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Marginally better this morning, intermittent instead of constant. I try to vary the route, as it seems worse on certain streets where lots of dogs live. However, I only have a choice of 3 routes, without going out of my way (with relunctant school-goers first thing in the morning!).
I share your stress Southern I too have a barking pup. He is fine in the house and even when left alone, he just gets incredibly excited at seeing another dog. He barks whether he is on or off the lead. I hope you get some top tips.
I have a 3 year old Westie-Poo, we got her in March 2012 from a Rescue. She is delightful with children, very gentle, calm and non-barky at home when we are with her. She was a 'divorce dog', had a lovely family but the Mum had to go back to work full time and so she suddenly her routine changed and she was left at home alone 8 hours a day, which mean't she started barking excessively when left alone. According to the Rescue she was fine when in Foster (for 3 weeks), but then again, the Foster had 9 other dogs at home for company.
Since March I have been training her to stay at home on her own for short periods without barking, which has been a very slow progression, but by September I had got her up to about 20 minutes, using desensitisation (a bit like controlled crying in babies). I need 30 minutes to walk to school and back.
BUT.... In September I broke my foot rather badly (that's a whole other story) and almost simultaneously my DH was made redundant. Consequently, I was sofa-bound until mid December and not doing school run until this week (DH has just started a new job). So my dog has grown used to having BOTH of us at home and not going on the school run (taken for a walk when we get back).
Consequently her behaviour has changed:
She has started barking excessively every time I leave the house without her (even before I leave she starts up) and is as bad as before I started training her in March. My neighbours are NOT being sympathetic with this and will phone or text to tell me / ask me to come home and sort her out.
But, worse than that, she had started barking constantly at other dogs and cats whenever I take her outside. This morning on the school run she barked for the whole 15 minute walk to school, got louder and more excited every time she saw another dog. If I am able to let her stop and sniff she is momentarily satisfied, but soon starts up again. It was really stressful and people were stopping and staring at us.
I should stress here that her barking is not at all aggressive, she loves meeting other dogs. Unfortunately some other owners are alarmed by it and drag their dogs away (some even pick them up), which makes her bark even more. I have even had a hi-vis vest made which says 'I bark but I'm friendly'. This sort of helps, but only if you are close enough to read it.
So, I'm feeling like I can't win at the moment.
I have pet insurance and can ask my vet for referral, but thought I'd see if anyone on here had any ideas first.