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Thank you!

I've had quite a few people send me messages lately wanting to know if you can really be successful with the interruption and incompatible behavior method for barking. So I thought I'd just make a post for everyone.

Case #1, unsocialized fearful dog
I adopted Jonathan when he was 18 months old. He had been very well loved by his breeder who was extremely ill. Jonathan was a beloved bed pet. Well, enter into a busy house with people coming and going all the time. Jonathan's reasonable response was to bark at and bite the ankles of any intruders. Again, in no way an aggressive dog, but just unsure of the situation. So, I took the doorbell cue and set him up. Ring door bell, go to kitchen, sit at counter, get cookies. Cue - doorbell, interupt "that'll do", incompatible behavior - different room, sit for cookies. Very successful. At that point we crated in the kitchen to let our guest in. We worked very slowly bringing the crate to the front door, being on a leash out of the crate, and now Jonathan can sit politely and quietly and let guests in the house. He is 11 years old now and Grammy's favorite.

Case #2, yapping herding dog
Sure, little dogs yap. Well this Aussie yapped in a high pitched, little dog yap for the wind blowing outside. If yu have ever seen a herding dog do something obsessively, this was classic. One of my favorite clients as they got really into modifying his behavior. We did the interupt, a clap so he'd look at you. And these clients tried a sit...barked through it...a down...barked through it...various trick...barked through it. Finally, we brainstormed using a toy! Well, sure enough, toy in mouth stopped the barking. They put "get the baby" on cue and could eventually clap or call his name for attention, and cue him to get this one particular special baby. Last I spoke with his owners, they said he'd sometimes bark a couple times, grab the toy and run to them knowing he'd get praise and attention.

Case #3, new puppy
We'll use Roo for this one! Roo was a barker at his breeder's house. We live in a townhouse so that's not an ok behavior. So we interupt with "eh" and then Roo would sort of grumble under his breath LOL Well we praised it! "Good quiet voice!" The biggest thing with him was hubby and I committing to do the same thing every time he barked CONSISTENTLY. Roo still would love to bark his fool head off, but he rarely does and is always easily controlled with an interuption or "Use your quiet voice/indoor voice." Of course, he also grumbles and growls and "talks" often! But we don't complain about that.

So yes, from a fearful dog to a crazy herding dog to a yappy puppy, the same principle elements WORK. And over time most dogs reduce the barking because it isn't rewarding any more. I wouldn't recommend it if it did not work and was not safe.


Thanks for this advise, our Bella is a barker (8 months old now) I have been trying to use the "quiet" interruption, my husband on the other hand wants to use "stop it" this seems to be the only command he uses. I'll have to show him your post and say "see, i'm not crazy"
I will ask this, at night when we are all three sound asleep Bella will jump up, bark, loud and crazy like. We think it's because she senses the deer in the back yard because she doesn't do it all the time. Any suggestions for this?
 

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This is awesome, my BF has expressed concern and having a pup bark all the time. I'll just show him this and it will be apart of her training. Although Shasta says she's very relaxed.


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Wow, great advice Jackie! I wish I had read this years ago. My maltese barked at the window all the time, and one day I had an epiphany (I was on the phone) and just called the dog to come to me. After that every time she barked I would just call her. She barked much less and when she did it was easily stopped. It seems so simple I should have done it years before but even after my husband saw me get her to stop just by calling for her, he wouldn't do it because it seemed like a "reward" for bad behavior instead of what it was a distraction toward better behavior. We had tried "claiming the window" and other techniques to no avail. Finally he started just calling her and things were much quieter and she didn't mind the yard so intensely for activity either. Thank you! I am going to keep this in mind for conditioning my next dog.
 

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I've started interrupting with "Quiet" and then giving her a treat when she stops or takes it to a low grumble. My roommates are telling me that she is going to start barking just to be told quiet and get a treat, so really I'm reinforcing the barking. Is this possible?
 
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