Barking in the car. The lady wears earplugs.

At six months old, Daisy came over from Eastern Europe. She lived with a someone nearby before the lady took her in three months ago.

Daisy is now one year of age – a beautiful mix of many breeds.

barking in the car

She is polite, friendly and absolutely lovely – a real tribute to the lady who has worked hard. She can be taken anywhere.

Apart from one problem. Barking in the car.

She barks so much in the car that the lady has to wear earplugs! Continue reading…

Persistent Barking. Barks at Man While he Talks. Barks in the Car.

If it weren’t for her persistent barking, Elsa would be the perfect pet.

The young Parson Terrier is friendly, enthusiastic and non-aggressive. She is great company for the disabled gentleman who spends all day with her while his wife is at work.

Some barking is welcome. Some simply too much.

Persistent barking Elsa has different barks for different things. Some of her barking is very welcome. With no teaching or prompting, the little dog alerts the man with a special short bark when his insulin levels are wrong.

Because the man feels unwell and is in pain a lot of the time, Elsa’s barking is a real issue. Continue reading…

Little Dogs Bark at People, Dogs, Traffic, Bikes

The two little dogs bark at the smallest provocation. One sets the other off – or they may erupt into barking simultaneously.

The  Maltese/Chihuahua mixes (Malchis) are one-year-old brothers. Two dogs of the same age can be hard work, particularly if they are littermates.

The adorable Reggie and Ronnie bounce off one another. Much of the work involves working on them separately – treating them as individuals.

The little dogs bark a lot!

The pair are extremely easily aroused, torn between fearfulness and being friendly. They bark at people, at other dogs, at traffic of all sorts, bikes…. nearly everything.

the little dogs bark at everything

Barking at me

When I was there, the smallest sound that we humans couldn’t even hear had the two little dogs racing out into the garden, barking.

When dogs are reactive to something our natural instinct can be to push them into the situation. To ‘get them used to’ it.

A dog can be reactive to traffic by lunging or barking at it, and people will keep walking the dog near to traffic, holding the lead tightly.  When the two little dogs bark at an approaching person with a dog, their humans don’t divert but may even try to make the dogs say hello.

It is actually exactly the opposite we need to do. If we translate it into human terms it’s easier to understand. If a child is scared of something or has a phobia (even if we find it unreasonable), we would deal with it slowly and not force the child to face it. We wouldn’t shut a child that is scared of the dark in a dark room for an hour to get him over it! We would be aware that therapy could take months.

It can be embarrassing.

On top of this, when our little dogs bark at people – or our big dogs for that matter – it’s embarrassing.

The temptation then is to attempt to stop them in some way. Fortunately they hadn’t yet tried to use the compressed air dog ‘corrector’ they had bought. They can now see how that is the equivalent to smacking a child who is screaming ‘Go Away’ to something that is terrifying him and coming too close.

The noise might stop, but the fear will increase.

The only way to change the barking behaviour is to get to the root of why they do it and deal with that.

They barked at me for a while, making it impossible to talk, but soon stopped with the help of dropped food. They started again a couple of times – like when I went out and came back in while we were rehearsing a technique for people coming to the door.

The little dogs bark at things they might hear from the garden. This means reacting instantly, calling them away, making it worth their while – and not giving them unlimited access (difficult in this very hot weather).

The thing that impacts on their humans the most is when the little dogs bark at everything when they take them out on walks.  

Helping the dogs one at a time.

They will walk each dog, one at a time, to their garden gate and watch the world go by. Lots of very short sessions are best. The very instant he shows alarm, they will drop food. The idea is to pre-empt the barking whilst building up positive associations.

They must be ready to retreat quickly back to the house at the first reaction or bark – increasing distance. Bit by bit they will build up the dogs’ confidence and trust in them. They must not get impatient and try to push ahead too fast.

Only by keeping ‘distance’ from the car, person or dog at the same time as those things triggering something good, will the situation change.

Currently, the opposite is happening. Because their leads are attached to collars and not harnesses, reactivity and lunging will result in discomfort to their little necks. Humans get agitated.

