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barking dog problems

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#1 emnut

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:44 AM

we have a new rescue pup (11 month old kelpie/heeler x) who never stops barking.  We also have an older 3yo same breed girl who we had some barking issues (some might remember my post about her barking at insurance ads) that we now have under control.  But our new girl barks constantly at everything - from tv to neighbours to possums on the roof to birds, to our other dog if she doesn't play, at DH or DS1 if they move and even waves at the beach.  

She is well exercised - 2 x 5km runs on the beach daily with DH where she runs & swims significantly further.  She has toys galore, playing cricket with DS1 for hours every day, comes inside overnight and for an hour or so during the day for attention.  There are toys outside, chooks that she gets to help round up of an afternoon.

How do we stop her barking before neighbours start complaining?

#2 MrsLexiK

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:53 AM

The only thing that has stopped my boy barking is a barking collar, I picked a citranola (sp?) one up on eBay.  I have replaced it once in 3 years (just recently) because it all ceased up but I know others that have spent $300 and have had to replace it in the same time so I feel the cheap one is very fine.  

#3 Copper and May

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:55 AM

This breed of dog is a working dog and they love to bark and work everything they can find and barking is part of the scenario. I think you will have to invest in a barking collar to try and break the way your dog is thinking.

#4 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:38 PM

Kelpies love to bark. Especially at Sheep. Even pretend and invisible ones. They can imagine sheep just about anywhere, and suspect sheep are excellent at disguising themselves as other objects.

I'd start with a squirt gun, and a BAH! Basically, if she's barking when not supposed to - she's taking over your 'job', which is to decide what is a 'threat' and what is not. So, when she barks, you use a deep angry man voice and yell BAH! at her, when she's quiet (which should happen pretty much immediately if you manage to shock her a bit), you go back to your normal voice, and tell her 'good dog'. Lots of praise for the quiet. If BAH doesn't cut it, re-inforce BAH with a squirt gun.

I'd also suggest a behavioural trainer who specialises in barkers to come visit. They will have lots of suggestions for reducing the things that are prompting the barking (like obscuring views of people walking past the house, etc), and get into some things that may reduce random barking a fair bit.

Also, crate train so you can 'curfew' the bark overnight. Bring them in at 8:30pm, and let them out at 7:00am. We do this with our 3, although our combined pack doesn't bark as much as the neighbour's Jack Russell.

Finally, if all of the above fails, step up to a sonic or citronella bark collar. Please avoid the shock collars - they hurt, and they're illegal in most states.

#5 ChexMix

Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:33 PM

The good thing about kelpies and heelers - they can be a handful at the start, but they are so smart and keen to train that with a little bit of work you can get a whole lot back biggrin.gif

I currently have kelpies, they're going to be on a suburban block for about the next month and they haven't worked a sheep in 4 months. They get about half the exercise in the OP but they've been asleep all day even though they haven't been walked. They weren't always like this, so I'll put down a few things that helped:

- Clicker training. Smart dogs need their brains worked as much as their bodies. Everyday training of tricks, household chores, obedience, agility, whatever, just 5 minutes or less a few times a day. Shaping exercises like 101 things to do with a box (on google) keep that brain active too.

- Reinforcing calm. Lying relaxed on their bed will be rewarded. Frozen kongs are good for this too.

- Teach a "quiet" "inside" and "on your bed" to interrupt the barking when it starts and redirect to something else. The "quiet" cue I taught by holding a treat in front of their face until they shut up to look at it, then marked and rewarded that behaviour, then increased the time they had to be quiet before I rewarded.

- If you have any herding training near you it's a great outlet for them and heaps of fun biggrin.gif

Punishing might stop the barking, but she's barking for a reason. Make sure you give her another option to release that energy or it might be digging or chewing next! I grew up with a heeler x kelpie so have a huge soft spot for them original.gif

#6 emnut

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:33 PM

Thanks for the ideas.  She has come to us with zero training at all really so its obvious why she was being rehomed the poor thing.  We have used clicker training for basic obedience and when she is doing the work we give her and it has gone well for that.  With the barking not so well though.  

We are currently trying the whole BAH thing to try to stop her excited jumping all over & nipping at greeting for visitors so will try that with the barking.  Using a squirt gun might be tricky as we have tried that with her & she has a tendency to lunge snapping at the squirter atm.  She does have several kongs around the yard outside with her but just buries them.

ChexMix - they sure are great dogs once trained.  We are on just under an acre & find that our older girl now will go for her runs & spend the rest of the time sleeping or pottering around after DS.  She is getting a late start to the training but has learnt most things pretty quickly.  Unfortunately no herding places around here but DH has taught her a bit with the chickens which she loves.  She did actually come to us with a massive digging problem but getting enough exercise seems to have helped with that.

We do have her in from around 7pm  & we are gradually getting there with crate training but find unless she goes out to toilet at around midnight she go nuts between 3-4am to go out so we have the choice of barking outside before we go to bed or the early hours.

#7 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:42 PM

BAH is not so effective for jumping and nipping.

Do this instead. Oh, and play it when your dogs can hear it. Watch their faces - too funny.

(this is me and my dogs - by the way).

DH and I have an agreement. He does the late night pit stop (close to midnight, he's a night owl), and I do the morning one (small child insists on mummy being awake too).

Do you have any training/obedience clubs near you? I use clicker training for most of my clients - its by far and away the most effective method. Works well for most working dogs too.

#8 emnut

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:00 PM

love Buttercup's reaction Spikey.  I forgot all about the screaming when she jumps - with the other one we stopped her with a loud puppy squeal that worked well so will try that instead.  Unfortunately no clubs nearby - we are definitely planning on travelling to take her to a club (thinking of doing agility with her) but will have to wait until we have DS2 home finally whenever that happens to logistically be able to.

Older dog was running in circles around the laptop as if trying to work out how to get to the dogs when we watched it.  Younger one had one ear up, one day cocking her head

#9 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:06 PM


The smart ones wonder how the dogs got into your computer....

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