Nessie

Barking, barking, barking.......Need help!!!

7 posts in this topic

I have a Westie, male, 8 year old. We have been in this new house for almost a year. He has been quite good playing at the back garden just keep barking at the squirrels that he sees in the trees. But now the next door neighbour has a kitten and my dog can smell it through the fence. He is going mad. Starts with wee noises and then he can't stop barking. I don't know what to do. My neighbour from the other side already complained. Please, please....what can I do to stop the barking? Need advice urgently.Thanks

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It's not an instant fix, but you can train a 'quiet' cue. Bizarrely you start by training a bark - there are videos on YouTube. But it will be hard if the kitten is causing him so much interest. Could you arrange for them to meet in controlled circumstances, so it holds less mystery and becomes less interesting?

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First ask why a dog would behave in this way.

His breed is a very lively one and he will need lots to do to satisfy his terrier instincts.

How much exercise does he get? Most dogs need at least two hours per day, out of house, exercise. This satisfies their need for mental and physical stimulation.

What food is he on? Some dog food is like rocket fuel! Take a look at the website All About Dog Food to find a good quality diet.

He will also need training to listen to you when you want to control his behaviour. A good recall away from the fence might be all you need. It may be impossible to cure the behaviour all together but you should be able to call him indoors, and reward him, when you need to.

Have you got room for a sand pit? Terriers love to dig and if you get some silver sand (play sand) from a builders merchant you could make him one and hide treats and toys in it to keep him occupied.

Stuffed Kong toys are excellent and feeding him from a puzzle toy is also a good idea, or you could scatter his food around the garden for him to hunt it out.

In short, the busier he is doing other things the less likely he is to indulge in naughty behaviour. Do realise, however, that if it has become a habit it may take a while to cure.

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On 20 May 2017 at 2:46 PM, JoanneF said:

It's not an instant fix, but you can train a 'quiet' cue. Bizarrely you start by training a bark - there are videos on YouTube. But it will be hard if the kitten is causing him so much interest. Could you arrange for them to meet in controlled circumstances, so it holds less mystery and becomes less interesting?

Thank you so much for your advice and ideas. Nessie is quite stubborn but I cannot give up. I am a bit afraid of meeting the kitten. I don't know how Nessie or the cat will react.

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9 hours ago, gypsysmum2 said:

First ask why a dog would behave in this way.

His breed is a very lively one and he will need lots to do to satisfy his terrier instincts.

How much exercise does he get? Most dogs need at least two hours per day, out of house, exercise. This satisfies their need for mental and physical stimulation.

What food is he on? Some dog food is like rocket fuel! Take a look at the website All About Dog Food to find a good quality diet.

He will also need training to listen to you when you want to control his behaviour. A good recall away from the fence might be all you need. It may be impossible to cure the behaviour all together but you should be able to call him indoors, and reward him, when you need to.

Have you got room for a sand pit? Terriers love to dig and if you get some silver sand (play sand) from a builders merchant you could make him one and hide treats and toys in it to keep him occupied.

Stuffed Kong toys are excellent and feeding him from a puzzle toy is also a good idea, or you could scatter his food around the garden for him to hunt it out.

In short, the busier he is doing other things the less likely he is to indulge in naughty behaviour. Do realise, however, that if it has become a habit it may take a while to cure.

Wonderful ideas! Thank you very much. I never thought about the food and about getting him busy,  and paying attention to other things. I know he is not going to change from one day to the other. He is not a puppy anymore and he loves his territory.

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There will be good days and bad days but just keep persevering :)

Age is no barrier to learning. As long as he finds something rewarding he will do it. Our job is to make the good behaviour more rewarding than the bad behaviour so that they give up the bad but continue the good!

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Agree that teaching 'Speak!' is key to getting a bark under stimulus control [vs popping off randomly at any noise within a 1/4 mile...], & once 'On' is taught, U can install the 'Off' switch. ;)   'Hushhhh...' literally in a whisper, with finger to one's lips & an interested listening face, can be very effective - but must be taught away from the kitten, or other things that elicit barks.
If he knows marker training / clicker training, it's easier to communicate what U want at any given time - humans are verbal, & dogs are not, so they get frustrated & can't fathom what the H*** we want. :(    Accurately marking the desired instant of behavior, helps the dog grasp what's being rewarded right now.

if U want to try it, here's a free week of training for beginners via e-mail -
http://canisclickertraining.com/

Also, don't leave the dog solo in the yard - leave a drag on him [an 8 to 10-ft long light strong cord, with no wrist-loop nor knots to catch].  Let him out, & AS - SOON - AS he barks, go out & bring him in. No scolding, no evulll looks, no angry body-language, go out, TREAD on the trailing drag, pick it up, & bring him in - hand over hand if need be.
Give him 20 to 30-seconds to think about it, let him back out... he barks? Even once? -- Go out, & bring him back in. // Ad infinitum. Eventually the penny will drop, & he'll realize, 'I bark, i'm brought indoors...', & he'll shut up, if he wants to stay outside. ;)
If he wants to bark MORE than he wants to stay in the yard / garden, which is possible in a vocal terrierrrist, then U have a different issue to solve.  Hopefully, he's not an obsessive barker. // Let us know how he gets on?
 - terry

Terry Pride, member Truly Dog-Friendly
'dogs R dogs, wolves R wolves, & primates R us.' -- (™ 2007)

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