Only when each dog is much less reactive individually should they try them both together. Slowly they can advance further away from their house.

They need not walk the dogs daily while they are doing this. People can play with them in the garden. For ‘proper’ walks I suggest they find somewhere open with as few dogs and people as they can. Until Reggie and Ronnie can walk beside the road without being being upset by everything, they need to take them by car.

The car?

This is another problem. Seeing people (or other cars, dogs, bicycles) from the car window makes the little dogs bark frantically. The only way out of this for now is to somehow prevent them seeing out – by being creative. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Six weeks later: ‘All is going really well The boys have calmed down so much. They have adapted well to me saying ok come on boys to get them back into the house when they start barking in the garden. They have stopped barking when I  let them out. Throwing food over the gate works well when I leave them now and they are far more settled. No more destruction of furniture. Walking has been a lot better. Whilst on holiday if they became anxious and started to bark we adopted the ok lets go and turned the other way which worked well. Reggie ignores cars now whilst on a walk. We feel that your techniques have worked really well. There is hardly any reaction now when we come home from work.
They are 2 different dogs a much happier home.
NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’. Listening to ‘other people’ or finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog can do more harm than good. Click here for help.

Barking at People on Walks. Barking in the Car.

Carin mix barking at people on walksYesterday I met Bailey, a cross between a Cairn Terrier an something else. He is two years old and they have had him for one year.

At home he’s the model dog. He soon gets used to someone new coming into his house and is friendly – though it can take longer with a man, particularly if he’s tall or loud.

As time goes by Bailey is becoming more and more of a barker when out, particularly barking at people on walks.

He also barks at bikes, scooters, motorbikes and big stationary vans. He may circle a child on a bike, barking, which is very intimidating.

Bailey goes absolutely mad in the car when he sees bikes and motorbikes in particular, also people, very distracting on journeys.

The barking at people on walks is variable.

His barking at people on walks can be a bit variable. It may depend upon the person and it may also depend upon the mental state he’s already in and whether he has already encountered arousing or scary things and can simply not cope with more.

If the person is a man and if he is walking towards them it’s a lot worse. Retreating men and most women cause Bailey no problem.

The window cleaner is a huge challenge. Seen through the eyes of the dog, what is this man doing waving at the windows and wielding something that looks like a stick outside his house?

The couple belong to the local bowls club and like to take Bailey with them. He’s fine with some people but there are a couple of men in particular he just can’t take to. It upsets one man who does all he can to make friends with him. This may be the problem. If he ignored him or looked away, particularly if he sat down, it would help.

It is likely that Bailey wasn’t sufficiently exposed to the outside world when he was really young. Possibly he was seldom taken out.

Now they must do all they can to desensitise him – and counter-condition him to things he’s wary of. In this way the lady can help him with things that worry him when out and work on the barking at people on walks.

Put very simply, desensitisation is as much exposure to the thing as possible but only at a distance Bailey is comfortable with – his threshold or comfort zone.

Counter-conditioning is adding in something he likes – usually food.

Combining both desensitisation and counter-conditioning works best.

The lady always walks Bailey. She now will keep as much distance as she can from the things he fears. Avoiding them altogether will get them nowhere, but at a comfortable distance she can then feed Bailey some tiny favourite little snacks to get him feeling more positive about something he feels scared of when closer.

If he won’t eat or if he snatches, it’s telling her she is still too close so she needs to increase the distance further.

It’s hard for people to change walking routines so that instead of going from A to B regardless, they fill the same time with doing distance work which involves advancing and retreating.

Nearly all Bailey’s barking problems are when he actually sees the threat.

In the car he simply must be put somewhere he can’t see out to bark at bikes, motorbikes and people. The lady, like many, doesn’t like the idea of caging her dog but I feel it’s vital in some cases. Calling it a ‘crate’ or ‘den’ helps. A crate in the boot can be made into a comfy den and sprinkled with food. They can start with short journeys and build up from there.

Where the window cleaner is concerned, Bailey simply should not be in the house. Alternativel,he should be in a room with no windows to be cleaned.

