Monday, December 14, 2009

Tough Love: Barking II

We take Basil out with us as much as we can. We go for coffee or pop into the store to rent a movie. One of us always stays in the car with him, but when the car is idle and people are around that's when the barking starts.

Of the 5 Tips for handling barking, this is what Cesar says that we think applies to us:

"Correct and follow through! Tell your dog to stop barking using a look, a sound, or a physical correction. But don't stop there. Your dog may pause and then go right back to what he was doing. His body relaxed, but his brain was still on alert. Be patient. Wait until your dog completely submits before you go back to what you were doing."

We decided to park at a Shop Rite. There's enough people, but no one would think I'm crazy for being there. I left the car running because it's freezing out! As men walked by, Basil jumps up and begins barking, then it winds down to a sound that an otter makes and then into a whine.

Immediately, we threw him a fierce look and made a "tsch" sound. That's the sound to get him to stop whatever it is he is doing and that we don't like it. Right away he backed down. I stuck with it, continuing to look at him in the face, and then commanded that he sit and lay down in the car. We kept doing this as another person went by and another. Keith left the car. Someone came by and he was "ferociously" barking and jumping all over the back seat following the person from window to window. Again, I made the "tsch" sound, stayed calm, and quietly told him to sit down and I stuck with it continuing to face him. He wasn't as quick to calm down as when it was with both of us in the car. I had to use the "two fingers" and tap him to get him to chill out. When he laid back down, I praised him.

It worked! 4 more people went by and he didn't bark at them. A man came right next to the car and Basil was really upset by that (understandably) and began barking. Again, we just repeated what I mentioned above. We forgot to bring treats with us so next time we'll do it again with treats. Betty's mom gave Basil these training treats when he came to join our family and he LOVES them! It's real pieces of salmon too!

Next time, we're going to run him around and give him lots of exercise before going for a car ride and see if he still barks at people. If barking is pent up energy then we'll see if this makes a difference.

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