We created a monster. We take full responsibility, and therefore are doing what we can to undo it. I cant help but think of Dr. Frankenstein's demise as he attempted the same task. I hope we survive!
Cedar has always been pushy about her access to the outside. Remember her bell training? That was an attempt to curtain the barking. The bell was just as annoying. The whole situation is intensified by the fact that our main living space is also a sunroom, which has lovely big windows that let Cedar supervise the back garden. We have tons of trees, so we also have tons of squirrels. We also have rabbits who live under our back deck. Cedar goes NUTS when she spies a chase partner in the garden.
The full responsibility part comes when I admit that my husband and myself have given in to the crazy barking and opened the door, letting her into the garden. The squirrels and rabbits give her a good chase, and even taunt her some. There's one fat rabbit that stops running when it gest tired. Cedar stands and waits for it to go again. So I'm not afraid she'll hurt the rabbits. The full-grown rabbits, that is.
With spring, we now have cute, adorable baby rabbits that come out to nibble in the fresh grass blades. I first noticed the new rabbits when Willow, who prefers to stay inside, was showing a great interest in Cedar's outdoor activity. Cedar was inspecting something in the grass. When I got close, the "something" started to squeak and hop away!! Cedar was curious, but she wasn't biting or pawing it at--yet.
I quickly called her away (her recall worked!!!) and now we are very careful about letting her out. I'd HATE for her to kill one of those little babies! Of course, the situation is worse now that the little ones are older. Three of them were sitting right outside the garden door (which is glass) and nibbling on the grass. Cedar sees them, just 4 feet or so away, and she goes nuts.
Hubby and I have agreed that we have to stop this behavior, even without the baby rabbits, Cedar's barking to go out is out of control. We refuse to let her out, even to go potty, while she's barking. We make her sit, and stay, (even with the door open!) and then release her to go out. Also, we lower the barrier on the door, so Cedar can't see through it. She can still see through the regular windows, but at least she can't watch the little rabbits eat supper. However, it's a long process, as she's so used to getting what she wants by barking that she's barking MORE the less we let her out. It's going to take a while for her to get the hint. In the mean time, we are dealing with a neurotic barking dog!!
Joe, my husband, says he can see a difference in her behavior already. Her barking turns more into a grumbly, talky growl faster rather than the high pitched "come here now" barking. Still, it's ANNOYING. I wish I had Willow's ability to ignore her barking....
Anyway, just wanted to vent, I suppose, and talk to those who don't think dog issues are dumb!!