When out at their club, Bailey must be protected from unwelcome advances. He looks so sweet people are drawn to him! They should sit in a corner with Bailey behind them and be his advocate to protect him. A yellow ‘I Need Space‘ shirt would be helpful.

Is Bailey too emotionally attached to the lady?

There is one other element to this and that is Bailey’s increasing protectiveness towards the lady. She adores him. That’s understandable – look at him!

Does she perhaps need him too much? He may feel that she’s reliant upon him and this could put pressure on him. Allowing Bailey to be more independent by fussing him a bit less could help him.

addisonbailey2Things came to a head recently. Bailey was off lead and a jogger suddenly appeared. He charged at the man, barking. The man gave the lady an earful and then Bailey chased him out of the park, returning to the lady, to quote her, ‘pleased with himself’!

She walks him only on lead now.  It’s a Flexilead which, by how it works, always has tension on it. She tightens it further when she sees a person approaching which will convey her own anxiety to Bailey.

Now she will use a longish, loose lead and instead of anxiously reining him in, increase distance and remain upbeat. They probably bounce off one another emotionally.

Barking at people on walks can only be resolved with time and hard work. The more consistent they can be, the more over time Bailey’s confidence should grow.

 

How Can We Stop Pug Barking at TV

I have just visited little Pug, Franklyn, for a second time because they have reached a plateau with his barking – both barking at TV and also barking in the car.

They ha11006481_10152725896872104_3455147435180808656_nve worked hard and had made some great progress, but now seem to be stuck.

Franklyn can now be called away from the TV if it is people talking, but he is much more reactive to the adverts and still goes mental when he sees an animal.

Thank goodness for clicker training!

Starting with a low-stress programme, it happened to be Friends, I showed them how to click/feed Franklyn every time he looked at the TV and, though vocal, didn’t actually bark. Then we upped it to clicking the briefest moment of silence whilst he looked at the TV.  Then we asked for slightly longer silence. We got as far as keeping him from barking – just grumbling now – during adverts. However, an elephant programme was too much for him and he regressed. We had pushed ahead too fast, so we went back to Friends again.

Using the same sort of gradual technique, we looked at the car behaviour. The existing plan had meant that they should have slowly weaned him into quiet car travel, but this wasn’t happening. We looked at how we can create an environment where he is more likely to be quiet and that is being held on a lap whilst not looking out of the window – a challenge! So, the plan is to teach him to ‘look’ at them, one of them to hold him and constantly feed him chicken whilst keeping his attention. Initially perhaps just with the engine running, then driving a few yards, then going further and stopping – and so on – until they reach their open space where Franklyn can, at last, again go for a run.

They can also introduce their barking at TV ‘Click for Quiet’ technique to barking in the car.

The problem with pushing a dog over threshold is that, just like in the TV example above, it sets you back and you need to recap. Driving a furiously barking Frankly to the field would do a lot more harm than good to their progress in the long run.

I am sure now that they will leap off that plateau and make some more real progress. Here is Franklyn’s story of a couple of months ago.

An email received a month after my second visit which proves what persistence and patience can do: Just wanted to let you know that we managed to walk Franklin all the way round the block with no real incidents! What an achievement. We’ve even managed to get him to the park and he’s played nicely with other dogs off lead and his recall is starting to improve again. Thank you very much for helping us with our little boy.
And three months after my visit: Sorry for all the emails but I feel you should know about Franklin’s wonderful progress. As it was a beautiful sunny day today we decided to go to the seaside with Franklin. We drove to near Southend to a pet friend beach. Franklin sat on J’s lap in his bed. Other than a few whines and being fidgety he was good as gold. We put him on his long lead and he was an angel to walk. We passed lots of dogs and he had little sniffs and played with a couple. There was no barking at all. I kept the lead really loose so he felt free but I could still control him if it go too much. We had a wonderful day out as family with no tears at all. We even shared some chips and watched the world go by.

NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Franklyn, 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 dog 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).

 

 

Barking Dogs Getting Used to New Life

The three dogs bark The dogs’ barking is a problem.

