Barking – molding behavior

  • Barking – molding behavior

     Bill updated 2 weeks ago 2 Members · 2 Posts
  • Silhouette

    Member
    February 13, 2021 at 4:25 AM

    I’m preparing to get a strong working lines German shepherd PUPPY in the next few months. I’m trying to strategize on barking, because this is something I know can drive me up the wall.

    My last working-lines German shepherd Quester was amazing on this topic. Quester rarely barked, and never at false alarms or stuff like cars driving by. He would indicate silently or start pacing and we would go investigate together. He was really tuned in to me, which I think was his personality (I got lucky), and probably the training and companionship from puppy onward.

    In contrast, I’ve had a female working-lines GSD that I got as a kennel-raised adult that screamed/barked at every trigger. My efforts could only take it from insane levels to spurts (especially when I couldn’t reach her). Methods like bark collars were the only reason I could live with her, and even then life sucked.

    With the new puppy, I plan to do the same program as Quester. Tether/leash and very very close contact / supervision for the first several months, lots of training. So I should be able to influence it, but I’m very worried about getting another insane barker.

    My training question is… Can barking / alerting be discouraged or encouraged at a very granular level? I want some level of threat detection and communication, but not full on dog screams. Is there any way to ensure I don’t end up with another insane barker?

    Encourage: Alerting by looking

    Encourage: Alerting by pacing or standing up

    Encourage: A slight “woof” when there is a major concern, like someone is really at the door.

    Encourage: Barking for a thing (toy, play, think Shutzhund)

    Encourage: Barking at bay (think Shutzhund, or trying to get the cat to run)

    Discourage: All other barking scenarios


  • Bill

    Member
    February 13, 2021 at 12:16 PM

    I have a working protection trained GSD likely similar to Questar in terms of barking. My protection trainers said that in order to discourage – stop unwanted barking you had to first teach him to bark on command (think bark and hold). Once you can command the dog to bark, you can then teach “quiet” or whatever term you want. To encourage the desired barks – praise the dog for the desired bark and command the “quiet” when you have been alerted. To encourage/learn the bark for a thing, first you build the frustration in the dog for the object by keeping it just out of reach until the dog barks and he then gets the thing. Harness the dog and attach the leash to the harness so there is no strain on the neck. Have the second person present the desired object just out of reach of the dog, the handler commands the bark and the teaser keeps it just out of reach…. once the dog barks for it – the dog gets the object. Continue building from one bark to multiple barks and then continuous should you desire that. Once the dog masters the bark on command using a frustration strategy – do the same thing untethered. Alternatively, you can attach a bungee line to the harness and the other end to a fixed object and you, the handler, can do the entire exercise on your own.

    Once you have him barking on command, either on a long line, or if obedient without leash, place the object on the ground out a ways in front of you – command the bark, command the “quiet” when quiet release the dog to go get the object. Once he has mastery of bark on command, and quiet, you can then use the quiet at any time he is barking because he knows what it means.

    Hope something here is helpful as you consider your strategy. CONGRATS on the new dog!!

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