View Full Version : selective hearing!

17th April 2008, 06:01 PM
aloha everyone, maile is now about 13 months old. she is a love and a sweetheart but when she is in "dog mode" she is in her own little world and just seems not to listen. she is quite the watch dog, loves to watch the yard for cats and children, leaves and who knows what. when she is barking I tell her to hush after a few barks but she just keeps going. when I tell her to hush again she sometimes will but, it seems to be an after thought for her. when this first started I didn't correct her at first bark as I was worried I would be teaching her it was ok. she completely tunes me out if a cat is in our yard. she gets worked up excitedly barking, and will run around the house to the windows that face the yard, then scramble out the dog door to the yard, and run the length of the fence barking. she is really in her own world then, and tunes me out almost completely. she has always been a bit independent, at times she would prefer not to be picked up and comes to you most of the time when you call but will stay just out of reach. (on the other hand she can sit up like a champ for a treat and roll over like a circus dog. now that she is barking I may try to get her to speak for a treat) we have very limited obedience classes here and I am now working again, so the solution may be up to me to put into action. any suggestions would be great. thanks in advance.

17th April 2008, 09:39 PM
Miles gets very "focused" sometimes too, especially when he's out in our patio and sees another dog being walked, or even just a neighbor...I've noticed that it helps when I touch him if he doesn't respond to my voice right away. I think the touch kind of breaks whatever "trance" he's in...sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. I think many animals have selective hearing though...I know our cats do! :rolleyes:

19th April 2008, 03:58 AM
Is the question how to stop this when you are around, or when you are out? Or both?

Basically, it is very hard for many dogs not to get overexcited at a cat or something they like to bark at. There are two remedies and basically you need to do both to limit and control the behaviour but you aren't going to have a magic solution ever that just stops it, if you have a reactive dog.

The first approach is to eliminate the possibility for her to get so overwrought. That means (depending on your house layout) closing curtains, not giving her free access to run out a dog door, confining her to a single room so she cannot run through the rooms of a house barking out the windows, rearranging furniture so she can;t get up on it to look out if that is an issue, etc.

The second approach is as you guessed: you will absolutely have to put in daily time for training. No dog learns things once in obedience and then that is it for life. Just as with kids, good behaviour is constantly rehearsed, encouraged, rewarded. If she isn't paying any attention to you at all, she doesn't feel she has to because there isn't enough training done yet to make her understand she needs to always return when called. Also if you cannot put her into a relaxed downstay, then just calling her back to you isn't going to solve the issue anyway -- she needs the time put into training to learn better self control to learn how to relax on command, to happily be sent to her bed and maybe given a favourite toy as a reward and be put into a downstay instead of chasing a cat. It's a time investment but there's a great payoff!

There's lots of training info on www.deesdogs.com (http://www.deesdogs.com) on working with overstimulated dogs, teaching 'relax', teaching recall, etc -- all those things are the tools a dog needs to know to have the kind of self control you are looking for. :) Also: if she is getting this overexcited maybe she needs more things to do during the day? At least an active hour of walking for example -- a tired and exercised dog won;t feel the need to entertain itself by chasing and barking. Also -- stimulating toys like a stuffed kong; time interacting with you, playing fetch etc -- all these things keep a dog busy, not looking for outside stimulus.

FInally: if the problem is while you are there at home, then of course you'll need to do a combo of both of the above. If the problem is when you are away, then also you need to do a combo of both but it is easier to control her environment when you are away by confining to one room, no access outside, closing curtains, leaving a radio on to drown out stimulating noises, etc. She is also a very young dog too and this can add to her level of overexcitement. But you need to be training her very actively now or the behaviour will become ingrained and very hard to ever change.

19th April 2008, 08:22 AM
thanks karlin, I will check out the website. I don't want her to be this distracted always, so I will do my best to try to solve it. I think she is fine when I am gone. I walk her almost everyday at least around the block or so and try to go to the park 4 days a week or more, where I put her on a 100 foot rope and run in the fields. she has a ton of toys and plays with them all and can entertain herself for quite some time. she isn't constantly barking, but if a cat goes by or walks our fence line, she turns into a mini watch dog. closing the door is a great idea too, thanks. its so warm here I don't know how feasible it is but it is worth a try. I think trying to get her calm and relaxed in a down stay sounds like a great place to begin as well. I will start this today. thanks for the help, it sounds like this will be something I will have to work on for sometime before it becomes a habit for her. I would hate for this to become a life long habit. thanks again and warmest aloha