I have a horrible trait, luckily it doesn’t often rear its ugly head but when a behaviorist pointed out Lily’s constant barking was due to her thinking she was top dog I didn’t believe it and dismissed it, I do this sometimes when people offer me advice. Why? Because I know everything of course 😉
She could only think she was in charge if I had made her feel that way and I don’t spoil her…do I? No of course I don’t, I’m strict with giving her treats and I’m always watching what she eats. What else…erm…oh dear! Yes so I’ll admit it, the behaviorist was right. It wasn’t Lily’s fault she felt the need to bark at everything, I had inadvertently taught her to do that and completely without even realising.
I knew something had to be done about Lily’s barking after she started doing it in the night (as well as all day) and the neighbours complained.
I spent a day watching her and making mental notes at what and who she was barking at. Well lo and behold it was all pretty much centered around me, thanks to my awesome secret powers of barking training that I had completed without my own knowledge.
I had made Lily feel she was in charge and therefore the one who should be protecting me, OK so at first glance it seemed she was yapping pointlessly at a bush for no reason but on closer inspection that bush had leaves, leaves that were moving, evil dangerous leaves that could have attacked me at any minute. The airplanes she was barking at, were to her, coming way too close to me and I needed protecting (it didn’t matter to her they were 30,000 feet high) All she saw was a noisy beast in the sky and at night a noisy flashing beast in the sky! Everything and anything that she felt was some kind of threat warranted barking at and when you take a step back and look at things through a dogs eyes everything becomes very obvious.
She also barked for attention, surely this wasn’t my fault too? No it couldn’t be, my other two dogs are perfectly (well 70% perfectly) trained and both had major issues when I first got them from rescue. So there’s no way this one was my fault, after all I put them all on their beds when we’re eating….oh ok so I didn’t actually put Lily on her bed. None of them are allowed upstairs without being invited…oh ok well Lily sneaks up and doesn’t get in trouble. They all sleep downstairs at night….bugger it… ok Lily sleeps on the bed. So there you have it, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that yes, it’s all my fault.
I hold my hands up and admit it but Lily IS a special dog isn’t she!….. Isn’t she?…No she’s not special, she’s just a normal dog, a normal dog who was involved in special circumstances (for those who don’t know click here) me treating her differently from the other two had put her in top position and as dogs can’t talk she barked instead.
So now I thought undoing all my wrong doings would be the hard bit but nope after the changes I made she was a different dog overnight! Yes she still barks occasionally but that’s because she’s a dog and sometimes she has important things to tell me like ‘Theres a big spider on the ceiling, fetch it for me so I can torment it’, ‘Let me out before I urinate on the floor’, ‘Feed me now slave!’ or ‘I wish to be taken for a walk now to sniff other dogs bottoms’ …..you get the idea.
So the secret all changing specialised training techniques that you are all dying to know are as follows:
1) I started treating Lily like a dog again and not spoiling her like a super star celebrity.
There you go that’s it! Easy huh! Yup so easy anyone can do it. All the little changes added up into making Lily feel she was no longer in charge and therefore she had no need to protect anyone anymore. So Lily goes on her bed with the other two when we’re eating, Lily sleeps with the other two at night, Lily isn’t allowed to creep upstairs while the other two wait patiently at the bottom hoping for an invite…see easy! I no longer let her jump on my lap when she wants to, she has to wait for an invite, she no longer gets fed first all the time…. the dog that is sitting nicely and quietly gets fed first. When she starts barking, I tell her ‘no barking’ if she stops she gets a ‘good girl’ and a treat, if she barks again she gets put in her crate for a couple of minutes. Its not rocket science.
So everything its pretty much nice and quiet around here and next time someone offers me advice I’ll try really hard to listen…after I’ve dismissed it first of course 😉 Oh and Lily is a lot more relaxed and sleeps even more than before although I wonder how that is physically possible!