One Couple + Two Dogs = Our Waldo Bungie

Sir Barks-a-Lot

March 18th, 2013 | Posted by Emily in Bumming Out | Doggies! | Fostering. | Moby Wonderdog

Moby is a barker.

If we aren’t paying attention to him, he barks. When he wants to go outside, he barks. When he wants to come inside, he barks. When he is hungry, he barks. And it is a resounding bark. Like, loud, booming, ear-shattering.

We’ve tried ignoring the behavior, but it isn’t stopping. I’m desperate.

Have you experienced this? What else can we try?

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19 Responses

  • avatar Teresa says:

    Just read this the other day – maybe something in it is helpful!

  • avatar Anna says:

    I am sure others will have lots to say. I live with one who likes to bark to come back inside… and she barks when she is super happy.. And when I am trying to teach her new tricks… You could try to teach a quiet command and reward when he is quiet. So sort of like ignoring the barking but praising the quiet?

    The barking at you when ignoring him though is a sure sign of him needing more mental stimulation and boundaries maybe? I know Luna fusses at me more when she has not been worked or run in a while. Maybe get some puzzle games or make up your own to wear his brain out some so he doesn’t want to bother barking so much.

    Oh and I hear you on the loud bark part too, people are always shocked that such a big bark came out of a small 37lb girl like mine. Been that way since she was a puppy too, big old loud bay bark.


    • avatar Emily says:

      Anna – we do a lot of puzzles with him (all of his meals are fed from a Kong Wobbler) and he gets a lot of exercise in the form of walks and endless games of fetch…. so I can’t imagine it’s a stimulation thing… but who knows?

      • avatar Anna says:

        Every dog is different in their needs. Any way you can do some off leash running to really hunt and explore? I could walk Luna at heel for hours on a leash and she will come home and do zoomies. She always needs run time to fully settle. And I know if I walk her new places, or places we haven’t been for a while she comes home much more tired than if I did the same areas we go often. So I try and get her to new spots, at least on the weekends. Could also do a back pack on the leash walks to give them more of a job to do and increase the power of the walk.

        If he enjoys the puzzle games I would focus on games that work his nose too. Maybe teach him hide and seek, Luna loves that one and it’s a great way to provide mental stimulation for her even inside. I even took it to the dog park and made her sit and wait as I hid it. She hunted it out in no time.
        Start easy with a toy that is designated for the hide and seek game, something they really love. And they only see it for that game. Build on it to the point of being able to put them in the other room while you hide it. Throw a party when they find it, maybe fetch it a couple times. A key to remember is to only play hide and seek a couple times before you give them a break and put it up. You want to end the game with them wanting more, not being dog tired.
        Keep us posted! He sounds like a lovely dog.

  • avatar Gabi says:

    Well I’m sure he has nothing on my Icelandic Sheepdog :) But she is not an attention barker – she’s more of a “I’m happy, I’m going to tell everyone!” “I’m sad, I’m going to tell everyone!” “A leaf moved, I’m going to tell everyone!” Of course these dogs were bred to bark at the sign of anything being slightly different, so there’s only so much I can ask her to change. The key for us has been teaching a quiet command – we’re not saying she can’t bark, just that she stops barking when we ask. She also will redirect away from barking pretty quickly if you call her name.

    As far as attention barking goes – maybe instead of ignoring him, ask him for a “quiet” and a “sit” or something, and only give him what he wants when he’s sitting. So he might still bark for a while but eventually he will transfer the barking to the sitting… He learns that it’s the sitting that’s actually getting him what he wants, and not the barking. Kind of like transferring a cue or a reward.

    • avatar Emily says:

      Ha ha! Sounds like your sheepdog has a lot in common with Moby! 😉 That is a great idea though about transferring the behavior to a “sit.” I am going to have to try that!

  • avatar peaceabull says:

    Is it possible that he thinks he’s supposed to do that? Especially at the door, maybe? I don’t know, Ray hardly every barks, but if he’s lost a toy or something under a chair, he will make a woowoo sound for us to come help. The other day, he shoved his kong in my lap and barked at me, so I put his kong in the sink and walked out of the room. I’m wondering if maybe ignoring the barking isn’t letting him know what you want. ..?

    • Sigh…we’re also dealing with this with Nigel right now. In the mornings, especially, he barks to get our attention. It’s not that bad right now but even one of his piercing barks could wake neighbors (and they’re already…perturbed). We’re trying to teach a quiet command and having so-so success with it. Keep us posted if anything works particularly well!!

