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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I literally am at a loss. I started with a puppy that only barked when she got overly excited from playing to one that barks at EVERYTHING. :smpullhair:She barks when she wants attention, when she hears ANY sound outside, or whenever anyone walks in, and she is IMPOSSIBLE to stop once she gets started. And I don't mean one or two barks, she goes and goes, long past when the stimulus is gone. I don't know where this is coming from, she never barked when people walked in or when there were sounds outside before...maybe part of the hormones kicking in?

Anyway, I've tried lots of praise when she is quiet. Telling her calmly, quietly 'shhh' or 'quiet' when she starts barking. When she barks for attention I turn my back until she is quiet, then I make her do a sit or something before I'll pick her up. She really doesn't eat treats (barely eats her regular food, despite trying several kinds..), so treating for quiet doesn't really work either. I am so upset and frustrated. With the exception of this, I am so happy with her personality and temperament, but it's getting to the point where I can't stand it anymore. The shrill, incessant barking is too much. It was one of my biggest fears in getting a maltese but I thought I could train her out of it. :bysmilie:

Any ideas on how I can try to make this better? I feel like I've tried most of the things I've read online for barking problems and she just isn't getting it. In the past few days it's actually been getting worse rather than better. :smmadder:

:smhelp:
 

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I totally understand your frustration!! :blush:

After Poppy had his upset tummy last week, he now thinks if he barks at night, he will be let out of his crate. We haven't had a lot of great sleep this last week. My poor hubby works a lot of hours, and I hate that the barking is annoying, but I know the only way to get him to stop is to let him wear himself out ... unfortunately, that is taking way too long right now as he pushes his boundries.

Last night it took me from 10:30 until almost 1:00 listening to his barking off and on ... so yes, I am feeling your pain.

Aside from that, here's what I'm doing. When Poppy is in the kitchen, and I leave, he starts barking. I do not come back into the room until he is quiet, and I say 'good quiet.' If he starts barking at me for attention, I turn my back to him ... if he still barks, I leave the room, and do not return until he is quiet.

We had a few weeks where that wasn't working, and I would give him a warning, by saying 'quiet or time out'. On second warning saying those exact words, if he still barked at me, I took him back (in our bedroom) and put him in his crate for 5 minutes. After doing that a few times, he stopped barking at us.

I'm just now starting to take him out and about, so I don't have a clue how to deal with him barking at things and people yet ... I'm looking forward to that. :HistericalSmiley:

HUGz! Jules
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Can you be more specific about what you tried in what situations? For how long? Specific results?
I was hoping you'd see this thread. Here's what I've got so far:

She just began barking like this last week. Around Thursday, I think. But, as I said, it's all day long. We live in an apartment building type situation, we're on the first floor, sort of near the door. So, she hears someone keying in their code to enter, she barks, elevator runs, she barks, footsteps, she barks. God forbid someone actually comes to our door (even my boyfriend)..then she's on a rampage. She'll even bark first thing in the morning while we're still asleep if she hears anything.

With the barking for attention, I turn my back and ignore her until she's quiet for a few seconds. Then I turn around and praise her and give her the attention she wanted. If she is really too riled up and can't calm down, I give her a toy and she goes in her crate for 1 or 2 minutes until she settles. I don't say anything, I just pick her up and place her in there. She calms right down after that, and it doesn't seem to have affected her liking the crate. She still goes in there on her own. That's worked fairly well, so no complaints there.

The big problem is when she barks at noises outside. As soon as I hear a trigger noise, that i'm pretty sure she'll bark at, if she hasn't barked yet I tell her 'good quiet'. if she started barking, i say 'ah ah..quiet' (the ah ah in a more stern, loudish way to get her attention and the quiet in a slow, calm way). this sometimes quiets her down to a low growl for a second or two before she breaks out in the barking again. she'll usually continue to bark until the footsteps are gone, elevator is done running, etc. This is my biggest gripe, because I can't stand being around it all day. Plus, it pretty much eliminates my chances of being able to rent anywhere where loud, obnoxious barking 24/7 is not going to be welcomed.

She also barks at strangers for attention, and it's very difficult to train her out of that because they obviously pay attention to her regardless. I suppose I could pick her up or move her away until she 'settles' but it just doesn't seem practical. There are so many people...

