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Posts: 2
Registered: ‎09-28-2007
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A Barker in the House! Help!

Cesar, We have a 8 yr old Australian Shepard that Barks at any noise he hears, if it's someone at the door or even if it's me in the kitchen. We adopted him when he was 5 so I thought he'd be used to our household by now. Can you help? We're getting ready to move out of state and if we can't get his barking under control my husband wants to find another home for him...I'm worried another home would just have the same issues!

Thanks for all your hard work...It's nice to see someone that takes these wonderfully loving creatures into consideration!
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎09-11-2007
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Re: A Barker in the House! Help!

Of course I can't diagnose your dog over the internet, but see my message about barking in general.
Good luck!

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Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: A Barker in the House! Help!

Hi, Usand4! I have an 8-yo Australian Shepherd/Collie mix, that we adopted two years ago. As Cesar mentioned in his post about barking in general, it is in a dog's nature to sound an alarm when anything/anyone approaches his territory. We also live in an apartment complex, and when we first brought Mindy home (she had been a country dog) she would bark at every sound -- cars coming and going from the parking lot, children's voices as they played outside, people walking by our back gate, and, of course, everyone who came to the door. One way we dealt with this was that every time she began to bark (for example, if she heard a car or motorcycle in the parking lot), I would tell her "Good girl for letting Mama know," then I would get up and go AHEAD of her to the back door and check it out. Then I would turn back to her and say, "It's okay. It's just a car/motorcycle/people walking by (or whatever it was)" then tell her to come to me and distract her by playing w/her or grooming her. First, she saw that I was in charge and would take care of whatever needed to be taken care of. Second, she learned to tell the difference between when to alert us and when it was just a normal sound. Third, she wasn't scolded or punished for a natural behavior, so she didn't become anxious.

I also taught her to use her "indoor voice" by mimicking a soft "woof," saying "indoor voice," and giving her a treat when she "got it." Now, the only time she barks out loud is when the UPS truck comes (she has a two-bark UPS alarm -- just enough to let us know it's there) or when someone comes to the door...but again, just enough to alert us that someone is there. She doesn't continue barking because she knows she has done her job in letting us know, and that we'll deal with it.

Occasionally, she will "forget" and bark if she hears a new sound; so I taught her "Shush" by saying "Shush" while holding my finger perpendicular to my mouth like you'd say "shhhh" to a child. The first time I said it (I didn't yell it, but said it in an authoritative voice), it startled her and she stopped barking. I immediately praised her and said, "Good shush!!" and gave her a treat. It didn't take long for her to learn what "shush" meant and what was expected of her.

If someone comes to the door that we know, we tell Mindy, "It's okay...they're supposed to be here," in a matter-of-fact tone. She caught on very quickly.

Aussie's are very intelligent, and if you're patient and don't raise your voice (the equivalent of you joining in on the barking), try not to let your frustration show, and remain calm and confident, I'm sure your dog will learn what you want from him.*S*
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