The Fallout from Over Arousal
Jack Russell Bugsy’s online consultation.
The young lady lives with her father. They have had Jack Russell Bugsy for two months now. He’s seven years of age.
She got in touch because of Bugsy’s constant barking.
He runs around the garden for maybe a couple of hours – barking mostly at birds, getting more and more worked up. They chase him, they call him and they try to bribe him with food, but they can’t get him in.
He also barks at people passing the house. He barks at any sudden sound.
He barks with excitement as they prepare to go out on a walk. When out, he barks at people and dogs and traffic.
Bugsy spoilt the young lady’s Christmas by barking continuously at the several family member who came on Christmas Day.
It was immediately obvious that the barking was largely due to over arousal. The fallout makes him bark….barking makes him aroused. A vicious circle.
Fallout from arousal builds up during the day.
He wakes up nice and calm after a quiet night.
Everything is quiet until father comes down. One more person and Bugsy begins to get excited. As the day wears on, his arousal and stress levels increase.
We looked at ways of avoiding so much arousal in the first place. We looked at ways Bugsy could ‘decompress’ himself and de-stress.
Ways of helping him to diffuse arousal include working for his food – foraging from a Kong or hunting in the grass. Also chewing.
Because the garden barking may be sparked by the sight of birds, he doesn’t bark first thing in the morning and last thing at night when it’s dark.
No more leaving him outside to bark.
They will keep his harness on for now and attach a long line to him every time they let him out. At very first bark they will call him in.
They will also block his view of passing people so he no longer barks them on their way.
The proof was a calm walk
Without realising it, the young lady has already proved that the fallout from the build up of arousal over the day is to blame for the barking and reactive behaviour on walks.
Because of our meeting, she had today taken Bugsy for his walk earlier in the day.
She couldn’t believe how calm he had been. None of the frantic barking before leaving the house or for the first couple of minutes of the walk.
No reacting either to people, other dogs and traffic.
So for now she will also walk him earlier.