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Barking. Long sorry.(30 Posts)
Hello, I’d like some advice or just a hug please.
Fluffypup is 16 weeks old now. His daily routine looks like this:
6AM get up go for wee and have breakfast. Potter around the house and do a little training until 8AM.
8-9 he is put in a settle on his bed with a carrot, stuffed kong, chew etc.
9-10 we go for a walk by the river.
10-12 he is supposed to nap.
12-1PM he’ll have lunch.
Afternoon we go out somewhere to do socialisation (he is an assistance dog in training).
5PM he’ll have dinner.
6-7 he is put in a settle with a kong, chew, etc.
7-8 do a little bit of training with him.
9PM he goes out for his last wee and settles down for bed. Usually sleeps all night.
Ok so the problem we have is whenever he’s left to settle or go for a nap, he’ll bark. H doesn’t bark himself to sleep he will just bark and bark and bark. I’ve spoken to his trainer and as told to ignore him, leave the room if i must, praise him for any split second of quiet, give him something to tire him mentally. Hence the kongs and things. But those times when he’s not working/walking/spending time with me, he’ll bark the place down. Now i just do not know what to do. He’s a lovely puppy, very quick to learn, very eager to please and on the whole good all round. It is just the barking. Please help me stop it?
I've got to be honest, I've never deliberately put a puppy down for a nap, all of mine have just slept when they needed to, I make sure they have access to a quiet spot to sleep when they need to. Is there a reason you're trying to put the puppy down at set times?
Wow that is a lot of stimulation for a 16 week old puppy. He is probably wired and over tired. My pup can bark when put in his crate for a nap but it doesn't last long and I ignore him. He's not crying just barking but I find it is generally only when he really should be sleeping so if we have had visitors or his daily routine is a bit skewed. They still need up to 18 hours of sleep at 16 weeks and I don't think your pup is getting close to this. Sorry.
I would ignore the barking, no reward and just come and go as you would do normally. It's important that they learn to setttle down as much as any other training.
Is it because he's an assistance dog that you have a daily schedule or is it just listed like that as an example?
@BiteyShark He has to have a structured day consisting of socialising, 2 sessions of training lasting up to 20 minutes. So we work for 4 mins, break for 2, and do that 3 times which works out at 18 minutes of training twice a day. His settle times are to teach him to rely on himself (because he’s a working dog we have to be careful he doesn’t develop separation anxiety when i’m not around) hence why he has those times to teach himself to settle/sleep. When we walk by the river it’s usually for about 25 minutes and granted then he will sleep afterwards. He really struggles to settle himself if i’m in the room but not right next to his bed. If i go out of the room he will “cry himself to sleep”. But that’s not always easy to do. He has 2 beds, one in the lounge and one in my bedroom. I put him on the quietest bed during the day and he sleeps in our room at night. My trainer has told me he needs 1.5 hours nap time twice a day and he will sleep all night from 8 to 6. So minimum he gets to sleep a day is 13 hours. He will nap if we’re out at a cafe or pub or somewhere where he can lie down. I hope all this makes sense?
Which organisation is he being trained under for assistance dog?
You don't say what breed? If he's a bigger breed I think he is getting too much walking for his age tbh. I think he could be overtired.
I would ignore the barking too. It could just be a phase, in a few weeks he may stop it and start another unwanted behaviour. Puppies seem to be like that!
Full grown dogs should sleep for about 16 hours a day so 13 hours is not enough sleep for a puppy.
What is the organisation that is supporting you for training him?
@Val i don’t see how your question is relevant to my barking problem but in answer to it he is under Sherlock Hounds Assistance Dogs. They are an organisation (not a charity) which qualify owner trained dogs to become assistance dogs. So i employ a trainer that is qualified to do GCDS bronze, silver and gold, and his public access training. They also teach me and him to do the work that I need him to do as an assistance dog. So for example opening doors, unloading the washer, alerting me to my seizures. I have to provide a log book of all the hours training (both with the trainer and by myself) that I’ve done with puppy and i have to provide photo and video records of his assessments. He has his first one today as it happens.
he’s asleep now. My husband has just come up with the idea of keeping a sleep diary so we can work out how much sleep he is actually getting each day.
It is relevant because if it is a charity they will have trained staff who should be helping you with this issue rather than the need to ask unqualified strangers on the internet.
I don't want to sound Mnetty and negative but I have a few concerns from your post that is why I asked. It is unusual for a supported client of an assistance dog to feel th ened to ask for advice on a public forum.
I am also concerned at the daily schedule and wanted to check if it was an organisation I am involved in as that is not what we would recommend for assistant dog training.
So the organisation you use are saying 120 hours training to do the Kennel club citizen award - I am concerned that they are setting a time scale on this as dogs take as long as they need - also not sure of the relevance of the citizens award for assistant dog training.
Speak to your trainer today re the barking but ignoring is not training advice that you would be given by a qualified dog trainer to change the behaviour of a 16 week old puppy barking.
I hope you get a productive answer in RL and you are put on the right path to help with this behaviour.
Is he barking whilst he has a chew/kong or once it's finished with? Does he bark for the 2 hour nap time? Does he eventually stop barking if you leave him? What about if you leave the room/house?
Barking is hard as it releases endorphins and give the dog a feel good so you need to make staying quiet more enjoyable but in a calm way. What is he doing whilst barking? Is he on a bed or in a locked crate? Laid down? Stood? Staring at you?
Have you tried anything soothing to help him? Rescue remedy, thundershirt, pheromone diffusers, something with your smell?
What breed is he? What are his parents like and what was his experiences at the breeders? Assuming you got him from a breeder? Or is he a rescue? Just wondering if his previous home had lots of barking and he gained attention or saw his mother gain attention for it.
