someone, she will get the tug toy out of her pocket and hold it down by her side. Jessie can’t tug and bark at the lady at the same time.
She may instead give her the ball to hold. Sometimes she could drop bits of kibble.
Soon Jessie will positively enjoy the lady stopping for a chat!
NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help