View Full Version : Bark Bark! Barking at inanimate objects

1st March 2011, 01:15 AM
I seem to be posting with questions every few days now! I hope that is alright :)

Anyway, today's question is about Brooklyn's new bark...it seems like she has just found it! But she does not bark at the door, doorbell, people, dogs (unless she is play bowing and play barking)...she just barks at inanimate objects, like the vaccume (when its not even on), the air, the TV, rain, a balcony the overlooks our backyard (I check, no one is on it, they have no animals, it is very strange). Sometimes she just barks at the air in the backyard.

Now, she is not barking all the time. These are one offs, like one (maybe two) little "sessions" a day. But I do find it very strange, and it just started out of no where :lpy:
As a reminder she is 19 weeks.

Oh, and I do not go to her, I do not give her attention, I practice the no talk, no touch, no eye contact (or even just ignore and walk away) when she barks or whines. If she is outside, I just leave her until she is quiet for 3-4 minutes and then go to her. However, I worry when she is going on an on at something that she will bug people and I also wonder why she is scared or pissed at these things. I would love to help her and I would also like to know how to stop her without giving into attention giving mode.

This morning I sat with the Vacuum cleaner for about 30 min (I took it out before she barked and did all this before she barked) and put treats all over it so she would have to come get them off...i.e. vacuum equals treats a yummy happy stuff. It worked for a few minutes, but she is not that food motivated and if a treat fell off she would get startled and bark. Then go back, but like stretching her paw out and crouched really low to the ground! So, this plan might work for the things I can do it with...but air? Rain? A balcony?

Any tips and tricks? Did you puppy go through this? I want to be able to get her to stop, but just not sure how to without engaging.


1st March 2011, 03:52 AM
Holly is not a barker, but does do so at times -- always at inanimate objects like you describe. I've noticed that it seems to be a bit like OCD -- she does not like change, particularly in her favorite places in the house or the yard. She barks at the absence of things. Like when we had our trees trimmed -- she barked at the air where the limbs used to be. Or at Christmas when I moved furniture to make room for the tree. Or, most recently, when we got a new table and chair set for our lanai. She seems to not appreciate that being in the space.

I've heard that this is not uncommon. I just chalk it up to Holly being very particular as to where things should be. I can distract her and it does not seem to be a true obsessive action. I just tell her "okay" or "enough" and she settles down. It took a bit of training, but really didn't take too long.

1st March 2011, 03:59 AM
Mine don't bark that much. Unless there are animals on TV, then all three bark like crazy. We tried to watch the dog show but finally just gave up !:)

Kate H
1st March 2011, 10:51 AM
Bear in mind that Cavaliers - like most dog breeds except the sight hounds like greyhounds and salukis - do not have very good long sight. So what seems to us clearly a person 20 yds away is to a Cavalier a strange, not very distinct object that could be a person, but could equally be a cat, a dog, a branch swaying in the wind, a rubbish bin. The puppy reaction is to bark at it, but my experience is that this calms down as they get out and about more and meet more strange objects. After all, vacuum cleaners chase you round the house and need to be kept in their place - 'don't you dare move!' (and it works, of course - Brooklyn barks at the vacuum and it doesn't move!). I think (at risk of sounding like a child psychologist!) Brooklyn is growing up and testing her boundaries and her ability to organise her environment - rather like a toddler who starts bossing the cat! Eventually she will get the message that all the barking in the world doesn't actually stop you walking round with the vacuum.

It helps to positively reinforce non-barking by saying 'Quiet' firmly and as soon as there is a moment of hush, giving a treat - this works well with Oliver when he is having a bark through the garden fence, he knows that if he stops when told and comes indoors he will get a treat. Some people also find that deliberately teaching your dog to bark on command helps, as they then only do it when told.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

1st March 2011, 11:51 AM
I definitely think it's a puppy phase. Lucy used to do it a lot up until she was about 18 months- yapping at the vacuum, the wind, the toilet- anything really! It used to freak me out so much if I was home alone at night and she'd get fixated at a point on the wall or ceiling and just bark and growl at it like she could see something I couldn't.

