Random Barking Thoughts . . . or Barking Random Thoughts

Posted on 01/22/10 24 Comments

I just love this shot. Kristie Moser took in last weekend in Orlando. It is just a crack up. Encore doing all the talking, then there is me, lips pursed, as if trying not to compete with her voice.

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A lot of great comments about barking this week. Here are a few more thoughts.

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I think a big reason dogs bark is that they have been allowed to. Reheasals of any performance improves the performance so if you don’t want a barking dog, don’t allow the rehearsals! Sure there is a time and place for a dog to vocalize (like when someone comes into your yard) but for those that don’t like the barking, look to the times they are allowed to vocalize.  Feature would have loved to bark while I worked Encore, so I never allowed her to be anywhere in eyesight or ear shot when I trained Encore. It only took me a couple months of Crate Games to get her comfortable with me working another dog and her laying in an open crate or on a table.  (However, I did notice this weekend though that she is now not happy in a closed crate so will have to work that before our next trial.)

Those rehearsals included puppies screaming . . .  for any reason. Use stuffed kongs or raw meaty bones given to a dog before you start to work and be sure  that he can NOT see or hear you work your dog.

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Although I do agree with Rebecca’s eloquent comments about dogs being allowed to obsess and mouth on a toy while they watch another dog work potentially leading to aggression. I disagree that all dogs that do this will automatically bark when working when the toy is not present. I know of several that do not (including Feature).

But yes, the mouthing, toy shaking etc, is displacement behaviour and I in fact, did curb it in Feature for several months when she was younger when I saw her responding to the odd dog in a way that could easily escalate to aggression. She now is allowed to do it and does get along with all dogs ringside or otherwise, quite well.

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However I am NOT in favour of allowing any dog to bark and go crazy while another dog is working. Geeez, aren’t these critters supposed to be our family pets first? How does that contribute to the behaviour of your family pet? And as Rebecca pointed out, the top dogs in any sport have a grace and fluidness rather than a franticness about them. Don’t allow displacement frustration replace good old fashion drive training. There is a MAJOR difference. One requires thought and a progressive training plan. The other only requires you tie a dog to a fence and let the chips fall where the may. You can see why some trainers will offer up that advise, it requires little effort on their part and it may create what you want (however beware of what else you get in the process!)

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Focus on reinforcement of quiet rather than the punishment of noisy. Look for solutions not problems.

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If you are going to use a “muffler” be certain to give it to the dog before he has a chance to bark not in response to his barking. One may prevent the barking (and contribute to building upon a rehearsal of success) and the other is rewarding the barking.

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Any vocalizing has the potential to lead to barking. So do not reward responses with any vocalizing (humming, squealing, etc), regardless of how cute you may think it is as a puppy.

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Yes I believe some lines of dogs within a breed are more prone to bark, but I do not think genetics is a good excuse to have a barking dog. That is of course if you care, some of you don’t!  Check out the sea lions on the warf in San Francisco. Barking fools they are! Yet when those creatures are on stage at Sea World they don’t make a peep unless they are told they can.  Here you have a strong genetic desire being re-directed by good animal training.

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So I guess what I am saying is that A) I was/am not a good enough dog trainer to get Buzz and Encore to not bark in the ring or

B) I didn’t/don’t care enough about it to make the effort necessary to change the dog’s drive to bark.

I think with Buzz it was more of A and with Encore it is more of B.  Regardless of the fact that I do NOT like the barking, I have learned to not allow it to bother me. Funny though when Terry Smorch ran Encore in Snookers last year he told me it rattled him when she started barking. Not that he couldn’t get used to it as well, but it did surprise and unnerve him momentarily.

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For those that haven’t seen it, here is a few runs from the weekend in Orlando. I have covered up Encore’s barking with some choice music!

Today I am grateful for a chance to workout with one of my favorite fitness coaches here in Florida.

24 Comments

  1. Jess says:
    Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 11:43am

    I have a border collie who is very good and focused at agility and does not bark whilst he is running but he will bark at the ring side or at club training, I have tried so many different things to try and stop him but can’t seem to change his focus. If I play tug with him he will stop barking but every time I stop tugging he starts barking any ideas very welcome.

