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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need Help with 2 Issues

1. Barking
Pepper is not generally a yappy dog, but when my BF comes over, he barks like crazy at him. My BF can't get up from the couch or leave the room without the dog going nuts. If my BF even looks at him, Pepper barks. Its upsetting to my BF, who loves dogs to pieces and is taking this personally.

We've tried ignoring the dog until he calms down.

We've tried having me hold Pepper until he calms down, treating him all the way.

So far nothing has worked.

Funny thing is, that Pepper will climb on my BF's lap, and curl up and take a nap. So I know its not a fear thing on his part.

Any ideas?
2. Stairs
Pepper will run down the stairs behind me to the front door, but will cut me off at the bottom of the stairs. I've tried getting him to sit/stay at the top of the stairs, and treat him when he comes on command, but so far it hasn't worked.

Any ideas?​
 

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1. It is impossible to say fear is not a part without seeing your dog's body language. Being okay with the BF sitting down does not mean your dog does not experience fear when he moves around. Be cautious of making conclusions like this. My recommendation for treatment depends on the origin of the dog's behavior. If it is a fear situation, classical conditioning is one of my favorite approaches. If its obnoxious excitement, I remove the dog from the room (penalty steps). You may be best served by having a professional come to your home and actually see your dog's reaction.

3. Does he know how to walk in a heel position? If not teach that on flat ground. Then use a leash on the steps and have the dog heel down. I train my dogs to wait in place on cue...so 1/2 down the stairs I can have them wait and then release them when I'm in the ground. You can also carry him down the stairs.
 

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Jackie's (JMM) advice is always great.

My newest dog, Keiko, is a barker, and since we got her 5 months ago, she was slowly turning my quiet dog Nikki, into a barker too, yikes. So this is what I did. Every time they barked at the UPS man, or hubby coming home, or a noise outside, I got in front of them, got their attention - sort of blocking the noise/person from them, and used a "No Bark!" command, holding up my palms in a "stop" gesture. When they stopped barking, I counted to three, said "Good girl!" then rewarded them with treats, I guess it is redirecting their attention/excitement/fear from the disturbance/person to the food reward. I don't know if this is the best or professional way to do it, but it works for us. Now if they start to bark, I just say, "No bark!" and they stop. They still look for a treat, but sometimes their reward is simply a "Good girl!" praise.

So hang in there, with persistence and patience, I think you can train your dog not to bark, even though you might feel it it is hopeless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks everyone for the replies.

Pepper is a rescue, so his history is a bit uncertain. He will run up to some people (no barking) with no problem, but then again, there are some people it has taken him 6 months to even approach, and some he will bark at whenever he sees them. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for his choices - some are men, some are women, some tall, some short, some blond, some dark.

I would LOVE to have a professional (but which do I get? Trainer? Behaviorist?) come to the house for a session, but right now, money is an issue (when isn't it an issue?!?!). I'm hoping that after the Holidays, that I'll have some extra cash to be able to get someone here.

Jackie - can you elaborate on "classic conditioning"?

As far as the stairs are concerned, he only misbehaves when I'm bringing my lunch from the kitchen down to my office, so carrying him isn't an option. I manage to get him in a sit/stay until I'm about 3/4 of the way down the stairs. And after that, he just tears down the stairs - I assume because he thinks the food is for him and he doesn't want to miss a bite!
 

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Jackie's (JMM) advice is always great.

My newest dog, Keiko, is a barker, and since we got her 5 months ago, she was slowly turning my quiet dog Nikki, into a barker too, yikes. So this is what I did. Every time they barked at the UPS man, or hubby coming home, or a noise outside, I got in front of them, got their attention - sort of blocking the noise/person from them, and used a "No Bark!" command, holding up my palms in a "stop" gesture. When they stopped barking, I counted to three, said "Good girl!" then rewarded them with treats, I guess it is redirecting their attention/excitement/fear from the disturbance/person to the food reward. I don't know if this is the best or professional way to do it, but it works for us. Now if they start to bark, I just say, "No bark!" and they stop. They still look for a treat, but sometimes their reward is simply a "Good girl!" praise.

So hang in there, with persistence and patience, I think you can train your dog not to bark, even though you might feel it it is hopeless.
Thanks Suzan..I'm going to try this (we have a little barker here too).

Jackie- have you thought about maybe visiting China anytime soon??? boy would I love to have you come!! We have a guest room and a free tour guide ready for you!!! (Plus a little barker/ankle nipper) lol!
 

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I don't have a lot of advice for you because it seems as though you have gotten great advice from both jackie and suzan but I did want to tell you that I think Pepper is an adorable name!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Aww...thanks! Pepper came to me with that name, and I didn't want to change it. I figured he was probably confused enough as it was, what with being in a new house and all.

That said, he now answers to: Pepperoni, Face (because he has such a beautiful face), and Monkey (because he likes to climb onto the furniture.)

He is my heart.
 

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Here's a theoretical blip
Classical and Operant Conditioning

I use the analogy of open-bar, closed-bar. The food bar is open only when the stimulus is present, and closed if they are not. So the BF stands up, bar open. BF sits, bar closed. I use a very high value, stinky, smelly food treat that the dog ONLY gets for this specific tough situation.
 

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JMM,

What exactly is a "high value, smelly treat" to you? - I ask this in all honesty. Because when I take Barron to advance training classes, they always say "high-value-smelly-treat" I have asked for an example - and they have said "hot dogs" - I cannot conceive giving my fluffs a hot dog for any reason.
 

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The value of the treat depends on how the dog values it, not us. I have a list of rewards ranked by value for each dog. Hot dogs are often high value because of their smell. I very rarely use my highest valued rewards so that when I do they are even more highly coveted.
 
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