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by ShirosOhana on 21 August 2017 - 18:08

Okay, I have a 20 weeks old Blue Heeler, German Shepherd cross, great dog, very smart, and well mannered (for a puppy).
But I am having a problem with him barking constantly, I mean as soon as he is awake to the moment he passes out he barks and barks and barks. My older GSD very rarely barks, he only barks when he gets excited.

I have never had a dog who barked so much, I have tried everything I can think of to stop him. I have tried ignoring him, I have tried praising him when he is not barking, I have tried playing with him more often, taking him out more. I am lost.

I do not want to use a shock or bark collar, but I am about to pull my hair out. He lives in a 5 acre yard with my other year old GSD. We live on 23 acres all together and their pen is towards the back of the property away from the street or the neighbors yards, I don't think he is barking at anything in particular. He has toys, a in ground pond, a shed with an AC and another dog to play with.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. :)


by Hundmutter on 22 August 2017 - 20:08

Well, since none of the trainers on here have shown up yet, I'll have a go at answering your post. The thing about dogs that bark a lot, as with some other 'bad habits', is that the causes can be one - or more - of many. I don't normally try to suggest much through posts here about sorting such 'habits', because I am not any kind of officially qualified Trainer, and because I like to meet a dog face to face and observe them doing whatever the problem is, and how the owner relates to them etc, before I try to offer any 'cure'. But maybe I can give you some pointers to think about, and decide if they might apply, or might work for you. Forget the breed 'comparisons'; many GSD are not necessarily a noisy bunch, but some individuals can be, whether from genetic causes or social/environmental ones. That takes care (not !) of one half of your pup. I understand, though I am not greatly familiar with the breed, that Aussie Cattle Dogs / 'Heelers' can be more inclined to be vocal. So it might be that half of his genetic heritage showing itself.Sad Smile

Notwithstanding any of that, what you have is a noisy young canine, who likes the sound of his own voice.  A dog would hardly be a dog if it didn't bark occasionally; but you'd like a dog that was less inclined to exercise his bark at every single opportunity.  You need to look at not just what you are doing now but also what you have done since getting him, and what was done in his first home, for some clues about whether he (and other dogs around him) has been encouraged to bark, for instance to show he has guarding ability. Maybe deliberately; maybe inadvertently.  Has he always got attention the minute he started to bark ? It's especially true of puppies, who are after all in 'learning mode', to see the immediate appearance of its humans as rewarding, and this naturally encourages more barking.

Even if the human is grimacing and swearing and yelling at him to shut up !

Is he stimulated enough ?  You say you have tried to up the ante on that; and obviously there are limits to how much exercise a very young pup can cope with physically;  but stimulation can include making him think, by playing games and teaching tricks or working behaviours, or sharing toys with him, not just walking his little legs off, or leaving playthings with him.  (You could be doing all that already, I'm not there so I have to ask !)

Have there been interruptions to what / how much time you were giving him ? I know you haven't had him long yet, but with training pups in anything, a consistency of approach is always invaluable, so if there's been anything that has meant you have 'blown hot & cold', you need to identify that and mend it from now on.

Do you feel you have yet established a 'leadership' role with the pup ? You might for instance have allowed him to feel he is superior to you in some ways;

if he is sleeping on your bed; or does not get out of your way when you walk through an area of the house where he is lying; or he/your dogs eat(s) before you do, then he may be getting the idea that he does not need to shut up when you tell him to, because he does not need to pay attention to what YOU want, at all. It is YOUR HOUSE; YOUR BED; YOU SUPPLY THE FOOD; and so on.

Establishing this balance and your role can lead quickly to a dog which behaves better for you, takes notice and obeys, because he acknowledges your superior position in his pack.

Want to have a think about that, and come back on those points ?




by GSCat on 23 August 2017 - 04:08

Separation anxiety?

Is there any possibility the puppy is in pain/discomfort? Maybe a thorn, infection, broken tooth, or? Something that's healed over so it's not visible?

Hearing issue?

Is the other dog picking on him when you're not in the immediate vicinity? Do you have a camera you can put up to watch the puppy (and the other dog) interact? Maybe a two-way pet cam where you can also talk to him/her and dispense a treat?

by GSCat on 23 August 2017 - 04:08

Double post.  Still having browser issues.  Sorry.


by ShirosOhana on 23 August 2017 - 14:08

Since he first got introduced to my house he has barked. And I thought it was since he was in a new home and around other animals. I noticed him first barking at my cats, I have two little cats that live in the house with me, I thought maybe he was reacting to them. I shushed him, and that was the end of that. Then when we was new to the home he slept in a kennel in the bedroom, he would bark all night long, which he had never been in a kennel before so I figured he was voicing his opinion on his new living situation. I ignored him, the barking stopped after 3-4 days. I started to let him roam in the yard with my other animals, sheep, goats, chickens and ducks. He has been introduced to these animals before at his previous home where he was born. He barked at them for a couple minuets and I corrected him with another good shush. He calmed down and continued on. His barking didn't get bad till about 2 weeks after he was home.

