Introducing Some Rules to a Carin Terrier to Stop Dog Barking

By: David Codr

Published Date: September 5, 2016

Duffy

Duffy is a two-year-old Carin Terrier who lives in Omaha with an old family friend. His guardian set up a dog behavior training session with me to the stop dog barking when left alone. She also mentioned he was afraid of going down the stairs and follows her in the house anytime she moves around.

Duffy was excited to see me when I arrived for the session but wasn’t out of control. He did try to jump up a few times, but stopped once corrected. However I did spot something the guardian was doing that was sending a confusing message to her dog.

When we try to open the door when our dog is in front of us, the dog looks at us as assisting them. It also gives them the impression that they are in charge of security; shaking down anyone who enters the home to let them know they are the boss.

I demonstrated how the guardian can claim the area around the door before opening it to help Duffy calm down and see his guardian as being the authority figure.

Because there were only two people around, I set up my camera on a tripod and then headed out to play the part of the guest so that the guardian could practice what I just taught her.

When reviewing the above video I would have liked to have seen Duffy’s guardian stop in between steps. The idea is to make a left and right foot step backwards while facing the dog. By pausing in between each step, we are able to read the dog and determine whether or not it is staying in place. If it does, then we take another step back.

I also like to jiggle the deadbolt lock and door knob (individually and one at a time) to help the dog practice not responding to the sounds. We call these triggers and they are often the reason that a dog reacts.

By helping the dog practice not responding while they listen to each trigger individually, we can put the dog in a position to succeed at the exercise.

Next up was Duffy’s fear of using the stairs. Fortunately, I have had a couple of other clients with this problem and learned how to fix it.

I love it when we can apply a quick fix that gets such immediate results. Best of all, we simply put the dog in a position to succeed rather than trying to pull or push it into using the steps.

The primary issue the guardian wanted to address was Duffy’s habit of barking whenever she left him alone. I had her carry a few things out to the trash that I could observe how the dog acted while she was gone. In order to stop dog barking, you need to identify why its barking in the first place; panic, aggression, anxiety, territoriality, etc.

Although he was a little bit agitated with his guardian leaving him with me in the apartment, it only took a couple of minor corrections to get Duffy to stop barking. This tells me that this is not an extreme case of separation anxiety.

Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety go into a panic state when left alone. The best way to help dogs who suffer from this condition is to build up a dog’s self-control, confidence and help them practice being home alone.

I suggested some rules and limits for the guardian to introduce. By consistently enforcing some simple rules and boundaries, we can help the dog adopt more of a follower’s mindset. When a dog thinks of itself as having the same authority as the humans, and believes it is somewhat responsible for the humans, this can increase their stress and is absolutely a factor with dogs who have separation anxiety.

I also noticed that Duffy was able to get attention from his guardian anytime he wanted to by nudging her with his nose. If a dog thinks it can tell a human what to do, they think they are in a position of authority. To help his guardian start applying structure, I shared my Petting with a purpose strategy.

It’s going to be a challenge for the guardian to stop petting Duffy whenever he demands it. But if she can start conditioning him to start earning his rewards, he will adopt more of a follower mindset and feel less stress as he won’t think its his job to protect the human.

I suggested that the guardian go to YouTube and look for 8 to 12 new tricks or commands to teach Duffy. If she can commit herself to teaching him a new trick or command every week for the next 8 to 12 weeks, she will be able to boost his confidence. This boost in confidence should translate into less stress and anxiety when left alone.

One of the commands that she absolutely should teach Duffy is the Stay. I spent a couple of minutes demonstrating the Stay technique that I like to use.

You can find more information on the state technique that I am teaching in the above video with this link.

Teaching a dog to stay is probably one of the most underused commands out there. But in Duffy’s case, mastering the skills that are required for it will go a long ways towards building up his self-control.

By asking Duffy to stay while his guardian gets up and goes to the bathroom or to get a drink of water, he can practice being alone without seeing her while knowing that she is still in the apartment. This will effectively help him practice being alone.

At first she should only be out of his sight for less than a minute. But the next time she can stay hidden slightly longer. By gradually increasing the amount of time that he is alone, while she is still in the apartment but out of his eyesight, Duffy will be building up the skills that he needs to not panic when she actually does leave for work.

By the end of the session, Duffy had settled down, was going down the stairs without hesitation, seemed to be looking up at his guardian for direction and was already starting to sit in front of her to ask for attention.

If the guardian is able to teach him enough new commands while also developing his self-control, his panic state should stop kicking in when she leaves him to go to work. This will allow him to relax and put a stop to dog barking once and for all.

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