  • So we call Hurley Sir Whines a Lot. And Sadie & Moby could practically be related with their similar issues, including barking. We chip away at those issues little by little. I’ve come to accept that they are both vocal dogs in their very different ways and I don’t fret about them expressing themselves. I do fret about our ability to control their vocalization. Usually we can easily get Sadie to stop barking but we’re still working on Sir Whines a Lot.

  • avatar OhMelvin says:

    Melvin used to demand bark. I started anticipating those moments (say when he wanted to go out). He’d head toward the ‘go out’ door and instead of me waiting until he got there and started barking, i’d follow him and have him immediately sit, then treat him. Eventually he’d go to the go out door and sit and wait for me. It didn’t happen over night, but it did happen. Also, he used to bark at me for attention (during the very early days). When he’d bark, i’d get up and go into another room with a door and shut the door, I’d come out when he wasn’t barking and go back and sit down. Eventually, he started associating barking at me, with my leaving. Maybe you and Daniel could bond in the loo for hour upon end to train him?!!

  • avatar Hannah k. says:

    No big barkers on our end – Ed is more of a doorbell. He makes sure we know if anyone is in the general vicinity of the house. We’re working on it, too. We don’t mind that he alerts us, but he gets himself too worked up.

  • My dogs went through a huge barking phase when I went through my divorce, and we lived in the house alone. I found that when they barked at something outside, if I went and looked, thanked them and reassured them things were okay, they settled down. They were trying to call my attention to something. Though, there were times they kept up with the barking for no reason, I would break out my “mommy voice” with a sharp “enough” and then praise the quiet. Good luck!

  • The ignore method has never worked well for us – if a dog is trying to get attention and can’t get it from us, they just go and get it from another dog. Barking can start a chain reaction for us. Nellie was really noisy and we finally managed to teach her to hush by counting to 3. If she didn’t, she got a time out (a couple minutes laying quietly at a spot in the kitchen, longer if she kept making noise). We started out with “Do you want a T.O.? 1… Do you want a T.O.? 2…” and gradually moved to just counting once she knew what the counting meant. Now she will hush if my dad asks her to do so. We use counting for various undesirable behaviors with Gambit and it gives him sufficient time to get himself under control.

    Eddie is a barker when excited and it’s a very piercing noise. I’ve been having him go to his room if he barks about something outside – the crate is out of sight of the sliding door. Still working on that one. He also had separation anxiety when Gambit left. Besides working on the anxiety itself, we would go outside and stand by the door. If he was noisy, someone would walk inside, say hush, and leave. If he was quiet, he got a treat. If someone was home while Gambit was on a walk to observe his noise level, he got a treat when Gambit returned only if he had been quiet. Car rides at slower than highway speeds are still a work in progress, but giving him treats for being quiet seems to help and I’ve used “touch” to give him a different behavior to do. Another work in progress. We do encourage barking to go outside, though.

  • Don’t really think I can add to the comments above. Ignoring pretty much never works with barking. Litchi is also a barker and the only thing that has worked for me (to a limited extent) is to always go and see what she’s barking at and then tell her it’s OK and bring her back in. Good luck.

  • Max barks at all kinds of noises. We’ve taught him a “go see” command which makes him run to the window and look, even if nothing is there. It stops him from barking over a noise. I’ve heard that you have to teach them to bark before you teach them not to bark. Max has a steep learning curve on that one.

  • avatar Lyndsey says:

    My Hank is a barker/whiner/talker. Ignoring it doesn’t always work. If he barking right at me, I will tell him quiet it (which is something he has kind of learned) if he refuses to be quiet I get up and walk away from him. The other suggestions are great as well, I get curb his habit. I’ve learned to live with it really, doesn’t bother me that much. I might just be deaf my age 35…

  • avatar Emily says:

    We don’t have a barker. We do have a crier. (It’s Hades.) Braylon is one of the least vocal dogs you’ll ever meet. Our dogs only bark at the door for the most part. The most they bark is when the pool guy comes once a week. You think they’d get used to it but not yet.
    I guess ignoring it is the only advice I have. I’m pretty patient but I am sure my ignoring would turn into an occasional “shut it.” Yeah, don’t take advice from me 😉

  • Please do a post on barking if you do figure it out. Badger is a whiner in the morning, a barker for meals, and a howler if he hears anything. We do try to wait until he’s quiet before giving him whatever he wants, but sometimes the noise will last for 10+ minutes, and I don’t want our apartment complex to hate us.