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Old January 18th, 2010, 08:12 AM
Nagini Nagini is offline
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Obsessive barking! Help needed!

Hi everyone!

I have a 15 month old female presa canario, Lily. We have worked alot on her and she is overall very well behaving and obedient dog. She has had many awakening problems in the past but we have worked on them hard and she has overcome them.

Now I have a problem and I have NO IDEA how to approach it!

This problem started when I took her abroad to visit my family, the whole trip was pretty stressful for her (I think), everything was new. I took her to the dog park there after few days. There was two dogs, they played very nicely together, and they left Lily out of the play. So Lily was "the third wheel". The others didnt include her in the play and Lily started barking. She has always made a little sound when she plays, I don't mind that, but I would not allow barking at all.

She goes to a position where her butt is up and her front body is down on the ground, the "play-position" and she lets a loud bark. Runs around a little, barks more.

She has done that now for the third time (third time we are out playing with dogs), and I came home with her.

My first reaction would be to get to Lily, make her stop, pull her on the collar just quickly as a correction and say "Aa-aa!" (thats the sound we make when she does something wrong, and she knows that sound). But the problem is in order for me to correct her as I would like to, I have to catch her exactly at the right nano second when she barks, and catching her is not that easy when she is running around and playing with dogs!

She is taught to come on command, but I do not want to tell her to come and then tell her off! That is abusing the command.

What I think has something to do with this barking thing is that she is pretty dominant by nature, with us she is perfect, when she goes play with other dogs she migth be too dominant (?) for other dogs and they refuse to play with her?

How should I look at this and what should I do?
She doesn't hurt any dogs, or humans, but I want to stop something I dont like, and I want to stop it right away!

Thanks for all the help!

Im gonna add a picture of my princess here so you get to see her :-)
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Old January 18th, 2010, 08:23 AM
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bendyfoot bendyfoot is offline
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Oh my gosh, she's just playing!!! MANY if not MOST dogs bark when they're playing, either to engage/goad another dog into play, or as part of the play ritual, which involves give-and-take of dominance and submission. Normal play includes barking, growling, snarling, showing of teeth, controlled biting, chasing, wrestling...

By discouraging the barking in this situation, you're interrupting perfectly normal play behaviour and very likely confusing her and the other dogs on the receiving end. The barking during play has nothing to do with having a dominant or submissive nature.

By your title, I was expecting to hear that your dog was barking at every little thing that moved, all the time, all day!
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Old January 18th, 2010, 08:40 AM
Nagini Nagini is offline
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But it is not too much to ask not to bark when play. In 5 min play she will have barked, 20-30 times? It obviously makes other dogs not to play with her! You can see from the beginning everyone plays together, then Lily starts barking and they refuse to play with her.

This seems like a clear sign from the dog pack that they discourage this behaviour.

It is not asked too much, is it? I have played with MANy dogs around here and Lily is the only one that barks like this. Barking here and there, all the sound making it is part of it, but continously doing it must be a sign of something.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 08:54 AM
Chris21711 Chris21711 is offline
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Lily is gorgeous ....I agree entirely with Bendyfoot, it is her way of playing, one of my dogs barks up a storm when playing, why the dogs that Lily plays with take offense is beyond me
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Old January 18th, 2010, 08:58 AM
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If she's walking up to another dog and going BARK BARK BARK right it it's face, then yeah, that's rude, and I would try to distract the behaviour. But if she's bowing and running and bouncing and chasing and barking all the while, and she's not behaving aggresively PHYSICALLY with other dogs, I wouldn't get involved...if the other dogs don't approve, they'll sort it out themselves...they're much better at sorting out social issues than we give them credit for, all without our help
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Old January 18th, 2010, 08:59 AM
Nagini Nagini is offline
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Okay... But Im not happy about this outcome at all! I want her to stop doing it, she can still enjoy her play as much as she want! But just to take it easy and quiet! She is not allowed to do anything obsessively anyway, inside or out, and Im looking for ways to make her stop barking continuously!
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Old January 18th, 2010, 09:00 AM
Nagini Nagini is offline
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She does run up to the dogs face, and bark. The dogs just turn around. Ive yet not seen a dog who would have corrected Lily for that. They just ignore her, and she is not learning anything from that.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 09:23 AM
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But see, turning away from her IS correcting...not all corrections are physical in the dog world, their body language is more subtle than that.