    Reply

  2. Gemma says:
    Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 7:32pm

    I just navigated away and realised I answered my own question. If my puppy will tug when he is stressed or fearful, he of course is able to hold his wait and if the value to not move was high enough, he wouldn’t break regardless of anything.

    Thanks and sorry to waste your time.

    Reply

    • Susan says:
      Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 8:04am

      Hey Gemma, love when people can figure out their own answer but just know this. The reason you can play tug is that the arousal for tug is higher therefore fear doesn’t get a chance to play a role. However in the case of hold a sit, the arousal won’t be as high therefore insignificant things will interfere with performance. Make sure prior to asking for the sit you have done lots of tug.

      Reply

  3. joyce says:
    Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 5:30pm

    great runs, great music. fun to watch and listen. those front crosses were so amazing..i watched the clips over and over again to study them. so what is the name of the band playing and singing? so energizing!

    Reply

  4. Deb D says:
    Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 8:31am

    The barking threads are very timely as my baby dog has decided that it’s a good idea to bark through obedience class. I don’t know how to handle it other than remove him from the situation. I know WHY he is barking. My teener dog is also in class with my hubby. Obviously NOT a good idea but it’s too late now without dropping the other dog from class. When I did leave class with Rylie last night he settled down but hubby reported that Max whined softly the whole time I was gone (I train both dogs at home ) This is the only time Rylie barks while working but I don’t want it to become a habit. Any advice from the trainers out there?

    Reply

  5. Helen Verte says:
    Monday, January 25, 2010 at 10:43am

    Hi Patti. I still treat my boy even when he plays his game because he dashes through the house to find me. If his barking game is too much, I call him in and close the door. To keep the recall supported, you can call your dog in from the yard when she’s not barking and give her a reward. 🙂

    Reply

  6. Patti says:
    Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 7:54pm

    Oh Helen, it was good to read that. My 9 y/o terrier does the same thing. There’s noise she’s barking at, lots of stimulus outside our backyard across the street, but she’s barking looking towards the house (me) not at the noise. She wants me to call her in for a treat! So I call her in but no treat. So what’s the best solution for this? Will that ruin what is currently a terrific recall?

    Reply

  7. Bobbie Bhambree says:
    Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 1:30am

    Great pumpin’ song! I was rockin’ in my seat while watching your runs!

    Your tips on barking are very helpful. As you often say, each dog comes to us to teach us a lesson, and if we don’t learn it, the next dog comes to us with the same lesson. I’ve definitely learned my “barking lesson” with Charlotte, one of many she is teaching in her life with me. I’m happy to say I am NOT repeating it the second time around! :))

    Reply

  8. Helen Verte says:
    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 10:57am

    That was fun to watch. I found an article in Jan ’09 Clean Run about Front Cross Footwork, and have been teaching myself those steps. I wanted to see a Susan Garrett front cross, and a nice shot of it was at the very end of this video. Step by step, it was textbook to what I’m learning, but a lot faster! 🙂

    As far as dogs barking, I have an example of a smart dog trick born in my backyard. I adopted a young Aussie boy from the shelter in Nov ’08. He was more apt to bark at things my Dobies ignore. So whenever he barked, I’d call his name, and he’d run in the house to get a treat. This solution backfired on me. 🙂 He now uses this ritual as a way to get treats. I hear him bark, and look out the window to see him staring at the backdoor instead of barking at something. He is waiting for me to call him, so he can come in for a treat! If I don’t call him, he barks again. It’s not the worst of my ingenious plans gone awry because it still works on what I intended it for, but it’s another lesson to me on being careful of what I teach. Teaching my mini schnauzer to speak was the worst training plan I executed. Anytime I went into the kitchen, she’d follow, barking at me. That was in the ’70’s and the very first dog I picked out and trained, but I haven’t taught a dog to speak since. Controlling barking is definitely a part of dog training that’s a big challenge.

