Debarking

Discussion in 'Working and Companion Animals' started by slnj, Dec 18, 2006.

  1. slnj

    slnj Well-Known Member

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    I know this will get dog owners highly ticked, but I don't know what else to do.
    We picked up a stray in July, from a parking lot. Her front leg was rotted half off. We took her to our vet, he removed her leg and when she healed, we had her treated for heartworms and spayed.
    She's an ok little dog, except for the constant shrill barking. My DH likes her a lot, but I can't seem to bond with this dog.
    She's an inside dog, but gets lots of outside time with the other dogs and cats.
    All day....barkbarkbark...in the middle of the night, barkbarkbark. It's driving me crazy.
    Taking her to the shelter isn't an option, what else can we do?
     
  2. beorning

    beorning Well-Known Member

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    I'd crate her at night in a room that doesn't let a lot of noise out and close the door, so you can at least get a decent nights sleep.

    Sounds like she's led a hard life. I'd probably be barking my head off all the time too. Finding out why she's barking would be helpful. If she's figured out that she gets more attention when she barks, she's going to keep doing it. For a dog that has been through a lot, even negative attention might be preferable to no attention at all. It's hard to say exactly what the answer might be, not knowing the dog, but consistantly demonstrating to her that the barking is not going to be rewarded and her being quiet will be might be a good start.

    At the risk of causing offense, one of those "no-bark" electronic collars might be helpful.
     

  3. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would opt for the no-bark collar too. You can buy electric ones or ones that squirt citronella.

    Thanks for taking care of her.
     
  4. goatmarm

    goatmarm Well-Known Member

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  5. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    I have used the citronella collar with excellent results. Our one Lab would bark at about 2-3 am every night. I'd put the collar on him just at night. It worked very well. I found it to be an effective, humane solution. I think they were only about $30 at Jeffers. www.jefferspet.com
     
  6. slnj

    slnj Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the helpful replys, I'll try just about anything right now.
    We live in a two room w/bath cabin, so it's kind of hard to put her where I can't hear her.
    Possibly she was a city dog, and now she hears country sounds.
    I'm probably just cranky from being sleep deprived :sleep: <---wants this
    I'll try the collar, I'm having a real hard time giving her any treats right now.

    Thanks all!
     
  7. Willowynd

    Willowynd Well-Known Member

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    I have collies- which is known to be a barky breed. My dogs are expected to be quiet and for the most part they are (except when girls come into season, then they are quiet soon after she comes up the house). They got this way from training. I start as pups and teach them the word "enough". They are told enough, then if they are not quiet- I grasp thier muzzle and look into thier eyes to make sure I have thier attention- repeating the word once. I then praise as soon as they are quiet. I will repeat several times if needed. If the dog is quiet until I walk away, then I use a soft velcro muzzle and say enough as I put it on, then praise and walk away I leave it on for about 15-20 minutes. Then take it off and hang it on the fence in sight but out of reach. If the dog starts barking, I give one chance for it to respond to enough, if it does not-repeat muzzle/command/praise/remove/hang on fence. Generally I do not have to repeat this more than 2-3 times. My home is generally very quiet (except for the roosters crowing), though I do have one girl that will bark as the ducks are leaving or coming home. Now- the debarked rescue I have is more difficult to correct as I do not always hear her bark right way. I would much rather have them be able to bark if needed and have enough voice for me to hear them for correction when it is not.
    I have thought of using a no bark collar that releases citronella for the debarked one, I agree with those as they do not cause the dog discomfort- just a correction. I beleive these are best backed up with the verbal command.
     
  8. GoldenMom

    GoldenMom Well-Known Member

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    I would definitely give a collar a try. Debarked dogs trying to bark can be as (or more) annoying than actual barking-it's a high pitched raspy severely annoying sound.
     
  9. belladulcinea

    belladulcinea Well-Known Member

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    Willowynd, that is so funny about your collies barking, we thought Mike was barkless until he was about 8 months old and got really excited and barked at me. At which time he sat down with the funniest look on his face. Neither he nor the chow mix barked unnecessarily except at the squirrels before they caught them and played tug of war with them.

    My mom has used a bark collar with her border mix the only thing with him is it did make him a little more nervous but it did help with barking. She has since been able to reinforce the no barking and uses "enough" as the stop command.
     
  10. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

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    My sheltie is a barker and we have worked with her to learn the "Quiet" command. She does fairly well most of the time. Just keep working with the dog and in the meantime you may bond with her. She may just be barking out of insecurity and new sounds in the country, probably in a few more months she will feel more secure and will settle in better. I have to say I felt sorry for the poor little thing when I heard her story. Bless you and your DH for taking her in and getting her medical treatment.
     
  11. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Barking releases endorphins, which make the dog feel good. Dogs that are constant barkers often bark out of boredom, then find that it literally makes them feel better.

