Walk until your- paws drop off
|Barked: Wed Feb 6, '13 12:12pm PST |
|A little while ago, I posted about a dog who's staying with us, Blue, and his manners regarding our new cat. This is copied and pasted from the first post:
"At the moment, my fiancee's parents dog is staying with us. He's an older dog, though they've only had him for about two years, and he came with many bad habits(stealing food, constant barking, occasional nipping, never listens, etc.) and they're fed up with his bad behavior. My fiancee's mother wants to get rid of him, but his father is convinced that Blue should just be put down, as he's old and with so many undesirable traits, he doesn't think Blue would be able to find a home. To keep this from happening, we're working on teaching him some better manners. Blue's progress is slow, but he's old, somewhere around 12, so we're trying to be patient."
His training is going fairly well, he and the cat are getting along better now, and he's making great progress from the bratty, anxious dog that he was into a calmer and I think happier dog now. There's just one thing we can't seem to get a handle on: his barking. I've had beagles before, and those little guys can be stubborn barkers, but Blue takes the cake. He barks at everything- a passing vehicle, a person out the window, an animal in the yard, animals on TV(a cute quirk at first, but it's become rather obnoxious-we watch a lot of Animal Planet), people who are trying to talk to each other, a person who's trying to talk on the phone, and occasionally, it seems, nothing at all. I'm going to be having a baby next month, and I really would like her to be able to sleep without being woken by Blue. Getting rid of him isn't an option anymore. I found out he's closer to 14, almost 15 years old, so he's most likely to be staying with us for the rest of his life.
When my fiancee's parents had him, their solution was to just yell at Blue until he lost interest in whatever he was barking at. I, however, have had enough experience with dogs to know that if you yell at a dog, especially one like Blue, he's likely to yell back. We've been calm, but there's a certain tone of voice that will send Blue to the safety of his bed, and even from there we'll hear the occasional soft woofs. I don't want to scare him into behaving. When I had the beagles, teaching them a "speak" and a "quiet" command usually did the trick. With Blue, though, he won't listen to us unless we have a treat to give him, and I'm already concerned about Blue's weight. His first owner kept his bowl full of food for him, and when we got him he was dangerously overweight. He's getting down to a more decent wight now, but I'm afraid that if we continue feeding him treats, he'll start to put weight on again. He's a pretty smart dog, too, and I don't want him to start barking as a way to get treats.
The barking while people are talking is really getting to be a hassle. We know it's because he wants attention- if he gets ignored long enough he'll shove his way in between the people talking, and if that doesn't work he starts nipping. We've tried giving him toys to entertain himself, and we've tried having someone else give him attention while the others are trying to talk, but he ignores the person petting him and continues to act like a brat.
We asked around amongst our friends to see if anyone had any ideas for us. One suggested a muzzle, but he doesn't need a muzzle. He doesn't bite, he barks, and any muzzle that's going to keep him from barking is essentially going to keep his mouth forced shut, and I'm not leaving something like that on him all the time. Another suggested an electronic collar. Not a shock collar, one of the citronella spray collars. Blue barks enough that I'm afraid he'll just end up sticky and miserable if we use something like that.
Does anyone have any suggestions or tips for what we can do for Blue? I know that if he didn't bark as much, it would just be a better situation for my family, Blue himself included.
Thanks in advance!
|my posts | my page | msg me | my family's posts | gift me | become pals|| [notify]|