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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16545
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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Hi We have a 14month old male cavalier / poodle cross. He

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We have a 14month old male cavalier / poodle cross. He has started barking a lot recently - at just about anything & everything. Sometimes he will be out in the back garden & he will bark at nothing at all.

We have recently moved into a rented house while our new house is finished - the builders are behind with it.

Any help / advise would be appreciated.
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today. Just like an in person consult, I've got some questions to help me fully understand what to do with Harper.

What have you tried to get him to stop barking?

Does he only bark when he's outside, or does he do it in the house too?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

We have tried distracting him when he is barking - he is doing it both inside & outside & for no apparent reason as well.


Thanks so much for the information. I really appreciate it.

It's a sad fact that some dogs are simply born to be barkers. When you factor in the fact your dog is still pretty young and the fact he's a small breed (who are infamous for not stopping once they start something...including barking) and you've got the perfect combination for a gold-medal barker.

As I'm sure you already know, yelling at the dog to be quiet won't work because dogs who are already barking, just interpret our yelling as an attempt to join the conversation (for example, if the dog is barking at the mailman, he's saying, "Hey! Owner! Come see who's outside!! Is this a friend? Is it an enemy?? What should I be doing right now?? Oh, you're barking loud too, so I should probably keep barking!!!"). Any yelling we do can accidentally encourage them to keep barking.

We're going to need to train him to act differently when he's barking.

When your guy is barking, you need to ignore him. Wait for him to be quiet, and after a few seconds of silence, start using a key-work like "hush" and then giving him a treat. Make sure you do this immediately...timing is super important, but make sure you don't give him a treat until he's been silent for a few seconds. Try thinking like your dog...would you rather keep making noise, or be quiet and get a yummy treat?

Do this training several times daily until your dog has figured out that the key word means it's time to be quiet, and that being silent brings treats, but that making noise doesn't get him anything. Over time, you're going to make the time between when he's barking and his quiet longer and longer. After a few weeks of training, you should be able to use the key word when he's actually barking and then giving him the reward when he stops.

It's important to remember to not repeat the key word over and over, since this can actually encourage him to keep barking rather than being quiet.

I also like using a back-up plan: diversion. Instead of using the 'hush' cue when he's barking, you can call him over to you and ask him to perform a desired trick like sitting or fetching a toy. Obviously, you don't want him to act like a mute if someone were to be bothering your's good that he's letting you know someone's around...but by making sure to reward his being quiet, rather than his barking, you'll end up with a better behaved dog, and less stress for you worrying about his incessant noise making.

And please, please, PLEASE remember that this behavior didn't start overnight, and as such, you won't be able to break him of this habit in a day or two. Patience (and maybe a pair of ear-plugs) here is the key!

I hope this helps.

Lisa and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you

I'm just following up on our conversation about Harper. How is everything going?