I think the advice to ignore it is terrible and will only result in a more anxious dog.
Puppies need approximately 18 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. I appreciate you're trying to train him but he's still very young and it sounds like far too much stimulation and not enough rest for such a small pup.
9pm-6pm plus two naps is nowhere near enough rest for such a young puppy. The barking sounds like he's over-stimulated and tired and doesn't know how to settle because when he's awake, you're always with him - either playing, training or walking.
Puppies don't need a lot of physical exercise either. At that age he should be walking for twenty minutes a time, maximum twice a day. The rule is 5 minutes per month of age, upto twice a day if necessary.
Have you tried feeding him out of kongs or play-feeders instead of a bowl? It keeps our boy busy for upto half an hour when we do that, instead of the 30 seconds it normally takes him to eat! Mental stimulation and getting him to "hunt" for his food will tire him out too.
And I wouldn't ignore the barking either. Yes, he needs to learn to self-settle but leaving a dog to bark isn't fair on him or your neighbours! Have you tried one of those adaptil collars, or a thunder shirt? They can be quite good at calming puppies.
I’m just about to nip to buy an adaptil collar. In answer to your questions he barks when he’s finished his chew/kong, he stands and stares at me, when i leave the room he’ll bark for a bit then go to sleep, i think keeping the sleep diary is the best way to go because i asked my husband how much sleep he thought pup gets and he said between 16/18 a day. I am visually impaired so don’t know when puppy is just being still and quiet or if he’s asleep. So some of my timings might be a bit off so sorry for that.
I’m also going to give him a used item of clothing of mine to see if that helps.
He passed the obedience assessment today which i am incredibly poud of him for. The assessor said he passed with flying colours i’m very proud.
Sorry for any typos i’m in the car.
@adaline he has a 20-25 min walk off lead once a day and the rest of his walking he does on lead in shops or wherever i’m going. I always make sure he’s not going to be out any longer than half an hour or if we are then we take a break at a caf or something and he usually sleeps or people watches. I use kongs to feed him his meals and other food feeders. We hardly ever use his bowl. And i have to say puzzle feeders do tire him out.
That sounds good. I just know our puppy goes mental if he's over-tired and sometimes he just needs enforced down-time because he just doesn't know when to stop.
I give him all his meals in kongs or those feeders. We got him one from Pets at Home that amuses him for at least 45 minutes. It's just a frisbee shaped disc with a hole on either side - you fill it with kibble and he has to flip it over to get the biscuits out. He absolutely loves it!
I’ve just bought a lot of yummy treats, chicken feet, tripe sticks etc. When he goes to his bed i plan on giving him something really tasty along side his kong. And i’m definitely going to keep the sleep diary. So far today he’s had a 2 hour nap and an hour. He’s now in his bed chewing a tripe stick...and occasionally winjing. But nothing like the extent it normally is. I was talking to my friend earlier and she said that because I have over sensative hearing which triggers my seizures that i think pup is barking for longer than he actually is. This could well be true. I’m going to time how long he moans for now. Goodness this is like having a baby all over again.
@adaline I know exactly what you mean! He’s a lab retriever and he definitely needs enforced down time. If i let him he’d go and go all day. It’s very difficult when people say “our dog should be having X number of hours sleep a day” but what do you do when he WILL NOT sleep of his own accord. A PP said her pup takes himself off to bed when he needs a nap or quiet time, my pup would not do that. Not at all. And that is why he has scheduled naps. The winjing has stopped, it lasted all of 5 mins and he’s akip again. See now i’m observing him really closely and writing down when he sleeps prhaps he does have more than i initially thought. And like i said earlier there are times when he naps that i don’t notice because he doesn’t always snore so DH has to point those times out to me.
For those interested in the organisation we are using here is a link to their website.
I know you where adviced to use "long lasting treats" for down time but having trained quite a few puppies this seems impractical in the long run.
To combat the problem head on, I 'd do 2 things:
- start teaching your dog a "down stay" by using a different command like rest, spot, .... on a special blanket with the help of your trainer. Ensure that there is always a beginning and end set by you to the exercise. Make sure it is something you can carry around for the next 12years or so / is easily replaced like a towel.
- give your dog a "quick treat" with a command like sleep, bed, see you soon, .... to get him barking quickly and ignore, hopefully he will learn a bit sooner about "down time".
@Ylvamoon could you explain that last bit about barking again please? We have a specific mat which says he’s an assistance dog in training and I am teaching him (slowly) to settle on it. So you’d suggest using that on top of his beds? Treating him quickly when i give the cue to settle, then releasing him after a period of time? I hope I’ve understood you correctly.
Today has been quite successful, he napped for most of the afternoon, had a bit of a play and we played “find it” with his dinner, then he went out and toiletted, then at ten past seven he took himself off to bed and he’s flat out now.
Thanks for everyone’s advice so far.
oh sorry you had a difficult day... don't forget at 16 weeks he is still a very small "child ".
Your mat is great! Use it as intended! It takes time for your puppy to learn to say and relax on it.
At this point don't mix the 2 up. What I meant is give him less "entertainment" when you want him to settle in bed for down time... thinking, that once he has finished chewing he gets bored and starts barking (almost straight away) = making the whole process of downtime = treat =( barking = ) sleep quicker.
And yes, once he has learned to settle, you can give him longer lasting treats...
So, 2different processes that eventually can be turned into one. You can place the mat in his bed in time once he has stopped the barking. But by the sounds of it this is a few weeks off.
Dogs do learn by association, certain things / sounds mean certain behaviour to them...
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