I just didn't give her any attention and I would usually move to another part of the room and start doing something that would grab her attention and she'd mosey over to see what I was at and forget about the barking. She's not a big barker anyway but I definitely think it was a form of play for her. Even now she loves to drag a squeaky toy into the centre of the room and just yap at it and occasionally whack it with her paw.

1st March 2011, 05:35 PM
Our two do things like this all the time. Anything out of the ordinary they will bark at but not necessarily the same thing. Sam barking and crying at my son's bike helmet the other day, we just see what he is barking at and let him smell it or out it away. Charlie will bark at things that move around like if something is blowing around the garden, or frogs (he really hates frogs) ha ha. The crouched thing is normal too, Sam does this to Charlie when he wants him to play with him or if Charlie has a toy in the bed and Sam wants it he does this (he is too scared to get the toy because Charlie is the boss ha ha). Its all normal and soon will be normal in your house ha ha.

1st March 2011, 08:57 PM
Did not know that their sight was that limited for distances... explains a LOT! But Gracie does bark at funny things too sometimes. Especially if hubby's pants are draped on something. She think it is a half-person hanging there I guess! :biggrin:

1st March 2011, 10:44 PM
i am having a similar barking issue - the pup is still very young at 13 weeks, but likes the sound of her voice. she yelps and whines and barks at random stuff and then stares at me and barks to get attention. i really hope this is just puppy barking that will pass. i tell her quiet and try to distract her with toys, but it doesn't work often. barking is my biggest pet peeve so i'm hoping to pass through this stage right quick!

1st March 2011, 10:59 PM
Gracie was growling at something in the wall in a corner near kitchen. Could not see anything there or hear anything either. Turned out we had evidence of a mouse the next day.... right in that area. Put out a trap on the counter and got it. So... I think sometimes they really do sense things that we just can't. Other times.... they are just barking for the heck of it. It has gotten much better. Gracie used to bark at every bird that flew or hopped by. Now she knows that they are really not catchable and ignores most of them.

2nd March 2011, 02:50 PM
My best story about our Sophie barking at *something* . . . she was six months old, sitting by me at the computer, barking madly at something and would not stop, in spite of my best efforts to quiet her. After deciding to determine what she was barking at, I discovered water dripping from the ceiling, and landing on the flooded carpet in the upstairs guest bedroom --- where I was expecting guests in 24 hours. Well done, Sophie! The A/C condensation drain had gotten stopped up in the middle of a heat wave. If not for Sophie, I would have been clueless and we would have had water coming downstairs thorugh the kitchen (under that guest room) ceiling by the next day and a real di$a$ter on our hands. My little Cavi pup got lots of praise that night. :luv:

While her random barking at stuff can drive me nuts, I've learned my lesson: sometimes there is something to it, so I don't chastise her too much. But she does like to bark at people & dogs waaay down the street, yet never anyone at our front door. Silly dog ... I've taught her that the command "Enough" means stop barking and come sit by me.

Kate H
2nd March 2011, 07:39 PM
Having said that dogs don't have very good long sight, they do of course have considerably better hearing and smell than humans, so that often when they seem to be barking at nothing, they may actually have smelt a mouse or heard its scuffling, or heard a faint dog bark from down the road, and they can pick up the footsteps or smell of people they know before they are within clear sight, even the sound of 'their' car's engine/tyres.

What I don't know is why Aled barks his head off when crossing the road in the company of Oliver, but doesn't make a sound when on his own!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

2nd March 2011, 08:37 PM
I have put together an amusing little chapter relating to senses :p www.cavaliermatters.org (http://www.cavaliermatters.org)

It is under the furry facts section


7th March 2011, 01:07 AM
The first time Bentley saw clothes on the clothesline, flapping in the breeze, it scared him so that he retreated to the porch and continued to stare. We had to leave the house for 3-4 hours, leaving him in his cage, and when we returned and let him out to potty he immediately looked the direction of the clothesline to see if the scary thing was still there. Now that he has seen me applying the clothes to the line he's OK with it.