Previously the lady had lots of land where her four dogs could run free, and she spent a large part of the day outside with them and her horses. The dogs lived in a conservatory with access to the outside.  Living out in the country, the dogs’ barking was no problem and was actually welcomed for the security it offered. It was fine life that suited everyone very well.

Then the lady’s circumstances changed, and a couple of months ago she moved to somewhere smaller with just a garden – and near neighbours.

To start with the dogs were left in the conservatory as before, with access to the garden, but their barking caused problems with neighbours. There were, after all, many new sounds to alarm the dogs. Consequently, their environment has necessarily become increasingly small to limit barking. They will now live in the kitchen where they will hear fewer sounds and any barking will be muffled.

At the moment their life is neither one thing or another. On one hand, gone are the freedoms and outdoor activities of the old life, but on the other hand it has not been replaced by any alternative.  Where they before had outdoor freedom and stimulation and plenty of company, they now have much less of both.

They now need to learn to be polite house dogs and the lady can build her bond with them accordingly.

One of the dogs, four-year-old black Labrador Bramble, is a nervous dog.  She was hand-reared as a puppy, her mother and siblings having died, and she has not been exposed in her early months to enough people and everyday things like traffic so she is scared. She barks Wary of people and too much barkingconstantly in the car at everything she sees. She has snapped a few times when someone has gone to touch her. Her lunging at traffic makes her hard to handle, so these things, along with the barking, are what we will be working on.

On the right was the best picture I could take of Bramble – she didn’t like being photographed!

The lady has two more Labradors, one aged fourteen and the other a strong two-year-old Chocolate  elevn year old Springer SpanielLabrador. She also has an eleven-year old Spaniel (I couldn’t resist taking this picture of him!). Because of their behaviour on walks which now have to be mostly on lead and where they encounter more people, dogs and traffic than they are accustomed to, she is unable to walk more than one dog at a time.

She now therefore has quite a complicated daily dog-walking rota which she admits has become a tedious chore where once being outside with her dogs and horses was a joy.

Because of the constant worry about the barking dogs upsetting the neighbours every time they hear something along with the walks being challenging, neither the lady nor her dogs are enjoying life together quite as they used to.  Dog problems can become quite overwhelming at times, but changing objectives and doing things a bit differently will change all that.

NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Bramble, which is why I don’t go into all 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).

Lovely natured little Pug, but used to getting his own way.

Two-year-old Pug Bungle is just the kind of dog many of my clients with little dogs would like and don’t get – aused to getting his own way dog that loves being cuddled and touched. The perfect lap dog.

Getting his own way

From the start the young lady has taken him everywhere with her and he is confident and well-socialised, fine with both people and other dogs. Delightful.

But there is a downside. Bungle is used to getting his own way. He has always got just what he wants and this has led to the three problems I was called out for. Basically, if he barks or fusses, it always works.

No more sharing their bed

Most pressing is that they don’t get a good night’s sleep. Bungle has been accustomed to sharing the bed, but now that the young lady is in a relationship they don’t want Bungle moving about the bed during the night and burrowing.

They have tried putting his bed on the floor, but he will be whining and snuffling and padding about on the wood floor with his nails tap-tapping, agitating to get back up on the bed – hence the bootees!

They have tried leaving him in the kitchen, but this is next to the neighbours so when he has barked he has been invited back into the bed. No wonder he makes a fuss – getting his own way WORKS!

We have a plan which I’m sure will solve this – and a back-up plan if not.

Non-stop barking in the car

Pug Bungle wearing his booteesThe second problem is non-stop barking in the car. This could be due to anxiety as things whizz past or it could be because anticipation of what may happen at the end of the journey which can be very exciting to him. It could be a mix of both.

Bungle has been taught that barking brings results. It always does – eventually.

The third problem is that they can’t eat out in a pub garden without constant barking for their food.

At home they will give him something else to be doing while they eat (a specially prepared Kong). There will never be any of their food for him either during or after their meal, should solve this – though it could take a while. Used to getting his own way in the end, he is bound to try all he can before giving up.

