Monday, March 25, 2013
Training Lily NOT to Bark
Lily has never been a good nor a consistent watchdog. She's far too people friendly. When the neighbor dogs get going sometimes, she might join in - but they have to keep going for awhile before Lily thinks there might be something she needs to voice an opinion on. She's hit or miss with the front door. 99% of the time, she's not barking, but racing to the door (because everyone comes to the house to see HER, right?). There will be a time or two that she is startled awake by the door and might bark, but those times are rare. We love it.
We had a lovely couple move in to the front house on our property with their amazing dog a few months ago. They have what we think is a border collie/husky mix? Who knows. She's full of sweet, but a fierce defender of the property. If she doesn't know you, she will let you know that you are not welcome. Her growl and bark are intimidating as hell. Unfortunately, they had Lily on edge. She felt if August were barking at something, she needed to be in on it. The first few times that she jumped to her feet in full bark scared the bejesus out of all of us (including the cats). After that, it just got annoying. Because when August is in 'bark' mode, she can go on for hours. She'll shoot barks out in bursts, then quiet. Just as you relax, she's shooting more barks out. I did not want to lose my non-reactive dog (or my sanity). What to do?
Lily got rewarded for NOT barking. The second August let out a bark, I would say, "Good girl, Lily!" before she could respond. It was quite comical the first few times as her expression clearly showed that she had no idea what the good girl was for. We would toss her a cookie or small treat. It took less than a week to correct this behavior entirely. At the sound of August's voice, she would immediately look to us. "Good girl!" *Toss cookie* After the first week, we pulled back on the treats, but kept up the verbal praise. Now, we no longer have to do either. August barks and Lily doesn't even flinch. We have our peace and quiet back (if you don't count the loud barrage of August noise).
What about you - is your dog a barker? Have you tried training your dog not to bark?