Barking at People and Dogs

Yorkshire Terrier sibling barks too much


Yorkie twins Daisy and Cody are now five years of age.

There are well-documented disadvantages of taking on sibling puppies – see here for more information. One common problem is that one of the puppies becomes shy, even when both puppies started off as bold and outgoing. This means that the shy puppy never reaches his or her potential. Another problem is that same-sex siblings in particular can end up arch enemies.

It’s a tribute to their family that these two little dogs have turned out so well.

I would say that although Daisy, on the right (look at that little face), is a lot more nervous than Cody, they are no different many other two unrelated dogs.

Their problem is too much barking at people and dogs from Daisy, particularly when they are out or when people come in the house. Cody is self-assured and has ‘attitude’ on walks but Daisy is scared.

Because she can sometimes sound quite ferocious when a person or another dog approaches, the lady has been so worried that her little dog is aggressive. She is on lead with a tense and anxious handler and she feels vulnerable.

But it varies. It’s not consistent. Because some days she is fine where other days she is very nervous, it’s useful to look at what is happening in all other aspects of Daisy’s life. There are many things that stir her up daily which don’t affect Cody at all, including the post coming through the door, the vacuum cleaner or lawn mower, and even enthusiastic greetings. Without too much effort the family can save her the build-up from all these stresses and it will make a huge difference to her.

Yorkshire Terrier sibling is the more confident


The lady in particular is very concerned her little dog could be ‘dangerous’ by all the barking at people and dogs. When they are out or when someone comes to the house she is both nervous and apologetic.

The people holding the leads will need to keep a close eye on the dogs for their reaction – to nip it in the bud. They must move Daisy away to a distance where she feels ‘safe’ and then work on building up her confidence.  When over-threshold she barks and lunges and snarls – and then may redirect onto poor Cody with a nip.

Work can only be done with the dogs walked separately for a while.

It’s the stress and fear that needs to be addressed – both dog and human! Already the lady has said, “I feel more at ease with the barking knowing it isn’t aggression”.

When Daisy calms down and everyone gains confidence, they should have no problems on walks – as has already been proved on ‘good’ days.

To change the behaviour we must change the emotion that drives it.

Already, after one day of implementing a few changes, the lady says: “We can’t believe how quiet they have been – less stressful today all round for the dogs and me!
Seven weeks later: ‘Things are improving – I walked Cody the other day and came across a lady with 3 dogs I turned and walked away then turned back and stayed on my side of the road (lady was on the opposite pavement talking) we continued walking with no reaction from Cody at all – I was very pleased with him as previously he has barked at the dogs – I have been going out when it suits me rather than when its quiet – most days we don’t see anyone but if we do I know how to handle them.  We have seen such an improvement in the dogs and agree with you it is as much about us changing as well as the dogs.

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


Rough Play. Double Trouble

rough play and double troubleButter wouldn’t melt!!! Here they are lying next to me.

Chico and Sheba are an unusual mix of Staffie and Corgi. The one-year-old brother and sister are very friendly, gentle dogs. Absolutely wonderful……and… times…..MANIC!

Constant rough play

When I arrived it was bedlam with their constant rough play. The sofa and house is slowly being demolished by them. Their two young gentlemen owners have now laid their third stair carpet, and the re-turfed lawn is now wasteland again.

The trouble started when they took on Sheba a few months after Chico. More than Double Trouble!

Puppy Chico


It is so clear that the dogs reflect each individual owner that it would be laughable if not so exasperating. The two men work at different times, so the dogs spend quite a lot of time with just one or other.

With one man they are settled and there are no problems at all.

With the other they never stop! They wreck things even while he’s in the house. They play fight constantly. They fly all over the place. Whilst also getting very cross he encourages them with the sort of games he plays – it’s like he’s one of the dogs!

The other young man, however, is quite clear in what is acceptable and what is not. He hardly has to try. It just comes naturally to him.

Some boundaries!

When both men are out, the door to the garden may be left open and the dogs rampage in and out, doing damage. They are perfectly happy crated, so that is how it will be from now on!

Like many couples I go to, it’s difficult when the people do things differently. It can cause conflict between them and confusion for the dogs. Hopefully, now that I have been and we have agreed a plan, they will read from the same page so to speak. These lovely dogs should calm right down, stop damaging the house, cut down on the rough play, be given mental stimulation and learn some self-control.

