How to Help a Santa Monica Shiba Inu who Rushes the Baby When Hearing Certain Sounds

By: David Codr

Published Date: April 4, 2017

Aiko is a four-year-old Shiba Inu who lives in Santa Monica, California. Her guardians set up a dog behavior training appointment to address her habit of barking and moving aggressively towards the family’s six-month-old baby when she hears certain sounds; a human clapping, the vacuum, the electronic razor cleaning itself, etc.

Aiko barked quite a bit when I was outside the door, but once I got inside, his barking stopped and transitioned into some deep sniffing. Stopping dog barking is a popular request I set when doing some Santa Monica dog training or dog behaviorist work.

His body language was relaxed and he didn’t show any signs of stress or anxiety.

When I sat down with his guardians to discuss what they wanted to accomplish in this dog behavior session, I learned that Aiko didn’t have many rules. This is a common mistake I see many people make.

A lack of rules can very easily give the dog the impression that they are your peer. If a dog sees you as an equal, then listening to you becomes optional. It can also result in a dog thinking it needs to handle or address problems that arise.

In Aiko’s case, this meant that she disagreed with the sounds that came outside the door and communicated so by barking. To stop dog barking, I have found transitioning it into a follower’s mindset is one of the first things you need to do.

I suggested some rules and showed the guardians a few ways to add structure to repeating, every day tasks. Adding minor changes to them is a great way to get a dog to listen better as they see and respect you as an authority figure. Simply adding rules, boundaries and structure to Aiko’s life should help stop the barking

To address Aiko’s habit of charging towards the baby when specific sounds occurred, we did some counterconditioning. It only took 2-3 minutes before Aiko was able to stay seated and relaxed while her guardian clapped a few feet away. Aiko didn’t even look in the baby’s direction.

Aiko’s guardians will need to practice this counterconditioning exercise multiple times with all the sounds she is reactive to. But based on how we were able to use behavior modification so easily, Im guessing she wont need any additional dog training sessions for this problem.

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