So, primarily i'm looking for tips to quiet her down in the house when she is barking for no good reason. By the way, she's 6 months old now and I've had her for a little over 7 weeks, with this problem just arising within the last 4-5 days.
 

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I know some people will disagree with me but I'll share what I did and it has worked on 2 malts.

When barking I took my index finger and thumb and gently closed the mouth. Then said no barking.

The only time Rylee will bark is when someone comes to the door and my lovely teen boys say who's there. Then they tell her good job.:tumbleweed:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I totally understand your frustration!! :blush:

After Poppy had his upset tummy last week, he now thinks if he barks at night, he will be let out of his crate. We haven't had a lot of great sleep this last week. My poor hubby works a lot of hours, and I hate that the barking is annoying, but I know the only way to get him to stop is to let him wear himself out ... unfortunately, that is taking way too long right now as he pushes his boundries.

Last night it took me from 10:30 until almost 1:00 listening to his barking off and on ... so yes, I am feeling your pain.

Aside from that, here's what I'm doing. When Poppy is in the kitchen, and I leave, he starts barking. I do not come back into the room until he is quiet, and I say 'good quiet.' If he starts barking at me for attention, I turn my back to him ... if he still barks, I leave the room, and do not return until he is quiet.

We had a few weeks where that wasn't working, and I would give him a warning, by saying 'quiet or time out'. On second warning saying those exact words, if he still barked at me, I took him back (in our bedroom) and put him in his crate for 5 minutes. After doing that a few times, he stopped barking at us.

I'm just now starting to take him out and about, so I don't have a clue how to deal with him barking at things and people yet ... I'm looking forward to that. :HistericalSmiley:

HUGz! Jules
Yikes...so you're with me then! It becomes so hard to handle at a certain point (by 1am I'm sure you're there! lol). I feel bad, but I get so frustrated with her that I feel like I have to remove myself from the situation. I really thought I got away with having a pup that wasn't super reactive. Now look at me...She had a big barking episode not too long ago and I have not been able to bring myself to play with her or really give her attention since. Obviously she'll survive..i've been spending time with her all day..but I just feel like I'm almost being spiteful. This is definitely a true test of patience....
 

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Since you can't remove the situation from her, I would remove her from the situation. As soon as she starts, grab up her leash and walk her to her crate. I place the crate in the furthest away place possible (in our home its out bedroom). Shut the door and leave the room. This will get really old to you fast, but you have to be 100% consistent. If she gets away with it, she is self rewarding. A behavior that is intermittently rewarded will be very strong. Consistency is key.
You can give a warning cue. In my house its usually 2 barks and then my warning cue. Dogs bark...but living in a rental they have to stop.
An important thing to understand is the concept of self reward. Your dog starts barking when she hears something. She continues until it goes away. In her mind, her barking made it go away. It was successful. Why wouldn't she keep doing it?
I would also be proactive. Get your SO to come to the door repeatedly setting her up to bark. Each time, remove her. When she is finally quiet, he can open the door and provide her favorite toy.
All dogs are motivated by something. It is up to you to discover what food, toys, and games are rewarding to your dog. As you find things, rank them on a list. You can use the highest ranking rewards for the toughest behavior (ie favorite toy for being quiet).
The stranger thing is something you will have to be strong on. "You can only pet my dog if she sits quietly." Set her up with a few people. Walk towards them. The second she starts in turn around and walk away. You must ensure the barking never works for her.
I have a dog who will jump and nip and bark (because someone cough cough hubby cough cough thinks its fun). He must stay in a sit or down (whichever I ask) or he gets NOTHING. And yes, that means I tell people they cannot pet him.

Barkers often benefit from extra mental stimulation. Hide and seek, tug, training, food toys, walking, etc. will all help tire your dog. I think many people underestimate the amount of physical and mental activity small dogs need. A tired dog is less likely to be overstimulated by their environment.
 

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Also, what is your daily schedule like? Is she getting a good amount of downtime without interacting with you? Pups like kids can get overstimulated and act up. Make sure she has a few hours or downtime in her crate morning and afternoon.
 

