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Old 11-27-2012, 03:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Name: Nora
Dog's Name: Cici
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Default Barking nightmare continues, desperate!

I haven't been very active in this forum for a while because I've been having a constant battle with Cici's behavior, and I really need to advice.

She just finished 6 weeks of private training at Petsmart JUST or her barking, and it has not gotten any better, I'm almost to a breaking point because it's a lot of stress dealing with this myself and having people on the street be rude.

She barks like crazy at dogs and people. She barks in an agressive manner, like if she wants to eat them whole, but of they get near her or she goes near them, she instantly starts wiggling and licking them (if it's a human) and wants to play. Wants to play with dogs too if she gets to smell them. It's like she has a double personality.

At petsmart she made a little progress but ONLY inside the store. By the last week she would go in the store (without many people) but she would be crying the whole time until we got to the back of the store where there's no people. But as soon as someone got close she would lunge and bark her head off. Before beginning the class I showed them her problem and asked if the class would really help her to stop, and they said yes. But that's not what happened. They used the desensitizing method, I thought it was great but it seems to not work with her.

Inside the house her barking is controlled when she hears noises because I am able to tell her to be quiet and reward her. But outside (or when we have company over), she closes out the whole world except what she's barking at. She won't look or listen to me, and she doesn't care about any type of treats/food even the kind she would usually go crazy for. Or if I do get her to eat it, she's eating it with so much tension and energy that my fingers hurt, she just gets out of threshold.

She has never bitten anyone or any dog.

I don't understand how this happened. When she was a puppy she was always meeting people, and she was also in puppy school, she always did so great.

My theory is that she was scared by dogs and it might have caused this behavior. The last week of puppy school a Rottweiler puppy wanted to play with her but she was scared to death (her tail was down and she was running away) the teacher told me to leave her because it was play time, well he pawed her and she yelped and ran to me and she was shaking. Weeks later one day I was with her on out front yard, she was on leash and taking a potty break, then out of nowhere an adult rottweiler form my neighbors home comes (off leash unsupervised) and starts chasing Cici, but he wasn't growling or barking, just trying to sort of stomp on her like a mouse. I was so scared and grabbed her as fast as I could, she was scared too.

Since then it has just kept escalating.

I'm with her 5 days a week the whole day, the other two days just for 4 hours because I have classes. So we get to train a lot, and I have been working on desensitizing for three months now or more. I haven't seen noticeable results, it's still very stressing.

Sometimes I need to go to the local pet store to get her food or potty pads and I have to take her because I don't have anyone to watch her, and now I dont feel very welcomed to the store. It's understandable they don't like her barking, but it still makes me feel bad. She always wants to get petted so she used to go in, get petted and be calm. But now she goes in and doesn't get petted then she barks aggressively and it's downhill from there. I always give her treats while going in, but she just doesn't care about me or the treats when we go in.

My BF is upset because we've already spent $300 just in training and we've made no progress, we kind of feel "ripped off" because they should have told us truthfully theyre not capable of helping.

At this point we can't afford anymore classes for training.

I need advice! What other methods I should try.. Is it just because she's a puppy and can't control her energy yet? Should I not take her out anymore just so there's no barking and she doesn't make a habit out of it?

SORRY for such a long post!

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Old 11-27-2012, 09:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm sorry your having these issues. Maybe try a private prof (familiar with Maltese--this is important IMO) trainer to evaluate Cici. AND I would tell the neighbors to leash the dog. He can kill her if he catches her. I know how scared you were!! My Sammie was grabbed by an unleashed lab when he was 9 mo old and I just barely saved him by yanking him out of labs mouth by his harness. If they don't leash the dog I wouldn't take her outside where he chase her. This is a bad situation. both interactions with the dogs may have affected Cici. Sounds like fear aggression to me. There are a lot of unqualified people working in the training facs. They have no education or expert skills with Maltese. I've seen it in my area often with trainers and vets. I was told the results are only as good as the trainers knowledge of the breed.
Good luck. And keep us posted.

Last edited by SammieMom; 11-27-2012 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I can totally understand your dilemma and can understand why CiCi has trust issues. I don't know what the answer is but this is something that will take time and patience so that she overcomes her fears. There are herbal things you can give and something I ordered but have not tried is Bach's Rescue Remedy. It is something you either put in the food or water. It's suppose to relieve anxiety. It may be worth a try in the meantime so that she can regain trust in other dogs. I wish you is hard to break some habits so quickly and it will take time.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Here are some threads that may help until you can find a trainer to help.

