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Old 05-15-2009, 01:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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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.
JMM - JaMi Maltese, Home to Performance Maltese
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Old 05-15-2009, 08:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for taking the time to do this Jackie, its much appreciated!

You have given me some excellent reading recommendations in the past, any chance you can spare a few more minutes & share some book titles/authors with us?

Jacqui, Harley & Dakota

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Old 05-15-2009, 08:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks so much for sharing. Truly do appreciate.
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Great advice.... thank you so much. I've pinned it.

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Old 05-16-2009, 01:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Very informative, as usual - Thanks, Jackie!!
Dorothy & Bonbon</span>
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Old 05-16-2009, 01:33 AM   #6 (permalink)
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-Chrisman's Sir Mucho Moxie CDX RN RL1 -

In Memory of my beloved Mogie: October 15, 1994-October 15, 2007
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Old 05-17-2009, 05:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Jackie, you're the best.

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Old 05-17-2009, 07:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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great and informative texts. thank you for them.

I must say it does work and you should never give up if you have a dog that barks and this is disturbing in any sort of way.

I practiced with heini in the beginning, it took a few days, and he was fine.

when we moved to another house, there were different sounds, differnet noises, so he started again, I went on practicing.

now he grumbles and mumbles sometimes when there are things going on in the hallway or loud neighbours are in the house walking past the front door.
I never forbid him to make his little grumble, because they are not siturbing at all and he needs to be able to 'say' something now and then too

maybe a dog barking in the park quite far away but still to hear, and he gives his little bark towards it. but alltogether...I really have to say....heini barks so rarely, that I really frighten and jump up ...when he then does it.

never give up working and communicating with your dog.

heini & schnuppe ♥

♥ paula, thank you for that angel which is watching over us from now on till ever ♥
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Old 05-17-2009, 04:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Excellent post! Diesel wavers between barking and doing a low ruff warning that someone's at the door. I am definitely going to try this over the next few days to see if we can get him to do low ruffs only...

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Old 05-22-2009, 05:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks so much for posting this, Jackie.

My Sophie sounds just like Case #3. She's definitely a grumbler. Whenever she barks, and I tell her to be quiet, she grumbles under her breath, just like Roo, LOL! I didn't know whether or not I should praise her grumbling because I wasn't sure if the behavior was acceptable or not, so I'd only praise her when she stopped barking entirely, which wouldn't be for a long while (she grumbles a LOT).

I really need to work on stopping Joshua's incessant barking when someone comes over, or when the doorbell rings. He has such a high-pitched bark, I swear it's like nails to a chalkboard.
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