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Sally G.
Sally G., Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 9687
Experience:  Service /assistance dog trainer,Therapy dog evaluator and trainer, AKC evaluator, pet first aide and member of PAS Animal Response Team.
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Help stop barking and aggressiveness

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Our 13yr old rescue Yorkie, which we have had for 3 years now, has started barking a lot when people come over. She has also taken to running around little kids and barking at them like she might bite them. We don't understand what is going on with her and what to do to stop this..

Sally G. :


Hello, thank you for using this site to help you with your problem. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I have been in the dog field for 25 years. It will be my pleasure to help you today. Please understand that I may send an information request so that I may gather what I need to better help you with your problem

Sally G. :

Does she seem a bit hard of hearing or have you not had her tested?

Sally G. :

How long has she been around little children?

Sally G. :

What have you tried so far?

Sally G. :

It seems you may have stepped away from the computer. I will switch this over to normal question and answer and when you return you can answer my questions so I can better help you

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
She seems to hear just fine as she responds if I am in another part of the house. There are no little children around her most of the time but she carries on like this every time she is.. We have tried using a sonic egg for no barking as well as picking her up and trying to calm her when she is carrying on around little ones. We have even taken her from the room they are in but when they walk past us she goes crazy again. She was in a cage for 10 years and used for breeding. The puppy mill was shut down for abuse. She has not been crated since we have had her. I will not put her through that again.
Thank you Cathy for that information. I asked about hearing because as dogs age they lose some of their hearing which makes them more vocal.

Since she is not around children most of the time, this can be quite upsetting to a dog that has not grown up with them or been around them on a regular basis. Children have sudden body movements and high pitched squeals and screeches that it sounds and looks like prey, or it makes a dog nervous because they do not know what is going to happen next.

Also dogs rarely see children as an equal or above them so caution should always come first and you are right to remove her.

What I would suggest if you are wanting her around children is to do training with her when children are around so she knows how you want her to act. IF she is not around children much then she probably was not taught how to react to them or how you expect her to act around them so she takes it upon herself to keep them away from her by acting out. Let's face it, no one is going to approach a barking lunging dog, so in essence her reaction to children works for her.

I would like to see you do some clicker trainng using a high value reward that she will only get when she is around children and obeying your commands of sit and stay, as well as quiet. You can teach speak and quiet to her so she knows the difference/. I will direct you to a site that shows how to do this, BY clicker training around children with a high value reward she should soon associate children being near with something good happening to her. I would start training at a distance where she is comfortable and not barking so find a park or school recess time and train across the street. This way she can see and hear the children but they are not a threat. Gradually work her closer to the area.

I will direct you to a site for clicker training as well in case you are not familiar with it. This will take you step by step in commands. Many of these commands she may already know which is good but you want to firm them up so that she listens to them when kids are around. I am sure she loses focus from you vocal commands when kids are in the area. So you are not training to train obedience per say, you are training to show her how you want her to act around kids.

At some point when you think you have her under control it would be a good idea to ask a child to just walk by, drop a treat and keep walking so that the dog sees that good things come from kids also. You will need to find a responsible child that can listen to your instruction. The child should not look at the dog, talk to , or try to pet in the beginning as these are all seen as threats to a dog.So just drop the treat and keep walking at normal pace.

Once you have rated my answer I would like to schedule a free follow up with you to see how things are going or if you need more help with this problem. Should any new problems arise, you can open a new question and request me if you wish for me to help you again.

Clicker training/positive method training

video’s to see how clicker training is done, scroll down to videos

Training quiet and speak
Sally G. and 2 other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Hello Cathy,
I am just checking in to see how things are going with training your Yorkie around children.