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Dog barking of an evening particularly

(7 Posts)
diplodocus Sat 22-Mar-14 21:16:37

Just wondering if you could offer any advice. Our 9 month old rescue dog is barking more and more. I think a lot of it is attention seeking - at least during the day - but to be honest it doesn't seem to be related to how much attention she's had during the day. She's just as likely to bark if she's had a good long walk / play / etc. than if we haven't yet taken her for her main walk. For instance she'll bark to go out, and then immediately bark to come in (repeat ad infinitum, with some generalised indoor barking added in). She loves it if you go out and play with her, but obviously that's not possible all the time. She barks a lot in the evening particularly - often on and off for an hour before she finally settles down. Sometimes I think she's just tired, and putting her to bed in her crate settles her. However, sometimes I think it's more because she doesn't like the family to be split up - she barks at the stairs when the kids have gone to bed and if DH is upstairs working. It's not from disturbance outside. Any ideas of how to deal with it? We're basically trying distract or ignore, but neither is working well and it's quite frustrating.

Dirtybadger Sat 22-Mar-14 22:03:57

My dog does this given half a chance. For hours. She is especially bad at night. I changed her daily routine so that she was more active in the evening/late afternoon. I increased her second walk and we take it a little bit later. And I do training/games/play with her a little later to keep her brain tired. I also became a lot more organised with chews. I always have loads available and a couple of kongs in the fridge. If I know she isn't looking like she'll be snoozing any time soon, I get one out for her to keep her busy. I have generally increased the amount of mental stimulation she gets and stopped feeding her from her bowl (she now eats it from a busy ball/kong wobbler/as rewards for training). Now that the weather is better we are able to go in the garden which is very useful for this (fetch, playing in the sand pit/water, practicing her tricks, scatter feeding her dinner, sniffing in the bushes, etc).

The above works for us. She's isn't restless 24/7 and takes down time. Just is a bit more demanding than some dogs. I anticipate she will mellow with age.

If you think that your dog is restless or not getting enough down time, look into Karen O's Relaxation Protocol. You may also need to contact a force free behaviourist; look through the PPG/APDT/APBC for one. It's likely your dog is quite stressed, if that is the case, and a professional will be able to give you some tips as to how you can decrease your dog's anxiety levels generally.

Dirtybadger Sat 22-Mar-14 22:05:38

Oops meant to link this

diplodocus Sun 23-Mar-14 10:05:00

Thanks for those ideas, and will definitely look at this and check out the relaxation website. She is indeed quite stressed and has always been an anxious dog. We already see a trainer who has behvioural experience and she's suggested a few things but they haven't made much difference. We do stuff like scattering kibble in the garden which certainly keeps her happy for a while, but she won't fetch and in some ways is quite a difficult dog to really "play" with -she just gets really bouncy and excited which we're trying to stop as we have reasonably small children. We also hide treats under things etc. and she has bones and different sorts of chews regularly which she enjoys. We'll get some bigger kongs - don't think ours are challenging enough.

Floralnomad Sun 23-Mar-14 10:30:07

Have you got one of those diffuser things ,my mum got one for her very mad indoor cat and he's really quite chilled now .

Dirtybadger Sun 23-Mar-14 11:48:53

Diffuser may help. I got one and it honestly didn't make a difference but some people say they notice a difference.

Sounds like she might benefit from some impulse control exercises. Teaching her to calm herself down (an "off switch") and think before she does something will enable more and safer play. And teaching it will tire her too! Look at Susan Garretts "Its Yer Choice" for tips on improving her impulse control.

We did that before I introduced tug to my dog. I knew she liked tug but she is strong and her arousal threshold is low so she tended to get Ott in play and inappropriate. So we stopped tug, worked on impulse control, then reintroduced it. At first at quite a "low level" (not that exciting). When she was reliable on her "out" (drop/off) cue we increased the intensity of the game.

Another tip; leave play outside. If the dog is in the house, only very calm games (like finding the treat) happen. Outside is for the more active games. Inside = calm and quiet. Outside = play time. Anyone with multiple dogs can appreciate how impossible it would be if you allowed the same games and play inside as outside. Inside is quiet time for your sanity.

If your dog is okay being handled grooming and massage might help her to relax. Start with short sessions. If she enjoys them this can be a good alternative to playing/making a nuisance of herself. She gets attention and bonding, you get quiet, and tbh you don't have to concentrate that hard to go over her with a rubber brush. Assuming you're sat down to watch some telly or something, it's ideal.

diplodocus Sun 23-Mar-14 12:20:54

We tried the adaptil collar which unfortunately made no difference - presume this is the same as diffuser? Will certainly try massage - she loves being handled and is very affectionate - a really lovely dog just very anxious. Will also look at impulse training - she's getting much better at "wait" so this may be good.

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