Grumbles and growls can have several meanings. Some dogs grumble and growl in enjoyment at a butt-scratch or body massage. More often, a growl is an important warning – “I don’t like you (or whatever you’re doing); please stop!” (See “Understand Why Your Dog Growls,” October 2005.)
Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, is Whole Dog Journal’s Training Editor. Miller lives in Hagerstown, Maryland, site of her Peaceable Paws training center. She is also the author of, The Power of Positive Dog Training and Positive Perspectives: Love Your Dog, Train Your Dog.
Dogs naturally lose old or damaged hair by shedding. Although shedding is a normal process for dogs, the amount and frequency of hair that is shed often depends upon their health and breed type. It can also depend on the season-many dogs develop thick coats in the winter that are then shed in the spring. Dogs who are always kept indoors, however, are prone to smaller fluctuations in coat thickness and tend to shed fairly evenly all year.
Find your dog’s trigger, give your “Speak!” cue, then elicit the bark. (If you want the bark to eventually ward off potential accosters, select a cue that will make sense in that context, such as “Stop!” or “Leave me alone!”)
I should add here that many years ago (when I was pretty new to dog training) I used to think that barking could all be sorted out with the same approach. Now I’m a few years older and wiser (hee hee), and I can see the error of my ways.
There’s a lot of talk these days about the fact that dogs are primarily body language communicators. It’s true, they are. But as anyone who’s spent time with them knows, dogs also have a pretty well-developed ability to express themselves vocally. Dogs bark. Some bark more, some bark less, and a few don’t bark at all, but most dogs bark at least some of the time.
If your dog barks a lot when left and you are unable to resolve this by following our tips, you are likely to need help from a qualified dog behaviourist to address the problem. You can find one by contacting your vet, or on the Animal Behaviour and Training Council website.
I have a cocker spaniel rescue dog which I have had now for over a year – he is red colour and is now 18 months old. Hunter has had issues since we got him in that he growls if you go near his toys, food etc he is clearly resource guarding. However during the time we have had him his behaviour has worsened. He now chasing lorries, vans and buses, he growls for no reason whilst in the home, he has snapped, growled and ‘gone for’ all of us, never actually bitten but I suppose the threat is there.
Continue to recruit people to help you practice “Go to Your Spot” exercises until your dog reliably goes to his spot and stays there until you release him by saying “Okay.” At this point, your dog should be able to perform his new “Go to Your Spot” skill perfectly about 90 percent of the time during training sessions. The hardest part for your dog will be going to his spot and staying there in real-life situations, when he hasn’t been able to do a few warm-up repetitions. To prepare your dog for times when real visitors arrive, ask friends who already know your dog well to drop by randomly when you’ll be home. Then ask friends who don’t know your dog well to drop by. With plenty of practice, your dog will be able to go to his spot and stay there, even when neither of you knows who’s at the door!
If your neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking, it can go beyond a minor annoyance. A barking dog that doesn’t belong to you can disrupt your sleep, ruin your peace of mind, or become a headache-inducing nuisance. It can even cause your dogs to misbehave as the constant barking becomes a distraction, and you might find that your own pups feel the need to bark back. So how do you get a neighbor’s dog to cut the noise?
So if it is agreed that the most common motivations for dog barking (Separation and Defensive/Territorial) can or do occur when you are not there, what methods will stop dog barking more effectively than others? Chastising and physical punishment are obviously impossible when you are not there.
Work on pre-departure anxiety by exposing your dog to your various departure cues, like putting on a coat or picking up/jingling your keys. Try engaging in these behaviors at various times throughout the day without actually leaving the house.
Do not encourage your dog to bark at sounds, such as pedestrians or dogs passing by your home, birds outside the window, children playing in the street and car doors slamming, by saying “Who’s there?” or getting up and looking out the windows.
You can also prevent undesirable behavior by reducing the chances of those situations arising. For example, if your dog barks for your help whenever her ball rolls underneath the couch, try putting something under the couch to block her toys from rolling under there.
Giving Warning: Dogs bark to warn their pack of danger and to keep intruders away. Most creatures will think twice before approaching a dog that comes running up making loud barking noises. In nature, the bigger the sound, the better.
Some people don’t recognize that petting a dog in the middle of barking, in the dog’s mind, is rewarding their behavior. You may think that you’re calming them down, but you’re really reinforcing that response. Remember, don’t reward what you don’t want repeated.
