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Problem barking! Help!(18 Posts)
Hi I would really love some advice from more experienced dog owners.
I have a lovely 1 year old Male Shih Tzu. He is completely perfect apart from one issue..his terrible barking while in the garden.
He seems to bark at absolutely anything and anyone who comes into what he considers his territory , this includes birds, people walking past the house and even on occasion a particularly low flying plane!
I realise this is territorial behaviour but I don’t know how to manage it.
I’ve tried anti barking collars, the one that makes the noise not the shocking kind.
I’ve tried enticing him with treats. He seems to completely ignore me when he’s in a kind of barking zone and just won’t stop until the ‘threat’ has past.
I’m sure the solution is probably very obvious but I’m feeling terribly stressed over it because I know it bothers my neighbours and I don’t want to be that dog owner.
Any advice is welcome!
Just to add he’s due to be neutered next month, not sure how relevant that is.
If mine starts barking I just bring him inside which shuts him up.
If I didn't he would happily continue to bark but the act of bringing inside breaks that fixation. I have a slip lead which I use to get him inside if he doesn't come voluntarily (in fact I now only have to wave the lead at him and he comes in as he knows the routine ).
Thanks for the reply! Yes once he starts I bring him in however he’s got to stage now where he just runs away! I end up running round the garden like a total fool trying to get his lead on.
I’ve considered just having a length of training lead and keeping it on while he’s in the garden, I’m not sure how safe this is but beats chasing a cheeky Shih Tzu round the yard!
Longline on a harness.
Never let him out without you.
Try and anticipate when he will bark and distract him. Do some training for instance.
He seems early to be neutered. Is there a reason for that? If he’s anxious at all it could make it worse.
Does he get out and socialise and see the world? What can you do to make him see the outside as less of a threat?
Yes we had the running away at one point. I open my slip lead so it is effectively one big loop and can catch him as he runs past. Did this a few times and now he doesn't even bother running away as he knows once cornered I can loop it over him
Haha. That doesn’t work with big girl.
@wolfie we were advised by our vet to wait until he’s a year before neutering so assumed neutering now would be fine.
We go out for walks twice and day and he goes to stay and play at the groomers every 3 weeks or so, he’s great with people and other dogs while we’re out.
Looks like I’m investing in a slip lead! Thank you
Wolfie yes it does help that he's small so easy to lasso it over his head
A longline and harness is better. You can interrupt the behaviour instantly.
I would be looking to get out to more places. Walk different places, go to the pub, visit a fun dog show or a country fair or take a trip somewhere totally new.
Any formal training at all? A trainer’s view can be helpful.
Neutering will prevent your dog gathering puppies. But it won’t necessarily affect his behaviour in a positive way. So I would want to think why you needed that doing. (Not saying don’t. Just think about why!)
@wolfie thanks for that I’ll definitely try and get him out to a few different places..if anything it might leave him too tired to bark!
We did some very basic training with him and a 6 week puppy class, I had a visit with a 1to1 trainer who gave me brilliant advice. All her suggestions worked for his behaviour in the house! He’s pretty much a model dog, very well behaved indoors and quick to learn..if I could get a handle on the outside barking he’d be perfect.
I’d not really considered neutering but it was suggested by our vet, she said it can reduce the risk of certain illnesses later in life. I took her word for it but I’ll do a bit of research into it.
Slightly of the point here, but my vet recommended neutering at 6 months if that was the route we chose. He wasn’t in any way pushing castration, but felt if we did decide on that route then sooner rather than later was best. We have decided that we will neuter him as we were advised that if he met another entire dog it was highly likely to see him as a threat - our boy is a small bolshy terrier he would undoubtedly come off worse in the event of a confrontation with a big dog. Not yet decided whether to go the surgical or chemical route, which can be easily reversed.
I’m far from an expert as I have a much larger dog and the accepted protocol is to wait until they are mature.
Just a thought but when did the barking ramp up? They experience a secondary fear phase sometime before a year. Mine would spin on the lead to avoid strangers.
@Mouldiwarp1 that’s rather confusing advice. Not sure why sooner rather than later is the best thing. Dogs should mature really before a decision can be made. Neutering your dog won’t make him less of a target if he’s bolshy. It may even make him more so and more likely to be really hurt. It’s the behaviour you need to change rather than simply the hormones.
As I recall I think she said that smaller dogs reach maturity faster so waiting a year gave him a chance to fully mature before neutering. He’s always been a bit barky outside but things have definitely gotten worse in the last 4-5 months. He’s been a lot more resistant to coming inside when he’s called, not bothered about treats or offers to go for walks just gets himself in a barking frenzy until I come out with the lead and then he scarpers.
The ideal would be to prevent the behaviour. So never off a harness and longline outside. Ideally stopping before the first bark gets out and distracting. Mine isn’t often in the garden without me. She has a really good walk and then settles in the house for a nap. She might pop in and out but she’s not out there long enough to become bothered by noises.
Worth teaching a “settle” inside. So bed near you and Drop a treat on the bed when calm and settled there. It’s far easier to get dogs to do a particular behaviour than to try and stop one you don’t want.
And remember every time he barks outside he feels the rush of excitement and gets the best reward. So prevent that at all costs.
Personally I wouldn’t neuter unless he lived with entire bitches. It won’t mean he won’t square up to other dogs and certainly wouldn’t help if the barking is related to anxiety at all.
@Wolfiefan when I say bolshy I don’t mean he’s aggressive, but he’s a terrier so unlikely to back down. I think the point he was trying to make was that entire dogs recognise each other and can see another uncastrated dog as a threat whereas they might well be fine with a neuter and it’s something to bear in mind with a small breed. You’re right that the neutering could cause problems if he’s already nervous. @TheBogWitchIsBack does your vet do the implant for dogs? It might be worth trying that to see if it does make a difference either way before going the whole hog.
Is he motivated by toys? My dog can be a bit of a garden barker if she hears the neighbours etc..but if she has toys to play with she couldn't care less. Things like puzzle toys, playing fetch with a ball, even a little sand pit with toys buried in? Anything that requires them to concentrate has seemed to work for me! She'll usually sit calmly in the garden when she's tired from playing.
See another uncastrated dog as a threat? Not really. Dog behaviour is so much more complicated. I wouldn’t neuter to try and avoid my dog being seen as a threat. Much better to teach manners or keep them away from situations where problems could occur.
Thanks @wolfie I’m going to try the harness and lead today in the garden and see how we get on.
He does have a little bed he settles on indoors it’s never an issue but when he’s outside and gets into barking all his indoor training seems to go completely over his head.
@lioness87 yea he loves his toys and particularly anything that squeaks, I’ve tried distracting him will all his favourites, treats, little bits of chicken, walks..nothing else seems to matter to him in that moment except the barking so perhaps it is bit anxiety related.