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Ashley, I normally don't like to reply to things like this b/c I feel others have more expertise in these areas but I am seriously feeling your pain and want to share with you what I did. I thought I'd go insane from all the barking too. I have a lot of windows and doors that Romo can see out of. So anytime he sees cars, people jogging, dogs walking by the barking starts and is non stop. All day all the time, OMG I thought I'd go nuts! I spoke to some friends and also pm'd Jackie (JMM) and they gave me some great advice. Unfortuneatly it didn't work so I had to go a different route. I admit I didn't believe in it or like it at all, I thought it was cruel IMO. I have heard of this technique possibly from others on here but again didn't like this idea. i finally spoke to a petsmart trainer and she reinforced this technique and assured me it is not cruel and does not harm our dogs.

What is this technique? LOL. OK, the first sign of barking use a water spray bottle and squirt at her then immediately call her over, ask her to "sit" (down any command) then reward her with a treat. This way she will understand she is being rewarded for something she just did for you (not for the barking). I just started this today and guess what??? It's working! Now as soon as he starts his first bark he looks at me and stops and comes to me!!! I am shocked! I will warn you that the trainer said this technique along with any others depends on the dog and their personalities. So what works for me may not for you. Ask Jackie/JMM for her technique b/c I did like her suggestion before this one and do prefer it. :)

Btw, the only way the trainer got me to do this spray bottle was b/c she made me look at it differently. When I told her I felt it was cruel she said lightly, "It's not mean. When you squirt him he will be like "Hey, what are you doing?" it's a distraction, that's all. So only after when I realized we are not hurting him I tried it. I am glad I did. Good luck whatever you do! Let me know if it works! :)
 

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Yikes...so you're with me then! It becomes so hard to handle at a certain point (by 1am I'm sure you're there! lol). I feel bad, but I get so frustrated with her that I feel like I have to remove myself from the situation. I really thought I got away with having a pup that wasn't super reactive. Now look at me...She had a big barking episode not too long ago and I have not been able to bring myself to play with her or really give her attention since. Obviously she'll survive..i've been spending time with her all day..but I just feel like I'm almost being spiteful. This is definitely a true test of patience....
Your honesty really touches my heart. Most people have felt that way at one time or another, yet would not admit it. :thumbsup:

Poppy has gotten so weird with his feet being brushed, and I remember last week taking him off the table and sitting him on the floor, and saying "Fine then, just go around with your feet all matted!!" Of course Poppy just 'gave me the paw' and said "Cool!" :HistericalSmiley:

I tried the water bottle thing on the barking for a few days, but he was always sopping wet, and then trying to dry him was just another battle. I have been doing things as JMM says to do, and feel like we are making progress ... except the night time thing. That's going to take a few days ... if hubby doesn't move out first.

Just know you are not alone!! No matter what anyone says, we have these things we go through with our kids. I really don't know how I raised Cita and Duke back when I worked full-time ... Poppy is a full-time job!!

HUGz! Jules
 

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Jules,
I see you tried the water bottle thing for a few days but you say he was always sopping wet. LOL. I don't really squirt him much if "any" at all. It only was an accident of "not" spraying him (you know how when you squeeze you get air but makes that funny gurgling noise) but I found that even just me walking towards him with the little spray bottle in hand made him look at me and stop barking immediately. I honestly will say think he got wet maybe a handful of times the very first time we tried this technique. I would say to be sure it is at it's very lightest setting so she/he is not sopping wet. LOL. Even tonight it's been like this...he sits at his favorite spot (top of sofa) looks out the door's window and instead of barking at the lights of cars driving by he is sitting there but the sound of a grumble with a quiet "ruff" from him as he watches the cars go by! It's truly unbelievable to me. Then of course he looks over at me. :aktion033:
 

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The spray bottle works only if a dog views being sprayed as an aversive (they dislike it). It is important to be sure your dog's personality can handle the aversive. One reason I don't recommend it online is because I don't know anyone's dog and I don't know if they'll ignore it, be ok, or become scared of every spray bottle (good luck grooming LOL - yes, I've seen it happen). Any anxiety-related barking should NEVER be treated with an aversive.
Most dogs are wise to the spray bottle - you have to have it to get them to stop, no spray bottle, no deal. If you are going to use it I would always give a warning word before the spray. Hopefully, the dog will come to associate the warning with the spray bottle and you will be able to use it anytime, anywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wow, thanks everyone for the suggestions. I feel like there are actually some courses of action I can take now, which makes me feel much less helpless and overwhelmed. :smheat:

A few questions:

Jackie, when I take her out of the room and put her in the crate, how long should I leave her in? Just until she is quiet or for a few minutes? I should do this anytime she barks, including when we're asleep? Just want to clarify..