    Reply

  9. Christine says:
    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 8:28am

    Always the best music choices! I watched the two girls to compare and little miss Feature is catching up to her big sister! I think the running DW of Encores as well as the approach/landing to a few of those jumps just made her a little quicker. Pretty impressive for both dogs!

    Reply

  10. Theresa says:
    Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 12:01am

    WOW wow wow !!
    Man, You were BOOKIN” sista !!!!!!! You look awesome out there, and MAN……. YOu can JUMP really high !!

    Reply

  11. Andrea says:
    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 11:16pm

    Man…those weavers are FAST!!! 🙂

    Reply

  12. Mary M says:
    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 8:17pm

    Would love, love, love for you to add your dialog about methodology with running a-frame…..have a little girlie who I am considering a running a-frame with and am researching a ton about different methods.

    Will you possibly broach this topic in the OH seminars? I will be there and would dig hearing your view.

    I know previously you have said you don’t want to teach these yet, but your runs look great and wondering about the method!

    Great runs, good girllies!!!

    Reply

  13. Chris McQ says:
    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 5:30pm

    I do have to confess that whenever Seamus barks now I do smile thinking that Buzz must make the windows in the new house rattle!

    Reply

  14. Scott says:
    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 4:25pm

    my last dog never barked on course yet my current dog just starting out cant get in enough barks. Since I’m doing everything I can to stop the noise, does that mean I’m not as good a trainer as I used to be?
    I don’t think so – some dogs do get more excited & do bark more.
    I wonder what you do when you say you just dont allow the barking?
    If youre dog is some distance from you & starts barking alls you can do is to take him off the course.
    Some dogs are just going to be more insistent in barking regardless of all your efforts or how good a trainer you are.

    Reply

  15. Linda says:
    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 2:18pm

    Just wondering if you are using a running contact here or quick releasing. Without the sound its hard to decipher. Gorgeous runs!

    Reply

    • Susan says:
      Friday, January 22, 2010 at 4:26pm

      Yes Linda both of my dogs have a running A Frame.

      Reply

  16. Chris McQ says:
    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 12:20pm

    Different barking question…any insight into why some dogs bark more as they grow old and lose their hearing? My almost 14 year old dog was practically mute his entire life and very rarely barked. Now that he is losing his hearing, he barks. Several friends have also shared that their dogs barking increased as they lost their hearing. Any theories?

    Reply

    • Susan says:
      Friday, January 22, 2010 at 4:28pm

      Yep I too have found older dogs do bark more. So if quiet little Seamus now has found his voice at 14, try to imagine what it is like living with the poster child for bark himself (mr. buzz) at 13 1/2!

      Reply

  17. Jo Lewohl says:
    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 10:44am

    I have to agree. 2X2’s rock!. I love watching video of you and your dogs and we are looking forward to seeing you guys in person later this year at the WAC (Go Team Australia!!).

    Can I ask though – do you call the weaves or do you expect your girls to get them if they are right there in front of them (i.e, the next logical obstacle?).

    Reply

    • Susan says:
      Friday, January 22, 2010 at 4:29pm

      Hi Jo, normally I do call the weaves for my dogs, but it shouldn’t matter to them. I this clip I called them very late and as you can see Feature hadn’t seen them at all!

      Reply

  18. Michelle says:
    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 8:49am

    Hi Susan, I’ve really enjoyed these blogs on barking and everyones responses. Your timing is amazing, no sooner had I read your first barking post than my young dog gave her first ever barks in training. Hopefully I can prevent that from becomming a habit!

    Reply

  19. Gemma Osmond says:
    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 8:33am

    I’ve really enjoyed your posts on barking – I can’t stand it myself, and think that it really can lead to aggression. If people can’t control their dogs urge to bark, what else can’t they control?! Plus I love watching dogs who are motivated and smooth – not those who are so high and wound up that it’s a miracle they’re getting round a course! Hopefully it will have been thought provoking for some.

    Reply

  20. denise says:
    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 6:18am

    I love seeing video footage of you running your dogs! Wouldn’t mind seeing them without the music though, I’d like to hear Encore’s barking and screaming to know what you’re talking about 🙂

    Reply

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