The only way they will become good doggy citizens is if their humans change. One young man has a bit more adjusting to do than the other, but I know he’s up to it. Being too soft isn’t actually kind and in this case leads to two aroused dogs looking frantically for things on which to redirect their pent up stress – like rough play. They both adore the dogs – and who could help it? They are wonderful.

Would Rather Toilet Indoors Than Out

Brother and sister are a mix of Jack Russell, Pomeranian and ChihuahuaMillie and Max are seven months old, and supposedly brother and sister.  They are a mix of Jack Russell, Pomeranian and Chihuahua. They were bought from a pet shop at ten weeks of age so nobody will ever know.They certainly look very different, and Max is a lot bigger. He’s like a little fox!

They are delightful and full of puppy exuberance – Max in particular. Millie is a little more anxious.

The main problem is constant toileting indoors – everywhere. There are puppy pads in all the rooms. I feel because the pads are impregnated these little dogs are in effect being taught to go indoors. It’s Catch 22 because without the pads they would be peeing even more on the carpets – and pooing as well.

From the start they were toileting several times in the night, even when shut in a crate. The crate was abandoned because of the mess they made. By the age of ten weeks old most puppies  will have been introduced to the difference between indoors and outdoors, and it’s clear these little dogs had not. The problems had already started. Once home from the pet shop, they were so tiny, Millie in particular, that rules and boundaries were not properly introduced. The dogs, sleeping on the lady’s bed, will get off wee and poo several times in the night – mostly on the pads but not always.

This is a huge problem as you may imagine. Max also now marks up the curtain as well. Millie peed four times while I was there, once under the table, and the other times on puppy pads. She does lots of small puddles. I did wonder whether this constant peeing from Millie could be due to a medical problem, but she been checked over by the vet.  She is usually carried outside, but this way she will never learn that part of the process is walking to the back door.

My view is that their terrotiry should be cut down from run of the house to just kitchen and utility room, unless they are being watched – and then they should not have freedom to wander. I would advise the same thing at night. Shut them in the utility and leave them to it – but this would probably be too big a leap for the young lady. Understandably;).

Puppy training needs to go back to square one. They are praised massively for going outside, but maybe they think they are praised for going, irrespective of where. Praise needs to be gentle, not distracting, and if a little reward is dropped on the grass in front of them as they finish they may start to get the connection with toileting and grass. Visits outside will need to be very frequent, after meals, after waking, after playing, when the dogs are restless, and at least every waking thirty minutes.

They may need to try different food, because four, five or even more poos a day is excessive. The more complete the nutrition, the less waste there will be to pass through!

The final element which needs to be put in places is reduction of excitement and stress. There is persistent jumping up and maybe nipping when the lady owners come home, and at visitors. Walks are pulling affairs with anxiety around other dogs. They fly all over the chairs and people.

Stress, excitement and anxiety lead to peeing and possibly pooing. Stress and excitement also lead to drinking. Drinking leads to peeing! A few calm rules and boundaries will help enormously, I’m sure.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.

Jumping Up and Pulling on Lead

Givvy and Angus are beautiful chunky Black Labradors, four year old brother and sister. They do what a lot of Labs (and other dogs) do – jump up and pull on lead.

Black Labrador brother and sister lying togetherImagine how a dog would feel, already very excited before leaving the house, pulling madly down the road, being corrected painfully with perhaps a choke chain while a stressed owner shouts ‘Heel’…..and then a person with a dog appears in front of him. More discomfort as the anxious owner immediately yanks the lead and holds on tight. The dog is more or less set up to be reactive – to lunge and bark.

How often do we see dogs walking on loose leads, being allowed to stop and sniff and do what dogs like to do, walking like there is no lead at all, barking and lunging at another dog?

I rest my case!

A family member is now pregnant, so the jumping up has to stop. ‘Dog training’ methods have been used for four years of their lives – one dog has a choke chain. They are corrected, the lead is jerked and they are told ‘heel’. They pull so badly, especially when they see another dog or a person, that they can’t be walked together and even the young man is too anxious to walk them down their own lane.

Have four years of correction, ‘heel’ and tight leads worked? No. Have four years of being told ‘Off’ or being pushed down when they jump up worked?  No.

It stands to reason that a different approach is needed.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.