Max barks when left. Even before the door has closed he begins to bark.
This used not to be the case and questions unearthed some clues. They moved house a couple of months ago and this coincided with a family tragedy that caused great distress. He now barks when left alone.
Max barks when left – by the lady.
Yorkie Max is three years old. He’s a gorgeous little dog. His lady owner absolutely adores him. Loving him and touching him makes her happy. To quote her, ‘He makes my heart melt’. Could this level of constant devotion be a bit too much pressure?
The more dependent upon him she gets, the more dependent upon her he becomes. They are over interdependent. We know that dogs read and reflect their humans’ emotions.
That he barks when left mainly by the young lady has to be because of their relationship. She does everything Max wants, when he wants it – particularly if he barks.
Basically, by always obeying, they have taught him to bark whenever he wants something. If he wants the lady to come back home, it’s logical that he will bark until she returns.
Each day a sitter keeps him company for an hour or two but, although he isn’t barking, Max is quite plainly waiting for her to go and for the lady to come back. He either ignores the sitter, lying somewhere away with his back to her, or takes himself off to the bedroom! I’m sure he has learnt that his owner never comes back while the sitter is still there.
Because the young lady behaves a bit like Max’ servant or slave, it’s unsurprising he thinks he owns her. He could well feel he might lose her or that she, his resource, may come to some harm.
As his possession she’s a nightmare to keep track of – she keeps going walkabout!
This is a big burden for a little dog. When I came he was uncharacteristically scared. The first thing he did was to mark all around the pouffe on which the lady was sitting. Insecurity?
Barking will now no longer work.
They can change things by sometimes getting him to do things for them. The lady will teach him to come to her when she calls him. On walks he decides where to go and how far to go – which is very nice in a way and I feel most dogs should be given more choice. She will now give him time on each walk where she doesn’t do what he wants, five minutes to either get him to come where she wants or simply to stand still for a few minutes until she is ready to continue.
Instead of responding to barking, the lady in particular can regularly initiate activities when she feels like it. They will hide the ball – the thing that he most uses to get them to obey him – and get it out for short sessions when he’s quiet, before putting it away again.
She will make a real effort not to smother Max. He needs to gain some independence from her so that he’s less needy. When he’s on her lap, she will give him 5-minute breaks from being touched.
Freedom to be able to stand on his own four little legs!
Changing their relationship so that they free him to be a bit more independent is the way to go, along with getting him used to the lady walking out on him and shutting the door. Show that she’s not reliant upon him and she always will come back.
Each time she leaves the room she will follow the same ritual of good things happening and each time she comes back she will make it a minor event. She will do her best only to open the door when he’s not barking.
I hope they will be able to film him. We will see then if there is more to it than I have diagnosed. We know that he is barking at the door when she leaves. Does he move about? Does he settle at all? The neighbour says he barks all day but that can’t be quite accurate as the sitter comes daily. To a neighbour it may seem continuous.