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I need to sort out my puppy's barking QUICKLY any ideas?

(14 Posts)
tooearlytobeup Wed 07-Sep-11 21:12:02

I have a 13 week old puppy, he has been with us 3 weeks. He is absolutely wonderful and we adore him smile

But, he hates it if he is left alone, and will bark and bark until we are back within sight. So he barks if I go upstairs for even a minute, he barks if he is put outside for a minute, he barks when he is first put in his crate if I go out, although he is happy being in there if I am in the room and he can see me.

I have tried not to make a big deal of it if I need to go out, I don't make a fuss of him when I come back until he calms down (I do slip up sometimes, as I find this really hard)

He follows me from room to room as I move around the house, and I have to stand with him in the garden when he goes for a wee hmm

On the plus side, he is good off lead, and his recall is great, as he won't go far from me, and is happy to come back grin

He does seem to have improved slightly. He will sleep in his crate overnight without barking, just sometimes 10 minutes when he first goes in, and he does not bark in the car anymore ( he goes in my large boot, with the parcel shelf removed, but was awful at first)

For the first couple of weeks I was home virtually all the time, so this wasn't too much of an issue, but I started back to work two days ago. This means that he has been left alone more. Today my next door neighbour told me another neighbour had been complaining about the noise, and I have just seen comments from two neighbours on facebook, ranting about it, and talking about throwing poisoned meat over the wall sad

I know it is annoying, especially as one of them works nights, and have obviously apologised, said I will buy earplugs for them, and a bottle to apologise.

I already leave the radio on for the pup, and clothes of mine in the crate. he has chew toys, and a kong. I have arranged for someone to come in part way through the day to feed him, play with him, and let him into the garden to do his business, so he is not left for longer than 2.5 hours. His crate is clean and dry, each time so that is not the issue.

What else can I do? I need to get this to improve quickly, before the neighbours get even more upset.

MotherJack Wed 07-Sep-11 22:15:39

There will be advice probably much better than mine as I am no expert... but your pup is experiencing separation anxiety by the sounds of it. He is very young.

You need to work with him when you are there by not responding to the barks and only go to see him when he has stopped barking. You HAVE to be hardened to it and not slip up AT ALL otherwise you risk him learning that barking = attention. Any attention, and that includes talking.

As for the radio, I'm hazarding a guess here that you generally put it on just before you leave the house? If so, your pup will take it as a signal to be anxious as he will associate it with being alone in his crate.

On the 5 days when you are in, you need to work on going out of the house for 10 seconds and returning, perhaps through another door, and build it up, ever so gradually. 2.5 hours is an awful long time for a pup who has been with you for just 3 weeks and not experienced separation up until you going back to work. You need to work backwards now on your days off and get him used to you gradually going out of the house up until 2.5 hours, with no cues such as switching the radio on. Dogs don't get comfort from what we think they might - only things with positive association, such as the radio being on and you NOT going out so you would need to counter-condition his association with the radio, as I understand it.

I'm not an expert by the way - this is just my understanding. But I do think there is no quick solution to a dog barking. He is showing his distress so you need to make him not stressed so he doesn't bark, It's not going to be quick. Be persistent though smile

tooearlytobeup Wed 07-Sep-11 22:39:47

Thank you MotherJack smile I am using the radio channel on the TV and leaving it on all the time pretty much, so not turning it on before I leave. I am also leaving my shoes on a lot of the time in the house, so that he doesn't take that as a cue. He is fine going into the crate, he is in there by choice at the moment, with the door open. I have been trying not to settle too long in any room this evening, to try to make him think it's not worth following me grin

I have had a little success, I just managed to go upstairs without him barking, just to the loo and back, but he did wait at the bottom of the stairs by the stairgate for me hmm should I then praise him for not barking because he's acting the way I want, or will that make him think that there was something to worry about confused

I also managed to go to the shed at the bottom of the garden and back without him following me there, he sat at the door looking at the rain and decided it wasn't worth it lol, and waited for me to return instead.

I feel that I have been ignoring him pretty much all night, and feel so cruel sad

My plan for tomorrow is to take the sheet off my bed in the morning, and leave it with him, sleep with a dog comfort toy and put that in the crate tomorrow too. I am also thinking of leaving a kong in there with kibble and grated cheese. What do you think?

if all else fails, my lovely next door neighbour has offered to take him in her house if he is noisy so he doesn't disturb the others, but I am worried, he will then think barking=attention as you said confused

I have apologised profusely to the other neighbour, and offered earplugs and alcohol as an apology, so am hoping she will be more patient. My mum told me earlier that if they complain to the council, they can force me to get rid of the dog, so I am worried sick. sad

bran Wed 07-Sep-11 22:49:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tooearlytobeup Wed 07-Sep-11 23:03:33

I try to not fuss over him when I come home. He is in the crate at this point usually, and quiet, so I tend to let him out, take him to the garden and not fuss him until he does a pee, so praising for that IYSWIM.

I went to my first training class on Monday, and did ask what they would suggest. She just told me they would cover that in the session next week, not much help when I was returning to work the day after hmm She did suggest selling me a DAP collar for £25 shock but it has made no difference.

He only barks when I am not with him, so it's a bit hard to give treats. I am afraid if I treat when I return he will take it the wrong way, and think he was right to be anxious as you said. Perhaps I am overthinking it.

bran Wed 07-Sep-11 23:09:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bran Wed 07-Sep-11 23:11:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mymumdom Wed 07-Sep-11 23:16:33

What kind of dog is he Tooearly? Some breeds have more stamina for barking than others.

tooearlytobeup Wed 07-Sep-11 23:18:51

Ok, I understand now smile I'll try coming in quietly tomorrow, and giving him an extra few minutes in the crate.

The collar is a grey rubbery looking thing which is meant to emit pheromones which calm the dog and make it less anxious.
It looks ugly, and made absolutely no difference apart from making me poorer grin

I have been thinking that getting another, older dog to keep him company may work, that would be insane wouldn't it?

tooearlytobeup Wed 07-Sep-11 23:22:50

Sorry both, missed your posts. He is a Springer Spaniel, he definately has energy for barking, and it's very piercing (or does your own dog's bark sound worse than any other in the same way as babies cries?)

That's intersting about the neutering, I was planning to get this done before 6 months anyway. He is a rescue pup, so this was agreed in my contract with them.

ditavonteesed Thu 08-Sep-11 08:25:01

google dap spray, you can get collars but it works out very expensive, I use the spray onn a bandana. I think with him still being young it should be quite effective.

tooearlytobeup Thu 08-Sep-11 08:37:27

Thanks Dita, but he has a dap collar, it has made no difference

ditavonteesed Thu 08-Sep-11 09:27:52

I'm ut of ideas then, will have a look in my training books when I get back from taking cherry out.

tooearlytobeup Thu 08-Sep-11 10:53:07

Thank you smile I have looked online etc but am hoping there is something I have overlooked

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