|Barked: Mon Dec 14, '09 2:05pm PST |
|Phoebe was like this when I first got her, and to a certain extent still is, although it's about 90% better than it used to be. Literally when I would come home at night and she would be in her kennel she would hear me pull up in the driveway and set off such a racket that it sounded like she was being scalped! Additionally, in just about any situation if she gets too excited, her "default" is to start barking hysterically. Start-line stays in agility were a huge challenge, for example. Basically, what I have found is that it is all in the way I respond. If I am calm, I can bring her under control very quickly with just a glance at her and a finger to my lips. If I'm uptight, edgy, impatient, etc. - her behavior escalates. What I had to learn to do, therefore, was just to stay calm, wait for the barking to abate, and then reward her immediately.
The behavior is always the worst when I just come home, so especially if I have had a bad day I take a moment to sit in my car and compose myself. And about three times a week, I come in the door armed with a high value treat. Nothing brings her under control more quickly than seeing Tucker or the foster boy getting their treats for sitting quietly before she gets hers. One thing about her is that she likes to "nail it." She likes to be first, best, etc. Not necessarily characteristic of her breed, which tends to be stuborn and somewhat of a challenge to train, but there you go. Sometimes I'll break the treat into two pieces rather than three, and the first two to give me what I'm looking for get the treat and the last one to comply gets nothing. Boy, does that tick her off if she doesn't get her payoff.
Anyway - I think the others have had good suggestions - maybe treats are too high value and are getting the dog too excited, maybe he is not getting enough food (or enough of the right type of food) to suit his needs and is constantly in hunger mode, or perhaps you just need to slow down your own energy and have the patience to wait him out until he settles down, so that you have the opportunity to reward the behavior you DO want.
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