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Dixie is still barking ....

2273 Views 13 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Anonymous
Barking ...AGAIN! It just never stops, really. It's Dixie, my newly adopted in Feb., normally very sweet girl. We are at hour whit's end. I'm just venting ...and hoping someone might have another suggestion.

I have become used to her "watchdog" behavior when someone enters our courtyard. I can see that it's instinct to a certain degree ...and the rest is excitement. It's the walk that we continue to have trouble with. She practically leaps up on the leash and charges at any dog that walks by us. IF they approach, she is fine if they are calm. They sniff and we continue on in most cases.

We walk later in the evening, after dark, to avoid the many dogs right after dinner time. There's always one or two and it's the same every night. She howls and barks and jumps at the dog, which is usually a well trained Golden, who walks peacefully by his owner's side, looking at her like she's an uncivilized beast. And she is certainly acting like one.

Meanwhile, Belvedere, our male, sits and watches Dixie go nuts. Once the other dog passes by, she's ready to continue on with our walkies.

It may be my imagination but it does seem as if she's trying to protect me. Could that be the case? She literally half-circles around me as the other dog passes. My husband thinks it's more of the watchdog thing.

We are considering a professional trainer (referals for someone in Florida are welcome!) and we are trying to use the techniques for curbing barking that we've read on this forum. However, it seems to me that they are for eliminating constant, unnecessary barking. I may be way off with this but I don't think those methods will work in our case.

Venting ...but hoping for some advice. Dixie is a little love other than this. Could this be a behavior that we're stuck with?? :?

PS IF this post actually makes it to the board, on the 9th try, a big Thank You to whoever made it happen.
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How long have you had her? Is it possible that before you got her she had a bad experience with a strange dog and is reacting defensively, even if the other dog hasn't made any threatening moves? Since George got attacked by a pit bull a while back, he's totally on the defensive at the sight, sound or smell of another dog, even if that dog is barely in his line of sight and hasn't noticed him. He thinks he's going to get jumped and he's determined to attack first, I believe. Before the pit bull attack, he was quite ready to be friends with any and all other dogs.
That's a possibility. I have had her since the end of Feruary. She was in a foster situation, due to an injury. She's very well adjusted other than this agressive barking. And I am assuming it's aggression of some sort. However, when a dog approaches, she is friendly so far. We've not had any incidents. She's good with my friends' dogs and the neighbor dogs. It's dogs on the walk ... the ones we pass or the ones in the yards as we pass. It's frustrating because I want to help her and us ...but I don't know how to make her relax.
It's possible whatever happened to her happened on a walk and that's why she's like that on walks and not at home or in a relaxed situation. You may just have to wait it out. Maybe eventually, when she sees that other dogs aren't going to do anything to her, she'll relax.
You can try conditioning her to look to you for direction when she sees a strange dog. It's would need to start by walking her in the vicinity of strange dog(s) but not close enough to trigger the barking. You would treat her for looking at and paying attention to you, not the dogs. If she looks at the dogs, but doesn't bark, treat that, too. If she barks, she needs more distance.

As she learns to look to you for goodies, you can slowing move her closer to strange dogs, but only as she tolerates it, without barking. You should gradually be able to decrease the distance as you condition her to look to you for goodies & direction. Good luck. :D
I had the same problem with Jake- Mikey T posted some good links that helped- I'm not where I can look at the moment- but it might pull up under a search about "walkies". Jake is doing much better- But I switched to a shorter lead so I had more control- and lot's of stopping ,sitting training.- Wendy

Mom to Samantha, Jake, Abby, & Indy
Betsy response to your reply ...

I did try some training with treats when we first got Dixie in February ...and again recently. This dog will turn her head away from a treat when she's in this "state". I have tried for two months, to find something that motivates her and I still cannot. She doesn't care about treats the way Belly does ...he will stop on a dime, for a crumb. He was easy to train.

I think I will get a shorter lead for the time being. That's definitely worth a try. But I MUST figure out a distraction. Reaching down and trying to close her mouth and move her head towards me is impossible, while still hanging on to the leash.

Do you think I should ask the people if we can "meet" their dog, if I see that the dog is well trained? Or should I just focus mostly on getting her under control at my command?
I bought a leash at Petmart that does different things. It can be for 2 dogs or I use it as a shoulder harness for me with shorter lead on him. It forces Jake to walk at my side. He was challenging every dog in the neighborhood- You could hear him bark blocks away. This gave me more control and I could give a gentle pull on the lead (kind of a downward pressure) if that makes sense. I used it to mean don't bark and he caught on quickly. Every now and then I still get a faint whine when he really wants to bark but he likes the "good boy" when he doesn't... and we can do longer walks now without me going home exhausted from tugging and barking. Good luck!- Wendy
I wish I could get Homer to stop barking - period! It seems that's all he does and it goes right through you! I saw an ad for that looked really good, only when I gave them my zip code, they don't have any trainers in my area yet. You might want to try it though. I don't know anything about it other than it seemed like it was just what I needed. Too bad I can't get it here.

I filled out the form for Barkbusters and they are not currently in my area either. There is a couple nearby but I'm just outside of their boundaries.

We tried a bit of training tonight and I really do think it's going to take a professional to guide me through this.
It's the walk that we continue to have trouble with.
Ah think the following articles and book my help

AGGRESSION: A Case History with Harry T.


If you have a dog who is barking and lunging at other dogs while on leash, you are not alone. It's a very common behavior problem, even if the same dog gets along well with others OFF leash. It is also a problem with a high rate of successful treatment. What you can get from this booklet is the ability to leash-walk your dog around others, whether it's down the sidewalk or at the vet clinic, knowing that your dog will walk politely by another dog, rather than causing a scene. Methods are totally positive reinforcement.
Originally posted by faysie
Betsy response to your reply ...

This dog will turn her head away from a treat when she's in this \"state\". <snip>
Do you think I should ask the people if we can \"meet\" their dog, if I see that the dog is well trained?  Or should I just focus mostly on getting her under control at my command?
The point is not to push her to where she's in that "state". You want to condition and reward calm behavior at a distance, gradually decreasing the distance as she is able to remain calm.

In answer to your question, probably not. It's hard to know how receptive other dog owners would be, and it's probably better to have her behavior under control first.

Good luck! :D
One of Simon's problems was his reactions to dogs he cannot say hello to (unfriendly or unfriendly owners)
I have found a very good trainer, that we have spent 1 session so far outside What he said was very similar to what betsy said However, Simon was not interested in treats when he was that distracted so we worked on distance Also instead of me try ing to hold on, I put my foot on the leash also, so my whole body weight is working not just the arm
Also, because my trainer is able to get Simon to do what he wants, Simon does remember it and is better with me
Good luck
p.s. I had spoken to a barkbusters near me, if it is similar to where you are it was REALLY REALLY expensive and only one visit
I found my trainer thru a local pet store he is reasonable and great! i know i was lucky to find him
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