Be aware that counterconditioning typically only works for mild cases of separation anxiety. Though puzzle toys will certainly be enjoyed by your dog no matter how severe her condition, you may need to resort to stronger approaches if your dog suffers from moderate to severe anxiety.
For treatment of territorial barking, your dog’s motivation should be reduced as well as his opportunities to defend his territory. To manage your dog’s behavior, you’ll need to block his ability to see people and animals. Removable plastic film or spray-based glass coatings can help to obscure your dog’s view of areas that he observes and guards from within your house. Use secure, opaque fencing to surround outside areas your dog has access to. Don’t allow your dog to greet people at the front door, at your front yard gate or at your property boundary line. Instead, train him to go to an alternate location, like a crate or a mat, and remain quiet until he’s invited to greet appropriately.
my tip is to keep him on a leash. I have seen a . Why would any little dog need to be off leash in a field is beyond me. Sorry just sayin’ As for having him behave on the lead, I will have to leave that advise to the experts. I just can’t say enough how important it is to keep your dog on a leash. Even a well trained dog can run off if its prey drive kicks in……like seeing a cat, a bird, or another dog to greet (though this one would not be prey drive) But I think that you understand. I learned this lesson the hard way. I thought that my well behaved highly trained dog would always listen to me off leash (I mean really, he ALWAYS did for years) Then, one day, I decided to let him swim in the dammed up part of the river where the water is calm. He wasn’t wearing a leash or a life vest. A duck flew by low and over the river……….then off went Yogi. He is a Labrador Retriever……..he went for the duck and inevitably got caught in the swift current in the middle of the wide river. He didn’t hear me when I called him to come back because of the river’s loud noise and cars driving over the overpass. He couldn’t see my hand signals either because he was out of view due to the concrete walls holding the overpass up. Plus he was chasing the duck. So, I watched on in agony as he struggled to get out of the current. Then, he went under, he came up, he went under…..I was frantically trying to get him to see me down stream because his only chance of getting out was to see my hand signal and come to me with the current while swimming diagonally. He went under again, and then again. When I had successfully maneuvered into his line of sight; he saw me. I waved the signal that I had for him to come to me. He finally started to ride the current toward me and swam diagonal when he got closer WHEW!!!! he made it out. He was exhausted and scared. shaky. I was relieved and wiser. Now, I NEVER leave him off leash unless he is in a dog park with friendly dogs or in an enclosed space or on my friends 500 acre secluded ranch (which has no river) I hope that these 2 examples help people understand that leashes are important. I also hope that you find some help with your dog issues. There are many utube videos of positive solutions. Seek and ye shall find. Happy trails and tails.
It also helps to teach your dog a specific set of behaviors to do when people come into your home so that he has fewer opportunities to alarm bark. Plus, when your dog performs his new behaviors and receives rewards, he’ll learn that people coming into his and your space is a good thing.
did you try putting a leash on him when he refused? carrying him seems pointless to me. also, you could try enticing with a treat or just get into a routine/bedtime ritual so that he knows a favorite special treat is waiting for him up stairs. He is male, is he neutered? If not it may be time to do that too. His male dominance may be kicking in hormonally and he is challenging you. And yes, we have to be smarter than them, and consistently more alpha (though I hate that term) I mean just be consistent and insistent that it is bed time. The out smarting part comes in with the positive reinforcement ritual at bedtime. Could it be that he needed another visit outside to potty?
Consider alternative arrangements. If your dog absolutely will not calm down in spite of training, or if your landlord or neighbors have expressed impatience with your dog’s need for training, you may need to consider alternative arrangements.
Before you can train your dog to go to a spot and stay there when a door opens, you’ll need to teach him how to sit or lie down and then how to stay. After your dog has learned these skills, you can progress to Step 2.
Teach your dog that when someone comes to the door or passes by your property, he’s permitted to bark until you say “Quiet.” Allow your dog to bark three to four times. Then say “Quiet.” Avoid shouting. Just say the command clearly and calmly. Then go to your dog, gently hold his muzzle closed with your hand and repeat “Quiet.” Release your dog’s muzzle, step away, and call him away from the door or window. Then ask your dog to sit and give him a treat. If he stays beside you and remains quiet, continue to give him frequent treats for the next few minutes, until whatever triggered his barking is gone. If your dog resumes barking right away, repeat the sequence above. Do the same outside if he barks at passersby when he’s in the yard.