I have five dogs on the premises. Two of them are foster dogs. The other three are mine.
I love them all, but their barks are driving me CRAZY!
- Every time I open a back door, they bark.
- Every time I appear at a window, they bark.
- Every time I go outside for any reason, they bark.
- Every time a visitor arrives, they bark. Well, that one’s acceptable – I like to know there’s someone there before the doorbell rings.
- Every time the goat comes close, they bark.
- Every time I go out to feed them, they go into a frenzy.
It’s driving me crazy. My brother-in-law who lives next door is being driven crazy. I’m sure the neighbours are being driven crazy.
Oh, and the dogs bark at night and wake me up. When I get up to look, I can’t see anything.
My dogs barked before I started fostering other dogs, but the current fosters are making it much worse. I bought a (very expensive) Outdoor Bark Control device that emits an ultra high frequency sound in response to barking, and I think it had a favourable affect the first time I turned it on at night. One of my dogs crept up to me the next morning, so I think she heard the sound.
However, it’s making not one whit of difference when the dogs are barking from excitement. They not only bark, they chase each other up and down the dividing fence between the two pens, even though the gate is open between them, and even though they are with the other dogs 24 hours a day. When they chase each other, it’s impossible to get their attention, and the Outdoor Bark Control has no hope.
I asked the Rescue Lady if she had any ideas on how to reduce the barking. She gave me some suggestions.
So this morning I tried her advice. I got the dogs’ breakfast ready, and opened the back door. Took one step out, and they erupted.
I turned and went back inside. The dogs were puzzled. Where did she go?
I tried again. Same result, same consequence. The dogs thought this was weird behaviour.
Third time lucky? Nope.
The fourth time I managed to walk a few steps before the din started. Went back inside, checked my email.
Tried again. And again. And again.
Finally they were totally quiet when I was inside, but were watching the door closely.
Eventually I managed to feed the foster dog in the top pen. When I started to go towards the other four dogs, it started all over again. I stopped moving. Every time there was quiet, I moved forward. If chasing started, I went backwards.
One dog in particular kept looking at me. She twigged first. The others followed after a few times of advancing and retreating.
Finally I managed to get inside the pen. Of course, the usual fencing chasing started up. Now I don’t mind fence chasing, but I abhor the barking and growling and yipping that are part of it. I know it is pure excitement – there is no aggression – but the point is that THEY ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO ME.
Once the fence chasing and noise started, I moved to one side of the pen and just stood there. One of my dogs came up to me and sat in front of me. I offered her some food, and she took it from my hand. After a few moments of this, the foster dog came up and sat down. I gave her a handful and started to move towards the food bowls. That set her off again, and the fence chasing and noise started again.
To cut a long story short, the dogs eventually figured out that they were not going to be fed while they were noisy. It was bliss to feed four dogs in silence, but it took four times longer than usual to feed them.
- You have to be patient.
- You have to be consistent.
- It will take time for the new behaviour to stick.
- Maybe I have a chance to reduce the barking if I keep it up.
I’ll keep you posted.