Look, here are a group of puppies playing...and barking...nothing agressive or obsessive here, just normal, noisy play
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIJj3WxIKLs


Here's a confident puppy trying to get a more timid one to play, by bowing and barking...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNNFQxYufQ4

Here's an example of what I assume you're seeing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzblVv5fVB4
(note that, in this case, the guy getting barked at is at a serious disadvantage because he's got a head-halter and a coat on...it inhibits normal communication)

There's nothing in the barking dog's body language that says he's being aggressive...confident, yes, but not aggressive. The one with the head-halter is very timid. I've seen this before in groups...sometimes one dog (a more timid one, usually) gets barked at/ganged up on...not aggressively...but there's definitely excitement. If you want the excitement level to come down a notch, fine...call your dog and distract her with something else...but I wouldn't correct the barking in this situation.
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Audrey - torbie - sweet as pie (11 months)
Patrick - blue - a little turd (but we like him anyways) (6 months)
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Old January 18th, 2010, 11:22 AM
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the others will teach Lilly that as long as she barks they won't play, she'll catch on eventually
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Old January 19th, 2010, 10:10 AM
Nagini Nagini is offline
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I have very mixed feelings about this now.
Ignoring often works as a method of teaching a lesson but here it does not teach anything when the dogs are still playing around Lily and it continues for a long time. There is a line until you can practise ignoring, and when the line is crossed you have to interfere and give a correction.

Am I the only one who goes out to play with dogs and when my own dog barks like there is no tomorrow (and mind you, a presa canarios bark is very loud and sounds pretty rough) I dont enjoy it? Barking makes other dogs less happy, it makes the other owners to be on their toes ("Oh my god look at that dog trying to pick up a fight" = that is what they think around here no matter what I say to them, because they say my dog is the type that will attack me in my sleep... , they dont like muscle dogs) so when the owners are anxious it will affect their dogs. And it is not a good atmosphere anymore.

So, could anyone please give me any notes on how to practise my dog to be more calmed down when we go to play?

Anyone try to google "dog bark while play" you will get ton of info why excessive barking during play should be stopped to certain limit. How? That is a different question.

Dogs in nature would do alot of stuff, but it doesnt mean I should let my dog do it! A controlled dog playing more calm is not too much to ask?

Anyone see where Im coming from?
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Old January 19th, 2010, 10:20 AM
Nagini Nagini is offline
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Okay Ive tried to edit my post but I couldnt

So, Im just gonna pretty much give up and just walk her 2 hours before I take her to the dog park, maybe she'll be more quiet when she has drained some energy before it!

It amazes me that no-one has come up with anything to help me with, just thats how dogs are...

She would like to do plenty of stuff but it doesnt mean she should be let to do it!
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Old January 19th, 2010, 10:32 AM
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My Boston play growls very loud and someone could be missunderstand. I would not be concerned about the barking myself. If you don't like the play action then go for pack walks on leach and let them just be beside each other rather than play off leash. This is just as stimulating as free play, I feel it's even better some time. I have 3 terriers play in the yard often and believe it or not the dominent and largest dog is left out (so as I see it), he does not care he just keeps on the 2 terrier girls and tries to get involved. Your lucky you dog is not aggressive and fighting.....Dogs are very oral and that is the only way to express themselves, via barking, biting, growling.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nagini View Post

It amazes me that no-one has come up with anything to help me with, just thats how dogs are...

If it's normal, healthy, harmless doggy behaviour... it's hard to find solutions if nothing's wrong The only thing I could say is if you want her to tone it down a notch (i.e. bring her excitement level down a bit) call her to you, distract with a treat or toy, walk away from the group etc....but I would never, never correct for barking during play...normal communicative behaviour should not be punished IMO.

She would like to do plenty of stuff but it doesnt mean she should be let to do it!
Sure, but there's a difference between establishing boundaries and guidelines to keep her safe, keep other dogs safe, and be able to live harmoniously with humans and other animals...and stopping her from behaving like a dog. To me, it's like saying "well, she pants/drools/poops/wags her tail and it bothers me, so she should stop". It's not really fair to the dog...she's a DOG after all, and is going to behave like one.

If the other dog owners are giving you a hard time, well, too bad for them, who cares what they think? If you're dog isn't hurting anybody, what's the harm? And consider this: if you're fussing over the barking and chasing after/scolding/correcting your dog, you're feeding into their belief that she must be dangerous...otherwise, why would you interfere? Maybe if you relaxed and laughed and said, "boy, she gets noisy when she's having fun!", the other dog owners might relax a bit. You must have known you might get hesitancy/resistance from other people who don't have the same appreciation for a strong, giant breed...it's part of having that kind of dog. Maybe you could find other dog people who understand and appreciate your big, beautiful girl, and arrange play dates for Lily with them?
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Patrick - blue - a little turd (but we like him anyways) (6 months)
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Old January 19th, 2010, 10:44 AM
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Just like children yelling in a playground, that is what happens when they play.