    Since this dog has had a hard life, I don't think you should use any negative corrective measures with her. Teach her the hush command, as Goatmarm suggested. You can first teach her to "speak" (shouldn't be too diffecult), then hush. Reward her for speak when you command it, then hush after one or two barks. When she's very reliable, only reward her for hush. If she is standing or running when she's barking, put her on a down, which will stop the barking for a second. Then, give the hush command and reward her.

    Raw bones area also supposed to help with this type of problem. She can't be barking when she's chewing, and the chewing helps to release some of her anxiety. I don't know why bones do a better job than toys or rawhide, but apparently they do.

    Dogs from harsh backgrounds do real well with clicker training. Why don't you get a clicker training book and get started on her. Most of them have instructions on stop barking.

    Kudos for you for taking in this poor pup :angel:
     
  12. suburbanite

    suburbanite Well-Known Member

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    She could also have phantom limb pain where her leg was removed. In humans one treatment for this is a drug called neurontin, which is also used as a seizure medication at higher doses. Ask your vet if a trial of an anti-seizure medication that is safe for dogs might be in order.

    If not, send an email to Cesar Milan and see if he'll take your case on his show.
     
  13. JasoninMN

    JasoninMN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Debarking a dog does not make them silent. Instead you will have a dog that sounds like is is gagging nonstop and sickly. Make me want to puke when I hear it. YUCK.
     
  14. suburbanite

    suburbanite Well-Known Member

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    http://www.dogpsychologycenter.com/

    this guy is amazing. He teaches people to 'speak dog' so that the dog feels it is in a proper doggie pack structure and stops being neurotic. His methods could help you.
     
  15. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

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    'This guy' is an idiot with no real training in behavioral psychology and has set humane training back 30 years. Skip this link.

    Willowynd's method is great and worked well with Mal, who initially barked just because he liked the sound of his own voice. He's not SILENT now but has decreased to a normal level of barkiness. (IE, there's a dog in the walkway or a cat on the patio or his waterbowl is empty.)
     
  16. Ninn

    Ninn Custom Crochet Queen

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    I was just going to post about this very topic. Our one year old Akita "Panda" never used to bark unless someone came to the door. Since we moved into the trailer park, she has picked up some very bad habits from the dogs next door. (they bark at anything that moves) We already know we need to put a fence up that is high enough to prevent her from seeing into other yards-she sees dogs and starts to bark. She prefers to be indoors with me when I am in and out when I am out. However, she won't stay in long if it's nice outside and our definitions of nice definitely do not match. She has begun to bark at every little thing that moves. People walking down the driveways. The school bus and every car that goes by on the road. (they keep going, so it must be working) She barks incessantly at the little dog down the hill, just because she doesn't like him!! The words "stop" and "quiet" do not seem to carry any weight with her any more. I know sometimes she barks out of boredom-she does not get walked as often as I would like right now, and that aggravates her no end. I tried one of those little noisemakers, but DS can also hear it, so that's out. She has bones, toys, companionship and positive reinforcement. She gets treats regularly, and is currently working the daylights out of a beef joint. I really think she is in competition with those other dogs to see who is in charge! Will the fence help? She doesn't bark at them when she can't see them. (as much)
     
  17. belladulcinea

    belladulcinea Well-Known Member

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    We use Millan's techniques with Bella and she is doing wonderful. I have a background in dog training and not all methods work with all dogs. His technique for food aggression worked remarkably for us and for getting her to bark when it's "necessary". Anyone who can work the dogs he works with and helps them keep their homes when the possibility is eunthanasia is the next thing is at least worth listening to. Besides he not retraining the dog, he's helping people see that they are dogs not people.
     
  18. slnj

    slnj Well-Known Member

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    The barking problem has been resolved, at least for me!
    My BIL has her now, he said he wanted a dog that would bark to let him know when anything was going on outside. Well, he's got that now, in spades! She will let him know when the wind blows, when the grass moves, when birds chirp........
    The barking was bad enough, but she was running my few remaining chickens all over the place.
    I understand that she must have had a hard life, and I'm glad we could make it better for a bit. I'm also glad that my BIL will be able to do that now instead of us.
    Thanks for the helpful replies to this problem, I appreciated it.

    Happy Holidays, all!
     
  19. wombatcat

    wombatcat Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    DH and I fostered a golden retriever mix for a brief period of time a few years ago, who had been debarked prior to us coming into the picture. It was easy to see why she had been debarked, she did really bark nonstop every minute of the day while she was awake :rolleyes:
    The problem was, though, that even though she had been debarked, she did still bark all day long, and it was still extremely annoying. She was still able to make noise, it was just squeakier and kind of like a loud whisper as opposed to a bark. We still found her barking very annoying, even though it was, no doubt harder to hear. What finally happened was, when there was room at the shelter for her, they had a trainer work with her. She did get adopted and did not come back, so I can only assume that her new owners were able to control the barking. I believe that your best bet would be to find a trainer who can help you with this issue. There are a lot of approaches that seem to help, and definitely not as controversial as debarking.
    Good luck, no matter what, and thanks for saving your pooch!