View Full Version : Need help with a barking problem (toward strangers) and foster update!

29th June 2009, 06:48 PM
Hi all, I posted a couple weeks ago about my current foster, and 8 YO female that came in half bald with lesions. Vet determined it was a flea allergy and he was right! It's amazing how much better she looks today- hair is all growing in nicely, no more scratching, and she's generally an easy girl to live with, EXCEPT....

When she sees strangers (on walks too) but especially when they come in to the house, she goes bonkers with the non-stop barking! There is nothing I can do to calm her. If I stand in front of her and say "no" she is quiet. But as soon as I turn away, she starts again. I've been having the new people ignore her and then after a few minutes give her treats. Of course, she stops barking to eat the treats, but then starts right back up again. It's a nervous, protective bark~ not a friendly "how ya doin" bark.

Any advice on how I can help her with this issue? This is going to make her difficult to adopt out- I can just see the new family coming to meet her and her barking at them like a wild child! Not a great first impression. She is a real sweet heart any other time....Help!

30th June 2009, 02:17 PM
Well, this wouldn't be uncommon but also can take a lot of time to start to address... time and consistency in training. She is unlikely to turn into a quiet easy dog while in foster -- really this might be the type of dog where the rescue needs to be giving training support and perhaps viewing the dog as a longer term training & foster prospect or will need to place in an experienced dog home capable of training? That would be my own approach.

You however could start with this at home as basically this sounds like an overexcited overaroused dog, perhaps also anxious:


I'd also totally ignore this behaviour at home. Even your 'no' may simply reinforce and you don't want to treat the unwanted behaviour as a reinforcement -- probably you'd want a professional assessment to determine of this is fear or a learned behaviour (eg it is productive to bark now as this produces lots of attention). Does the rescue have someone who does these sorts of assessments? With a dog like this, where a possible fear behaviour could accelerate into something more risky, I'd want a proper assessment and then a determination made on whether this is a dog ready for rehoming in the near to medium term. A trainer would have a good idea whether this is something that some focused training could address or whether it signifies the start of something more worrying. This is exactly the type of dog I'd be bringing in to Dog Training Ireland for assessment. :thmbsup: Also: I'd consider not exposing her to all visitors -- maybe she is just getting overwhelmed and she may really need more quiet chill out time at this point rather than encounter strange new people? Hard to know.

30th June 2009, 08:12 PM
The barking is definitely worse with men. She never barks at children, only barks at women for a couple minutes at the most, but barks nonstop at men, especially older men.

We don't have a parade of guests coming over to the house, but I do have family that comes over on occasion. After a few minutes, if she doesn't settle, I really have no other choice than to crate her in my bedroom. She still barks, but at least it's muffled by the door. :(

We really don't have a behaviorist that we work with in our rescue although we recently had one do an assessment on an aggressive Cavalier, but she didn't work with us on the charge. Do you think this is something we should consider for her? THanks for the link to the calming work. She's had NO obedience training, so I'm just starting to work with her on simple things like "sit".