Got a Barking Problem?


Honored Member
Staff member
I've noticed that there've been a few posts on excessive barking lately. Zeke recently developed this, and I thought I'd post what I've been doing.

For those of you who know severe separation anxiety cases, you know that they don't overcome it overnight. Especially extremely timid dogs. Well, Zeke falls into this category. He is much better than he was when he was a pup, but just recently he's started becoming a barker. A lot of this is probably because I haven't had as much time to spend with the mutts lately, so he's kinda bored. When I'm out messing with the lambs, steers, or horses(or if I just leave the yard), he immediately starts barking non-stop. This is due in part to the separation anxiety, and part to the fact that he is from working stock, and likes to do so. He wants to go out and work while I am out. Anywho, so...

I started by petting and playing with him, just like normal. I would stop momentarily, and if he sat quietly(he didn't really have the time not to), then I would reward him with praise and petting. I slowly increased the time, then I started turning around. I would turn my back to him, then immediately spin back around and pet and praise him. After many repetitions, I would turn around a take a step or two, spin back around and pet him again. (He usually follows. I didn't tell him to stay, although you can do this. In fact it might be best.) I increased my steps, then eventually got to reaching for the gate(that goes to the other animals). Repetition, repetition, repetition, then opening the gate, repetition....and so on until I was walking a few steps away with the gate closed behind me. It is a very slow process, but it is proving very beneficial for Zeke. Also, if I'm leading one of the steers, Zeke barks nonstop. I found another method that has also been good for him....someone else was leading the calf, and I was just absent-mindedly playing fetch with Zeke. Of course, he wasn't barking...he was playing fetch. We did this for a while, and then I walked off....and he was still playing with toys. Of course, if something's in his mouth, he can't bark. He quickly solved his own problem. When he normally felt the urge to bark, he'd run over to a toy and start chewing on it and tossing it around. This just started a week or so ago, so occasionally he'll still bark. When this happens, I'll let someone else take the calf and I'll go play fetch for a while. Of course, this may be negative for some dogs. They may see this as a way to get attention, and will bark to get you to come play. So, it may not work for all dogs. Anywho, both of these methods have been great for Z. He's not barking near as much now. So for those of you who have barkers, hope this is helpful for you. :dogsmile: