Evie has just had her second litter (it is hard to see which end is which but her head is on the left). On the right she is teaching three-month-old Lara some manners. Evie is the mother of Milo who is the main barker and most excitable of the dogs, and they also have six-year-old Ruby.
It takes very little to set Milo and Evie off barking. Ruby will join in. They bark whenever they hear any sound outside. Milo stands and barks in the garden whenever he goes out, joined by Evie who runs around barking. They bark frantically when someone comes in the house.
There is bedlam before taking them out for a walk – with all three adult dogs jumping and barking and it’s a fight to attach collars and leads onto Milo in particular. Milo keeps barking all the way down the road.
Evie and her puppies are kept separate from the other dogs in the dining room and hall. Three month old Lara is kept behind a gate in the kitchen, and the other two are behind yet another gate in the utility room. It is a logistical challenge! Milo who is only eleven months old pester Ruby, and to give her some peace she spends time in a crate which she then guards.
The situation is a melting pot of noise and excitement and it has been getting too much!
We broke things down and looked at each element, combining different behaviour from the humans with some ways of managing things better. It will take time and work which the lady understands. She loves her dogs and not only breeds but also shows them.
Garden barking needs to be controlled so they can be brought in as soon as they start. Shouting ‘be quiet’ has to stop as it doesn’t help at all and a different approach used. Before walks the dogs need to be separated and shown that nothing at all is going to happen until they are quiet. Once through the gate, Milo needs to understand that as soon as he starts barking he will be going back in.
With time and patience a much calmer household should result – quieter too, although not a silent one!