What is a Reactive Dog?

Cadeau's Reactive Rover Camp
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I couldn't even manage to read through your entire post. I just kept seeing Petsmart...and that was a little too much. I am sorry, but I would never even enter that I would never put any small bit of confidence in what they suggested. Get out of there, forget everything they said, and start fresh with somebody who actually has some knowledge. Pet Smart is just a mega store that just sucks the life out of people and their pets. Excuse me, I know that it is just my opinion. I just think that they are profiteers who pretend to be pet friendly, when their only concern is raking in the $$$$ . I would never, ever shop there.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I went thru a similar situation with Boomer. Anytime someone came in the house he would bark and it would escalate till I couldn't get his attention he would be completely out of control. I was so upset cause I wanted everyone to see what a sweet little guy he was. He would bark uncontrollable at neighbors and dogs on the back deck, I couldn't enjoy sitting out with him.

I waited a long time to get him and wanted to take him every where with me, but it became almost impossible. I went thru two training classes at different places with different trainers. I realized it wasn't going to work, I talked to the last trainer a few weeks before classes ended about my concerns. I could not believe my ears when she told me to get a small dog bark collar. The thought of it made me sick, I thought no way.

Well I began my search again for another trainer one that would come to the house. I also started researching bark collars, read good and bad reviews. I looked at a few at the pet store I wanted a demonstration but they couldn't do that. Don't judge me but I did purchase a small dog citronella collar, with the intent I could take it back if I changed my mind.

I was so afraid it would scare him so badly he would never be the same. After much thought and feeling like a bad mommy I tried it out. I was lucky it worked after a few little sprays and no more barking. A couple came over that night who he had barked uncontrollable at before, and he was an angel playing ball with them and getting in their lap. I think his barking would escalate to a point of no return, that doesn't happen now. He has figured out when it's on not to bark, he was only sprayed a couple of times.

I only use it if I know someone is coming over, and then take it off after I see he's calm. I know this is not the answer for everybody but I was at the end of my rope and wasn't getting anywhere.

Good luck, I know how upsetting it is to go thru this behavior hope you find the right answer to your problem.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I agree with everyone: Get away from Petsmart and find somewhere else.

I'd recommend finding a trainer through your local ASPCA or perhaps even an agility trainer who can help give Cici an outlet for her barking.... Agility or rally is great for building a dog's confidence and it sounds like Cici needs some.

Poor thing I'm so sorry she was scared so badly by big dogs!

Another idea would be to find a daycare that separates the dogs by size.... take her a few times a week. It really helps socialize and desensitize the barking.

But she definitely needs something other than Petsmart.

Since Cici is a puppy I'd discourage jumping to something like a bark collar...

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Old 11-28-2012, 12:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I can't help because Lucy has similar problems. I do know she gets a little better after she has had a lot of off-leash playtime with other dogs HER OWN SIZE, so that might help.
What I really wanted to say is that if your neighbors don't start leashing their Rottweiler, I would call animal control and/or the police. They HAVE to leash their dog, any dog, but especially a breed like a Rottie. Geesh. Seriously, I would get very assertive with the neighbors. Lucy has issues with other dogs, and sometimes people leave their dog off-leash and when one runs up to us and the owner says something like "don't worry he's friendly" I ALWAYS tell them that my dog is not that friendly and they need to put theirs on a leash. I don't care if they think I'm a old biddy. Leash laws are there for a REASON.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Lol Maggieh recommended a trainer from petsmart to me.... :hystericalsmiley:

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Old 11-28-2012, 06:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by CorkieYorkie View Post
Lol Maggieh recommended a trainer from petsmart to me.... :hystericalsmiley:

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Folks, it's not PetSmart, it's the trainer! Find someone who has been professionally trained and certified as a positive reinforcement trainer (like the one I recommended to Courtney) and not one who has only been through a "store" training class. You will want one who has experience with reactive dogs and knows how to handle those situations. You also want one who uses positive reinforcement, not prong collars or bark devices or other torture methods.

Good luck!
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