Out in the pen he shares with Shiro, they have a TON of toys and enrichment, they have balls, ropes, squeaky toys, you name it they got it. They seem to get along well, Shiro is a very laid back dog when I am around, but what he does when I am not I cannot say. I have never seen him aggravated with the puppy, he will let that pup bite and step all over him and he just takes it. But like I said, I don't know what he does when I am not home.

I also thought the barking was because he was hungry or needed water, which hasn't been the case, they only get fed in the morning and night and have access to water 24/7 through a spring fed pond and a water trough in the yard.

I have brought him to work to see if maybe he was hurting and our vet couldn't find anything that may be causing him to hurt, blood work was great, Urine was fine, and his hearing is great, he can hear me yell for him across the yard.

Both dogs sleep on the floor, neither one of them are allowed on the bed, ever. Since they have been in my house they have never been on the furniture or beds. They know what they can and cannot do, I set boundaries and rules, day one.

I have started to ignore him when he barks and only give him attention when he is not barking, which worked well last night. I tried it for the first time and it seemed to make a small difference. He is a pup and wants love and attention and I refused to give it to him till he stopped barking and laid down. Then I would praise him and pet him or give him a toy.

by Hundmutter on 23 August 2017 - 18:08

The pattern in what you write ^^ would seem to be as you describe in your last paragraph; ignoring him works. Results may become consistent with time, its early days yet. That however does not help you with the bits where he is out in the yard. 1) You are not with him, you have to go to work etc; 2) he has a lot of stimulus from the rest of your menagerie; 3) you don't know for sure that instead of playing nicely with the puppy and their toys, Shiro is not winding him up ! Personally this is why I don't understand - and would never join the ranks of - those who keep dogs but have to go out / to work for anything more than a very minimum of part time. But you, like a lot of people, have commited to keeping dogs, so you have to find some way to mitigate any resulting problems. Something you might try is to treat this in the same manner as a Separation Anxiety case: take some few days off, and spend it with him, gradually building up (5 minutes at first, then 10, then 20, etc) reinforcing that when he is put out in the pen, it is 'normal' for him to be left alone for periods during the day, that you will always return eventually. If you can leave Shiro somewhere else & out of the picture at first, do so. Stay out of sight. If the puppy starts to bark or otherwise 'carry on', whining etc, WAIT till he stops, then go to him immediately, praise & fuss him A LITTLE, not too much, then leave again, and resume the gradual increase in time. Do not let him OUT of the pen every time you go back; i.e. treat it as you would do 'off-lead' training, having him come to you, briefly stay with him ( = to: put the lead on for a few minutes), then let him run in the pen again, and go off for the next few minutes.

It is this sort of very consistent, continuous, education that you probably missed out / rushed a bit when you first started to leave him out in the pen.  Don't rush it; even when he's quiet and you think he has 'got it', keep reinforcing the training, e.g. next day, to be more certain. [ I always work to the frequent training mantra: teach an exercise for a week, when the dog understands you teach the exercise for another week, then test the exercise the third week.  You may not have the luxury of that 3 weeks ! ] When you have got up to a fair length of time you are not there (equivalent to a session at work, maybe ?) and he's being quiet, you can re-introduce Shiro.  Use his re-appearence as one of the rewards for a quiet spell; take the other dog straight away again if the pup forgets what he's just been learning and greets Shiro noisily.

Can't guarantee it'll work; but I don't think there are any magic cures for these circumstances; certainly I am as reluctant as you to go the smelly collar / stim collar route ... Best of luck.


by ShirosOhana on 23 August 2017 - 18:08

I appreciate all the info!
Sorry I am trying to post when I get breaks in between clients, My post are messy and I am sorry about that.

I would love to be a stay at home pet owner, but unfortunately I have to work to pay the bills and what not, *sigh*.

Anyways, I am going to put a small camera up when I get home today and see if maybe Shiro is messing with him, which is a possibility.

I do have a smaller pen I can put Shiro in, or he can come to work with me during the day, since the pens are right next to each other. I am off on Fridays and Weekends so I am able to spend some time with the pup with your method. I like the idea ALOT.

Thanks again, and if this works, my neighbors will be thanking you too! :)

by Jenni78 on 23 August 2017 - 19:08


He's bored, I bet. I have had barkers who would bark relentlessly when not worked enough. Work the BRAIN not the body. Work the brain and he'll chill out.


by ShirosOhana on 23 August 2017 - 20:08

Jenni, as I get home we are working on herding training and basic commands, we are also working with him to get his STAR puppy award, him and my other dog walk the fence line with me every night before bed. He is constantly doing something when I am home with him.


I can understand him being bored during the day when I am gone, I am not sure how to fix that one.Confused Smile


by Hundmutter on 23 August 2017 - 21:08

Teaching him that he has to accept some boredom IS a brain-training exercise in itself, I think. But for after you've been concentrated on the barking issue, assuming it improves a bit, you might consider seeking out some of the more brain-taxing toys that exist these days; you know, those where the dog has to work out a puzzle-box to get some treats, for instance. It isn't as good as being there with your dog more hours; and it might get a bit expensive. But I agree with Jenni: if you can, you should find as many ways as possible to work his brain, and keep on doing so. When you are home, formal Obedience is always something I would recommend for getting a dog to tire out both mind AND body.
The things you list are all good.

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