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puppy advice needed
barking in crate

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#1 permiemumma

Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:35 AM

Kody is our 16 week old Finnish Lapphund. Up until recently he was going excellently with crate training, would go in happily and quietly. But recently he has started barking a lot at dinner time. He is generally fine any other time of the day, but when we put him in at dinner (so he doesn't pester us while we eat) he does a loud, quite high pitched bark.

He has his dinner in the crate with him, he pauses from barking every niw and then to have a few mouthfuls. I've tried cutting back from 3 meals a day to 2 so he is a bit hungrier but it hasn't really made a difference. He's not very food oriented. I've also tried putting his favourite toy in there with him (when I put him in there, I've made sure not to give it to him once he has started barking and reinforce the behaviour) which distracted him for a little while but not long enough. If we ignore him he will stop eventually (long after we've finished dinner) and we usually have headaches from all the noise by the time he stops.

I asked my sister (a vet) what to do and her advice was to get him in trouble every single time he barks by growling "aargh" or similar. which we tried. But every time i do it he barks more, right at me and then makes this groaning moaning noise. It's a bit hard to explain.

He is.such a gorgeous boy, generally very quiet and easy going. He has been very easy so far, which is good because we're first time dog owners and dont really know what we're doing but this has got us stumped. Any suggestions or advice?

#2 mks81

Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:50 AM

He thinks he is missing out.

I would go the method of reward instead of removing him form the dinner scene. And this training needs to start away from dinner time.

I would start by getting him to accept one or two commands and knowing that he is going to be rewarded for doing the right thing. So to know his name by coming and to sit and stay. He has been pretty smart that he has caught on that he is missing out on meal time with you guys and barking to let you know that. So this shouldn't be too hard as long as your patient.

Once he knows these commands I would have him sit at a meal time, (these first few meals aren't going to be about you enjoying your meal in peace as this is going to be more about training him) or even not a proper meal time but a 'pretend one' at different times of the day.

Everytime he 'stays', is 'quiet' for an extended period, etc you need to reward him. As he will have already started to be rewarded for those initial commands away from the dinner scene, he will get it pretty quickly. Do not punish him for barking as he is so young and its counter productive. Just big on the rewards for doing the right thing.

I would also be making sure he is crated for short periods at this young age and the times he is crated varies. So he doesn't automatically think as soon as he goes in that he is missing out on meal times. I wouldn't be crating him at all at meal times but rather do this training that he knows he can sit quietly beside you and be rewarded for it. Again he is very young so don't expect him to get it straight away or do too much too soon.

We have all our gang, (6 dogs atm while parent's dogs are staying with us) and all can be expected to sit beside us and while some do drool and implore with big eyes, it can be done as long as your patient.

Just wanted to add I love this breed...utterly gorgeous!

Edited by mks81, 18 April 2012 - 09:51 AM.

#3 permiemumma

Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:15 PM

Sorry for the delay in reply, I did read your post mks81 but things have been a bit full on! I think you're right that he does feel left out. We have been letting him stay out of the crate and working on his sit and stay for mealtimes. It's going quite well at the dining table, he seems to have worked out what is expected of him and will behave himself most of the time.

Occasionally we eat dinner on the coffee table in front of the tv, but unfortunately the food right in front of his nose is a bit too tempting and the sit and stay goes out of the window. So we won't be having any coffee table dinners for a while, we'll just concentrate on getting a really solid stay at the dining table and work up to the coffee table.

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