Author Topic: Other Dogs?  (Read 752 times)

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Offline AdventurousEquestrian

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Other Dogs?
« on: February 26, 2017, 03:44:51 PM »
My two pet dogs are really poorly behaved. At the moment they're having a barking fit since one of my brother's friends came over. How can I quickly train them to not be so excitable? I really want to raise a puppy for GDB, but I understand I can't do that if my dogs are horrible influences.

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Other Dogs?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2017, 05:51:13 PM »
There's not really a quick fix to a bad behavior that has been practiced to the point of becoming habit.  It will take utter consistency and persistence and TIME.  I can tell you the short answer, which is true, but probably not very helpful at all.  If you don't want them to be nuisance barkers, first don't let them bark in the first place and second teach them an off switch to stop barking on command.  The thing is you are going to need some training to be able to do that.  If you could arrange a private lesson in your home with a good trainer, they could assess your dogs, why they bark, and where the best opportunity is to interrupt them, then coach you on working with them to do that.

There's a high probability someone will comment that the way to solve a barking problem is to teach the dog to bark on command and then teach him to quiet on command.  While this is true in a way, it's still not an answer to your question because you're going to need two basic skills in order to do this, two skills that you cannot learn from a book or website, and cannot learn from a YouTube video.  There are only two ways to learn them:  years of trial and error, or under the direct supervision of a trainer or behaviorist working with you in person.

What I'm suggesting is that you use a professional to observe your dogs and do the interpreting for you of what they are thinking and analyse how this behavior works for them (it's not going to be the same for all dogs with the problem) and how to communicate with them what you want instead.  You can study theory and understand things like positive reinforcement, extinction, schedules of reinforcement, and so on, but without the ability to read your dog's mind by observing his body language and without the timing to know when and how to communicate to him, you aren't going to have the tools to make it work no matter how simple the solution actually is.

Let's assume you know how to ride a bicycle very competently.  And you come to me and say you're running late and your phone is dead and your parents are going to kill you if you don't call them and let them know.  And I say to you, "the answer is simple, just pedal two miles that way and you'll find a park office with a phone you can use and you can get there in 20 minutes easy.  Yes, going to the park office is a simple answer, but it depends on you knowing how to operate that bicycle effectively for you to make the simple solution work for you.  If you know how to ride a bicycle, this solution is ridiculously easy, a no brainer.  But if you don't yet know how to ride a bicycle you've got to learn that first in order to execute the simple solution.  Dog training is like that.  It's easy once you get the hang of it but it doesn't seem so easy while you are first learning how to do it.  Now consider:  if I gave you written directions on how to ride a bicycle and you'd never done it before, could you follow my directions and succeed?  What if I gave you a YouTube video of people riding bicycles, could you learn that way?  Because the way you learned to ride a bicycle was either by trial and error (including crashes and skinned knees) OR you had someone who knew how to do it watching your efforts, noticing what was going wrong and why, and telling you how to fix it in real time and in person.  You need the same kind of situation to master the core skills of dog training (interpreting the dog's behavior correctly and responding to his behavior in ways he can clearly understand due to the precision and timing of your communication with him).

The good news is that once you have succeeded in fixing your pets' noise making problem you will have some truly valuable dog training skills that you can then apply to other dogs, including a puppy being raised for a guide dog school.
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Offline Moonsong

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Re: Other Dogs?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2017, 08:17:42 PM »
I agree with Kirsten. Though you could do it on your own if you can't afford/are unable to go through a professional trainer, obviously getting the professional help is the best and easiest solution. Doing it on your own, as Kirsten said, would be a very long and difficult process of trail and error.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 08:19:24 PM by Moonsong »
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Offline Azariah

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Re: Other Dogs?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2017, 08:56:15 PM »
I didn't spend enough time focusing on Serenity's "demand barking" when she was a baby and am having to spend a LOT of time on it now. It took awhile just to observe and determine WHY she was barking (aka was it separation anxiety, demanding something now, or something else) and the triggers that would start it. I've started training away from it and I'm guessing that it will be at least a few months before it is a ton better. I will need to do it by each type of "demand" and different environments for each demand. It will take a long time.

There is no quick fix I know of for barking or excitability. Both take time to fix. Even the bark on command and quiet (which I've trained) takes a fair amount of time. And that one isn't going to work with what my puppy is going through.

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Offline Amazon421

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Re: Other Dogs?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2017, 09:31:54 PM »
I have 2 dogs that will bark when they hear things going on outside (someone on the porch, the doorbell, my neighbor mowing his yard, etc). I was worried about this but when I brought this up with the trainer for the program I'll be a part of once I get my future SD puppy, she said it was fine because it's WHERE the SD barks that matters, not the fact that it is barking.

I don't particularly encourage the behavior (I don't tell them to sic at the noises) and am not fond of it in general. I don't want them to completely stop barking though because I'm a single female living alone. I don't want someone breaking in. 

Will this be a problem? I'm trying to break all their bad habits now before the puppy comes in the house. Is there an acceptable bark response? Thanks

Offline Punktestern

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Re: Other Dogs?
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2017, 09:37:19 PM »
I have 2 dogs that will bark when they hear things going on outside (someone on the porch, the doorbell, my neighbor mowing his yard, etc). I was worried about this but when I brought this up with the trainer for the program I'll be a part of once I get my future SD puppy, she said it was fine because it's WHERE the SD barks that matters, not the fact that it is barking.

I don't particularly encourage the behavior (I don't tell them to sic at the noises) and am not fond of it in general. I don't want them to completely stop barking though because I'm a single female living alone. I don't want someone breaking in. 

Will this be a problem? I'm trying to break all their bad habits now before the puppy comes in the house. Is there an acceptable bark response? Thanks

Less of a problem with your own dog than with a dog you're raising for a program that will not be yours (as the original poster is planning on doing).

As long as it doesn't translate to hotels or similar, and it's not a nuisance with your housing situation (apartments, etc., whatever).
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Other Dogs?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2017, 09:46:26 PM »
Ideally you'd get no more than one low "chuff" per intruder.  A chuff is a soft bark, maybe as loud as clearing your throat or sneezing.  As Punk said, it's a little different if it's your own dog and it doesn't disturb the neighbors so long as the dog doesn't generalize and bark elsewhere.  When you're puppy raising for a program you don't know what kind of housing situation pup would be going into as a fully trained guide dog.  They have to be quiet because of that and a nuisance barker is likely to get dropped from the program for that reason.

If you ever move it might become a problem if neighbors are closer, walls thinner, or neighbors more sensitive.  It's much easier to prevent a puppy developing a bad habit than to fix it after it is habit.  And the easiest way to prevent it being acquired by puppy is to address the problem with the existing barkers before pup arrives on the scene.  Then correct the barkers every time they bark in pup's presence or hearing.
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In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest