Outside & Barking

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by Katelin, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. Katelin Member

    Hey, guys! :) Been awhile since I have logged in here (and for that I do apologize!) but it wasn't until recently that I decided to finally get a problem I have under control.

    Chance (Male white German Shepherd, maybe one and a half), if I can be really blunt here, has been gritting my nerves. For the past few months, he wants to be outside all the dang time! It's so annoying! I actually Googled the problem but I can't seem to get any help with it! He gets exercise (walks at least four times a week if not more, I attempt to teach him tricks (of late, trying to teach him paw...haha, not working! ;D) but he still wants to be outside all the time.

    He isn't restless inside the house, by the way. Some of the people who attempted to help others, the person with the problem said their dogs were restless; he's not. He chills most of the time (most of the time). But others, he's begging -- literally -- to go outside. He puts his head in my lap or beside me, and looks up at me with those brown eyes.

    I admit, he trained us to let him out whenever he wanted but the past few weeks I've been trying to redirect him. He has no excuse to really even be out there that much. He goes out four times a day (sometimes even five) and one of those four times is usually the walks; in the morning when my mum or I get up (always around six), in the afternoon again at three, out again at five after eating (we call it his free time because he's out there for about two-three hours, with us playing with him and such, this is also usually when we do the walks), and then one more time at around eight or nine before everyone is settling down.

    I think that is a pretty good schedule? So I'm clueless. The even more annoying part is that when he is outside, he barks. Oh, goodness. Even early in the morning. Despite my being woke, I know it has to bother the neighbors though they haven't come to us (mostly because this entire neighborhood is practically family). I wouldn't be surprised if they talked about us because of it.

    So pretty much imagine this for Chance: you go out four times a week for walks and you are out there for about two-three hours, and then during all the days of the week, you go out usually around four times a day for an hour or two. You are usually mentally stimulated with learning tricks as well, yet you still want to be outside all the time/bark at nothing (I know their hearing and smelling are heightened, but really...we can see him from the window barking at squirrels most of the time in the morning; he'll bark up at the trees and make them scatter, and try to chase him...sigh).

    Another side note is when he's in the backyard for that hour, he has to be put on this long rope. We have to or he jumps the fence :| And many a time he has jumped if we try to give him freedom. I have already lost too many dogs (Lady, Dakota, Prince, Ruby...) this past year or so, and one of them, Prince (my baby...) was hit by a car due to the road right by my house. I don't want to lose another/take any more risks if necessary. At one point we had to shorten it the rope because he could still jump the fence, even when hooked up. If anyone has a fix for that, I would love you forever!

    On one YAHOO! answer (I can provide the link if need be), the person suggested an electric collar...eek. I don't want to go down that road :/ I know some just give a funny zing that is harmless (seemingly to us) and don't hurt, but I just don't know...I still don't take to them well. Unless someone here knows a really good one that will do literally no harm.

    Sorry for the long post but goodness. I need some advice!

  2. running_dog Honored Member

    I think your dog sounds young, bored and under exercised, I'd rate GSDs as medium to high energy and very high intelligence. My dog is coming up 6 years old, he is a mature, medium energy, medium intelligence dog. His normal daily schedule is something like this:

    1) Walk (1-2 hours) every morning (exact time and duration depends on my work schedule) this walk includes on and off leash time, playing with other (carefully selected) dogs, chasing crows :ROFLMAO:, playing fetch, jumping, obedience and trick training.
    2) Back home he may have another short (5 -10 minutes) play and training session (usually including shaping/free shaping) before settling down. He knows not to bother me at all while I am working so he sleeps most of the day. He is normally let out once during the afternoon (just to do what he has to do then back inside to sleep).
    3) He is fed after my evening meal, about twice a week he works for his dinner (including revision, duration and free shaping). He is let out into the backyard for five minutes after this and then goes back to sleep.
    4) If he hasn't worked for his dinner we have a play/training session a couple of hours later. This session may last up to an hour depending on my work commitments. We do a lot of recall games, fetch, frisbee, free shaping, as well as tricks revision and duration work. If he has worked for his dinner we just play fetch or frisbee.
    5) He is let out one final time and then we go to bed.

    There are so many kinds of walks - a long slow sniffy on-leash walk is far less use to a dog than the walk I've described for mine, which does your dog get? In England we expect responsible dog owners to walk their dogs EVERY day but I know there are some cultural differences on this.

    There are so many kinds of trick training. Luring a dog to spin, roll over, go around, jump through a hoop, beg, etc is far less use in keeping your dog's brain occupied than free shaping with a clicker so your dog has to THINK. Your dog has to know how to learn before it CAN learn. When and what do you train your dog? Training AFTER his dinner is far less use than training USING his dinner.

    The simplest way to solve the fence jumping is to put up a higher fence. If you don't give your dog something to do while he is outside then he will find his own entertainment - as yours has. What fun is it to sniff the same patch of grass and the same tree day after day after day?

    If I had your dog and your problems I'd walk him daily along the lines of the walk I described giving Zac. I'd train him at least twice a day in addition to this including a lot of high energy activities (tug, fetch, recall games) and intensive brain work (shaping, free shaping and balance). As begging to go outside has become a problem I'd set specific (short) times for him to be outside, if he creates a disturbance I'd just bring him back inside immediately. At other times I'd only take him outside leashed to do what he has to do and then back inside.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  3. running_dog Honored Member

    Kikopup has two videos on training a dog to stay within an invisible barrier.

    This one is about using a positive interrupter to stop unwanted behaviour (in your case barking at squirrels in trees). Maybe you could use a dog whistle as the interrupter as you need some distance? Interesting point at the end regarding paying attention to the dog when he is behaving how you want.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  4. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    //"(walks at least four times a week if not more,"//.....haven't yet read the entire post, so it's probably dumb of me to reply when i haven't yet read the entire post, but that remark surprised me,
    and maybe that is a typo, "per week"? but possibley, your very young dog dog needs at least the typical minimum of 2 good walks per DAY to be satisfied??
    worth a try, is giving this young dog the 2 walks per day he might very well need?
  5. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    I agree with Running dog, your dog sounds a bit bored and under-excercised, under stimulated. I think the #1 cause of most unwanted behaviors from dogs, is BOREDOM.
    A dog sitting out in his yard, by himself*** is not excercise, nor that interesting to the dog.

    A dog all alone by himself usually won't 'excercise' all by himself for very long, and tends to sit down and become bored. Many of these dogs dig holes, too, and bark a lot.

    But most ppl do think, "If a dog is outdoors, he is getting excercise" but really, the dog is often doing not much.

    (***you said you are often out there with him, but when you go back in, he is again by himself)

    Both you,
    and the dog
    might be so so so much happier,:):D:):D:):D
    if you give him two good long walks a day.
    as well as at least an hour or more of good tiring excercise, like fetch, tug, running games, agility, etc.
    And increase the tricks training too, make it a daily thing, a few times a day, even for only a 10 minutes per lesson,
    cuz mental excercise is often very exhausting to dogs, leaves them very satisfied.

    Also, a few times per week, take dog somewhere interesting, like a park, a field where he can run free, or an empty fenced in park/schoolyard/field, whatever, to get him a chance to run full speed off leash.

  6. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Such a great post Rdog, LOVE those videos, i've never seen those, but always wanted to train that!! AWESOME!!
  8. mewzard Experienced Member

    I have Oka who is a GSD cross - she has 2; 30m-1hr walks per day. He honestly needs more exercise....
    That is probably 90% of the reason he wants to go out!! Squirrels are not nothing.. squirrels=prey=chase=adrenaline=fun!!! Oka will happily be asleep but if she hears a dog out, or even my neighbours who have dogs she will sit at the back door and whine, then sit infront of me and whine.... she is never let out (under those circumstances) but she will still do it.

    Also at 18m he is a teenager and will just do stuff coz they feel like it. most GSDs don't mature untill 2- 3 yrs old so they still need alot of guidance.

    I would take him out, and if he barks bringhim back in; instantly (maybe have him on a short lead) this will work on the interim until you have taught him to "shhh" as per the link above...

    RD - thanks for finding that vid - i'd heard she was going to do one but never saw it!! Off to watch it now.
    karleee and tigerlily46514 like this.
  9. karleee Well-Known Member

    Well,I'ld use an invisible boundry along the fenceline.Then I would put a rope on the door and teach him how to let himself out ;)
  10. Anneke Honored Member

    I have one dog, who is perfectly fine on his own outside. He will happily just sniff around, or lie down and look around. But he is almost six years old...
    My 20 months old will find anything to do... Sometimes good things(things that I will allow;)), but mostly bad things... Barking, digging, cutting down the bushes...
    Like the others said, she is bored...
    My dogs get 3 walks a DAY. Two times are about 30 minutes, one is at least 1 hour and filled with play and running. Or when I don't have the time, I take them out by bike.
    I have to, because I don't have a yard... I know I just said, my dogs are outside... Yep, I go over to a friends house a lot, she has a big dogfriendly garden. My dogs can play with her dog, but they still get in trouble...
    Things you can do, to keep your dog busy with good things outside, is feed him there. And I don't mean, just put his bowl out there, but throw his kibble on the ground. THis way he has to look for his food, this will keep him busy for a while. Or put his food in a treatball. Don't know if you know what this is
    This is just an example, they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Kong has the cone, pretty nice one. The advantage of a treatball is, that they have to use their brain, to get to their food, so they get pretty tired.;)
    Bosun and mewzard like this.

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