If a person doesn't like yelling children, don't go, same as a dog park, if a person doesn't like barking dogs don't go.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 11:40 AM
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Lily is a gorgeous girl!! Absolutely stunning!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nagini View Post
But it is not too much to ask not to bark when play.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nagini View Post
Okay... But Im not happy about this outcome at all! I want her to stop doing it, she can still enjoy her play as much as she want! But just to take it easy and quiet! She is not allowed to do anything obsessively anyway, inside or out, and Im looking for ways to make her stop barking continuously!

Ok so....... when you go to a party do you sit quietly in the background not saying a word? Do you play cards or video games or whatever and not get excited? Does your voice not raise and get higher when excited? Do you watch other people around you having fun and raising their voices and wish they could "take it easy and quiet"? For pity's sake, she's a dog. Enjoy her and all of her doggie expressions. It's her only way of speaking. I would love to have her here and have a chance to listen to her "speak" to me.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 04:33 PM
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The problem I see with trying to get your pup to stop barking while she's playing (eg. leaving the park), is that she may learn that playing is not ok. The one thing she's doing absolutely right is the play-bowing...it's a signal to other dogs that anything to come after is just in play. If she's barking as she's doing this (perfectly normal behavior) and you stop her, you're inadvertently punishing her for good behavior.

As for the dogs walking away from her...this may not be in response to her barking alone. Many dogs are not used to, have not been socialized enough, or simply don't like to play with exuberant dogs. She's still young and will learn to read the message the others are conveying to her if the lesson is not being interrupted by us humans. It takes some dogs longer to catch on but they eventually do.

I have several suggestions. If you're not going to the park very often, increase the frequency so she gets more 'practice.' Or, what I prefer, is that if she's gets too excited/overwhelmed at the dog park, try to make friends and arrange playdates with other dogs like her (same activity level, age, size, intensity of play, etc) so they can play comfortably without anyone getting upset. In the first few chapters of Play With Your Dog, Pat Miller describes the body language associated with play (including barking), and the different play styles of dogs. I think once you understand your pup in relation to play, you'll be better to judge which types of doggy personalities she'd profit from playing with.

If barking really, really bothers you, you can always teach her the "quiet" or "shush" cue (you have to teach "bark" first). This is going to take some time though and, please don't attempt it at the dog park when she's highly stimulated when you're just beginning or you're likely to poison the cue. Only when she's able to do it in the house, yard, walks, outside of the dog park, reliably, can you start within the park. Following is a short article that explains how to teach the cues. Instead of using friends at the door, you can simply knock on a counter or wall to get her to begin barking. You may be able to apply this in the park while she's playing but please stop if you notice it's interrupting her other play signals/body language.

http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/woofshush
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Old January 19th, 2010, 05:43 PM
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Beautiful dog.

You've recieved good thoughts and advice so far. My only thought to add is that it might be of benefit for you to socialize your dog on leash with other dogs as well.

Many owners find that the only other real socalization their dogs get is at the dog park. But of course, if we limit our dogs contact with other dogs to those moments; regardless of whether or not they have been giving a really long walk previously, chances are she will still want to bark and play with dogs in the same manner. It may not last as long, but I'm willing to bet it will still happen.

If you pursue a few different options for your puppy to be around other dogs, like agility classes, flyball, or searching your community to join a group dog walk, Lily is going to essentially be much less excitable when she does get to the dog park. I cannot stress enough how important ON LEASH socialization and structured socialization is for your dog.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 06:27 PM
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I see where you're coming from! I also discourage repetitive barking whether it's from play or excitement. I found the best way to teach this was by teaching "speak" first as luckypenny suggested. Then teach "quiet". Luckypenny gave you some great advice!!
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Old January 19th, 2010, 06:59 PM
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She is a gorgeous girl

Lots of good advice given and the speak and quiet commands are always good to teach.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 10:54 PM
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Training and viewing

I would like to thank people so much for sharing here, it helps a lot when training my dog. What doesn't work for one dog may work for another . I really enjoy being here reading and sharing with all of you. I hope more people will come and post here. I would like to see more people post in the albums of their pets. My daughter and I love viewing other people's pets. My daughter is a cat lover. You never know whos pet lover's heart you will make an imprint on by sharing.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 06:10 AM
Nagini Nagini is offline
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I love this forum because it always gives me help and something to think about and learn! Its amazing how good conversation we can make out of topics on this forum, thanks everyone!!

I am gonna take another attitude towards my Lilys barking, since she does not bark otherwise, only when playing. I am gonna give her time and see if she gets over this by her own and by other dogs giving her a lesson!

Teaching her to bark, I'm not too sure about. I'm afraid she might start barking more by me teaching her to bark on command. I think for me it is better to leave that one untaught for now!

Why I talk so much about this barking thing and why I try so hard to stop her from doing this barking is that she is a very strong race. Physically but also mentally, and I cant have her develop any bad behavior! Thats why I want to fix anything before it is even begun.
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