As for my schedule, on M/W she is home alone from 11-4. Other than that, only here and there when we go grocery shopping or the like. I feel sort of guilty leaving her when it's just as easy to bring her with me most places. I guess I need to start letting her have more 'nap times' though. Especially if it's going to positively impact her behavior. I'm willing to do whatever it takes.

Also, you mentioned not using an aversive for anxiety barking. What Leila is doing isn't anxiety, is it? I sort of feel like she just thinks she is 'protecting' us.

One of my concerns with the squirt bottle is that I don't really want her to associate water with any sort of punishment. She already isn't thrilled about baths, especially face baths, so I don't want to make my job any harder. Of course, if nothing else works, I'm sure I'll try it.


I just sent boyfriend out to knock on the door, make some noises, etc, and of course, Leila didn't make a peep. Then I went out and did the same...no noise. I swear, she's trying to make me crazy! Boyfriend tried "reassured" me by telling me he's sure I'll have lots of opportunities tomorrow...geee thanks! :thumbsup: They always know what to say, huh?
 

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I just sent boyfriend out to knock on the door, make some noises, etc, and of course, Leila didn't make a peep. Then I went out and did the same...no noise. I swear, she's trying to make me crazy! Boyfriend tried "reassured" me by telling me he's sure I'll have lots of opportunities tomorrow...geee thanks! :thumbsup: They always know what to say, huh?
:thumbsup: :HistericalSmiley:

If we get up early I will sometimes put Poppy down for a nap (in his crate back in our bedroom) for an hour in the morning. I then get him up for some play time, etc. Then depending on what appointments I might have or errands to run, I put him down for his afternoon nap around 2:00 and then get him up between 4:00 and 4:30. Most days he just has his afternoon naps in the crate though, and he naps off and on in the kitchen in the mornings.

I feel that this covers a few things ... knowing he is okay to stay in his crate when I'm not here (or even if I am and he doesn't know it), and it gives me time to run errands, or just to put on a little makeup and look human. :blush:

Regarding the squirt bottle, I always have to have one around because of my cat. He's a major trouble maker, so I am always squirting him. But, he is fast and 14 pounds, so this ain't no little pansy squirt bottle. It has good aim, and shoots far. Think along the lines of a killer squirt gun. :w00t:

HUGz! Jules
 

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LOL It kills me when they KNOW we're setting them up.

I'm not saying don't take her out with you...its good for her to be out and about. But I think scheduled down time each day will force her to take a solid rest.

If my dog shuts up as soon as I put them up, then I set a timer for 2 minutes. If they don't, I don't start my timer until they shut up. My dogs really hate this and learn to shut their traps fairly quickly. I have had clients who were smart and noticed their dogs would be quiet but were fussing. They didn't start the time until the dog was calm.

I do want to bring up the point that dogs bark...they're wired to. But, when we live in rentals/close quarters, what we are after is CONTROL of the barking, not complete cessation. We want our dogs to stop when asked. I allow my dogs a few barks and then end it. I want them to alert me. When we're at another house, I let my dogs yap if they please outside at reasonable hours.

BTW, if you can get your dog's attention when they are barking there is a pinned thread about ending unwanted behavior by asking for an incompatible behavior. This is a great method if you can gain your dog's attention with a simple verbal interruption or clap.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I agree. I don't expect her to stop barking entirely. I don't mind at all when she does her little gruffs and growls. It's just the ear-splitting shrieks that send chills up my spine that I can't stand. If I can get those down to a minimum I'll be thrilled.

I'll work on more down time, too. I have no doubt that that'll be good for her.