Nothing works quickly because habits need to be broken and replaced with new habits. It is all dependant upon Bungle’s humans keeping their heads and not giving in to his demands whether it’s for play, for food or to get into their bed.

Springer Spaniel Barks in the Car

He barks in the carFifteen month old Archie is a puzzle.

In most areas of his life he is the ideal dog, and his humans are the ideal owners. There may be a little bit of doing too much of what Archie wants – but then he asks so nicely! He is polite, gentle and endearing.

Normally when I go to a dog and look at the perceived problem, I find that the cause is elsewhere and many of the areas of the dogs life need a little adjustment.

In this case it really does seem to be mostly centred around the barking in the car.

He barks in the car. Why?

From when he was younger, Archie would bark with excitement as soon as the engine was turned off. He was eager to get out and on with the walk.

Then, a few months ago he started to bark continually during the journey as well.  Other things indicate that this is about something different – anxiety. Archie has developed a dislike for the moving car. I’m sure it’s because things outside moving past or approaching fast that he barks in the car during the journey. How is a dog to know that it’s the car moving and not the trees?

Non-stop barking in the car is dreadful. It hurts the ears, it’s very hard to keep calm and it’s difficult to concentrate on driving.

As the months have gone by, the more he barks in the car. The behaviour has become entrenched. It has become a habit. The car is the place to bark. He probably believes that when he barks in the car (which is always), it determines the outcome of the journey. this is either  a walk or the arrival home. That is what always happens whether the barking is through eager excitement or through anxiety.

Not barking should determine the outcome

He needs to learn that not barking determines the outcome – the walk. Quietness is what needs to be reinforced and rewarded. Archie needs to know what he should do rather than what he should not do.

A new habit has to be established – two new habits in fact. One is to address the anxiety while the car is moving, and the other to address the excitement about the end of the journey. They will try blocking his view of the cars and trees rushing by. That often quietens a dog.

Barking always is eventually rewarded by arriving at the destination and nice things happening. So they need to ensure that, once out of the car it’s not immediate fun and freedom, but starts with controlled walking. The same applies for getting back home.

Home needs to be boring for a while after they return home!

Charlie Doesn’t Feel Safe

From her owners’ perspective, adorable Bichon-Maltese mix Charlie is given everything a dog could possibly want for a happy life. They always thought the moBichon Charlie is yawning because he feels uneasyre excited she is the more joyful she feels. From Charlie’s perspective she is living a life punctuated by extreme stress and chronic anxiety.

Deservedly, Charlie is adored by the family – a lady, her daughter and her two granddaughters. By the end of my visit they began to see things in a different light. See the yawn? She is showing unease at being looked at while I took the photo.

When they greet Charlie she is ‘beyond excited’ and they fire her up with vigorous attention – so much so that she may pee. They believe just because she’s so excited that it’s good for her. The lady always thought that Charlie loved to go out in the car. Charlie’s excited and jumps in willingly, but then she is barking at people, dogs and traffic. She is left in the car when the lady shops because ‘she loves it’ even though she’s quite happy left at home. The entire time she is barking at anything she sees that moves. Beautiful Bichon Frise

Walks are horrendous. She pulls and barks at people, dogs and cars. It’s constant. They take her into the town where she is a ‘nightmare’, going for people’s legs; Mostly she is taken by car (barking all the way) to the park where she and her nervous owner are all the time looking about in near panic should a person or dog appear and if she’s off lead she will run back to the car or even try to find her way home.

Despite all this and like many other people – the lady feels that as a good and loving dog owner she must make Charlie go through this nightmare every day, and feels guilty if walks are missed. I would argue that Charlie’s mental and psychological health is more important than walks. Working on her confidence when out of the house will take a lot of time and patience.

I have recently watched a new DVD by famous trainer/behaviourist Suzanne Clothier called ‘Arousal, Anxiety and Fear’. She says she always mentally asks the dog, ‘How is this for you?’ She says ‘Make your dog feel safe’.

We put our dogs in situations where we think they are safe – but does the dog feel safe?

Loving their dogs as they do, why do so few people not consider, ‘How is this for you’ and help them out?