Barking dogs

When we were on our way back home; driving across America I hoped that a particular neighbor might be gone.  This neighbor is the one who's dog regularly took dumps on my front yard.  The owner would never pick it up and was often standing out front of her house waiting for her dog to finish and come home.  I don't know how many times I bagged up that s*%t and threw it back onto her yard.  So anyway now more people live in the house and there are three dogs, three dogs that bark at every single dog that walks down the street.

My office is the front of my house, I love it.  I have a sliding door which is usually open allowing a great breeze to come through all day.  Elsa likes to lie at the door and watch the world go by.  She is doing very well with it all being that she spent nearly four months in the silence of the forest with nothing going by.  She is learning to watch and not bark.  Yesterday a boxer went by with it's owner, I don't know this dog but as it passed by my house and beyond the three dogs at "the" house went crazy.  It was so loud that I could not believe that no one was asking them to stop.

The commotion went on well past the dog passing their house, the sound echos through the neighborhood and keeping my own dogs from joining in is a challenge.  When there is that much craziness happening of course it winds up all the other dogs around.  The poor dog walking down the street with it's own was clearly upset as I would the owner was as well.  I quietly reached for some treats and asked Elsa to stop.  She was doing her chicken barking, the barking that is the quiet, under her breath barking.  I wanted to stop it there before she got herself into a frenzy and she did.

If for some reason the barking does not stop when I ask it to then I get up and calmly move her away from the window.  I don't get all fired up, I keep my zen mood and simply let her know that if she does not stop then she is not allowed to look out the window.  Luke is very good about stopping, he never likes to get into trouble, even zen trouble.  He is such a good boy.

She came over to me and sat in front of my chair, she got her treat and we remained calm, zen calm.  Remaining calm when this sort of ruckus starts is essential in the display that you show your dog.  If you get all fired up then your dog reads that as your frenzy behavior.  My most common response to barking that starts is shhhhhhhhhhh.  I have to say that being able to go back to whisper talking to my dogs is nice.  With both Tilley and Jessie I had to resort to yelling much of the time.

Barking is fine if it is done in moderation, a couple of barks followed by "thank you," and then I take it from there.  The crazed barking and behavior from the dogs down the street is horrific.  I'm sure that people dread walking by if this is what they are in for each time they do.  I know that I would choose another path if it happened to me.  Allowing your dogs to go off on people and dogs and not even attempting to control it is unacceptable.

Speak softly and carry a big stick.  :)


  1. Amen, sister.
    When I first moved into my neighborhood 13 years ago I reluctantly assumed the role of Bark Cop. I worked 24 hour shifts and the absurd level of hysterical barking from dogs left outside for 12 hours a day was keeping me from sleeping or thinking or opening my windows or doors in summer. It was frustrating and depressing to see how many people believed that because it did not affect them, they had no intention of stopping it. Eventually I wore them out but for some it took a visit from the real popo man. Now, as a dog trainer, I am finding that clients tell me they know that their dog's barking is wrong, but when faced with the reality that they must actually get up off their lazy arses to address it, they "can't". They don't want to put effort into it, unless it means they will be evicted or lose their dogs if they don't. Now THAT is depressing.

  2. Great post. Unfortunately, my dog is the one barking at passers-by. We're working on teaching her that staying quiet results in yummy treats and praise, but any tips? I *really* don't want to be the neighbor with the barky dog.

  3. Combine your treats for "quiet" with removing the dog to a room away from the window - not for long but don't let it back in til its quiet and then give praise + treats. As soon as it manages to allow someone to pass by without barking -praise + reward well. but if the barking starts remove from the window- worked really well for my dogs-but takes a bit of effort for a day or two + you must be consistent and calm at all times.

  4. I am going to recommend Turid Rugaas's book Barking, The Sound of a Language. It is a short little book that describes the six types of barking and understanding of those types of barking. It does take effort and consistency, but it does work.

    We had a problem with our dog barking in the car because I had conditioned her to the idea that car rides almost always meant a hike. Just a few days of taking her to boring places, with frequent stops and she stopped the car barking...all due to the tips in Turid Rugaas book.


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