I'll be consistent with the crate thing and see if I can get results that way. One way or another I'll post an update here in a few days. Hopefully I'll have good news! Thanks again everyone :)
 

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Good luck. It is a really really stressful thing, not only does the barking irritate us but the feeling nervous and upset by the chance of annoying our neighbours is stressful too.

We were just living in a house with 3 acres, and was very very quiet, every little noise upset Lola, even things moved in different places she would bark at. Not all the time, I have found she has days where she seems more anxious and reactive and others where she is fine. (hopefully Leila is going through a bit of a phase) has to be nipped in the bud though.

I have found with Lola, she reacted somewhat to the spray bottle, so that we only had to show her it. Then distract and treat her when she was quiet. I wasn't happy using it for the obvious grooming necessities though. Now I jump straight up, if she starts to bark, pref. before she starts and looks like she might. Look straight at her and say no bark. She gives little grunts and complaints but no loud barking if I catch her, which she gets a treat for. If she full out barks and is a bit worked up before I have managed to get to her then she goes straight to her crate after a no bark warning. She is getting a lot better. I still have to deal with it straight away though before she gets worked up, she still has annoying days where every little noise worries her, but I have found that the mental stimulation and going for a walk relaxes her. Or like a little child she can be overstimulated and just needs to go to bed. We have just moved to another city and are moving into a condo, so she really can't be barking.
 

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Have always had that problem and seemed there was no relief :w00t:!!!!

We have a Westie as a foster right now and Bob was reading about training these energetic terriers. One thing it said to do was to react to unwanted behavior by getting down in front of them, taking hold of their cheek hair tufts and say "NO". Not hurt them but take charge attitude as terriers need to own everyone if they can. Sure works, get Lola's attention and I can turn her attention to better behavior.

Ozzy was barking his little self silly yesterday and I got down in front of him, took hold of his mustache and said "No bark"!!!!! Well the look I got..:blink:!!!
He turned his back to me and punished me by going into his bed and not saying a word. I got him a treat and praised him for being quiet.
Don't know if I could do that again to him, I did it gently, but I still felt bad!
 

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Jackie and everyone, thank you so much for all of this wonderful advice. I do not have incessive barking, however, I do have situational barking. Some of it, I have been able to redirect, but this situation I would LOVE to fix.

When hubby and I are not home, Mia and Leo have a full size bedroom. Bless their little hearts, when it's time for us to leave, all I have to say is "Room?" and very happily they go into their room. They sit and wait for a treat. Hubby puts up the babygate, so they are safe in their room. We go downstairs, gather last minute things, all remains perfectly quiet. The kids are happy. There is everything imaginable for them in their room, beds, toys, water, carpeted. They are safe.

Upon arriving home OMG! The moment they hear us pull up, there they go, like a duo. Mommy's home!!! Daddy's home!!!!! Bark Bark Bark. I race upstairs, and there they are, spinning, twirling, barking MOOOOOOOOMY!!! (Leo, moreso the twirler and spinner) I am SO scared they are going to hurt themselves. I quick reach over, grab Leo ( I don't let him go downstairs now with his LP issue), undo the baby gate and out comes Mia. I carry Leo down, Mia is racing down, the whole time, they are barking, like they are telling me about how their day went. They are just so over excited. It takes me about 5 minutes or so, to get them in a calm state. For the rest of the time we are home, they are fine.

How in the world do I correct this behavior if it starts the moment they hear we are home, even before we enter the door :(. I haven't tried not getting them until they stop, as I am afraid they will hurt themselves (from all the spinning and twirling). Do I go up, look in on them, tell them "shhh", and then walk away, and do not get them until they are quiet?

Thanks so much.
 

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I just want to add some encouragement to all of you with this problem. Stick with it ! there will be success, just be consistent. I was able to get a Sheltie to stop nuisance barking and let me tell you thats a feat!

Luckily, our Maltese are some of the quieter dogs or maybe they learned it from my interactions with Katie. A few barks are okay (thank you for letting me know that someones here), now be quiet.
My oldest Maltese (Emma) bark at dogs on TV and when told to stop , she "woofs" very quietly under their breath...... its sort of funny. Like she has to get the last woof in.

Anyway, I sure hope you are successful in short order. Don't give up.
 
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