Thursday, September 16, 2010

Barker McBarkerson

I'd imagine that there comes a time in the life of a parent when they realize that their "perfect" little angel child, really isn't so perfect.  (According to many of the elementary school teachers I know, this time comes around kindergarten or first grade - you know, around the time they start biting their friends over goldfish at snack time.) Anways, Addy is approximately two and a half - in dog years, that's like 16, so we're really behind the curve - and, the time has come.

My dog is a Barker McBarkerson.  Seriously.  I really don't know how this happened.  Golden Retrievers as a breed aren't even supposed to bark much; and my girl is supposed to be THE BEST?!?!  But, the cold hard truth is that she's become quite obnoxious and embarrassing in social settings recently.  :(
Somehow, over the last six months or so, Addy has developed the unfortunate habit of barking at EVERYTHING she sees outside of the house.  This began as just barking at other dogs (you know, a friendly "Hello") when she was outside at Granny and Poppy's house, and has progressed to growling, barking, and even an occassional charge at any innocent skateboarder, jogger, or stroller-pushing-mom.  People are sometimes AFRAID of my golden girl in a polka dotted collar!

What are we going to do?!?!

I need some advice...  Jeff thinks a bark collar will do the trick.  He's probably right, but I can't help but think it is cruel and unusual punishment.  I've also considered a muzzle for walks, but that doesn't really solve the growling and charging problem.  Obedience training isn't really an option at this point because of money; and, let's be honest, I can't bear to accept the fact that we've somehow failed as parents/trainers on our own.  I mean, just look at that face!!

Ok, I admit that this was YEARS ago... But, it was the only picture I had access
to and - I promise - she hasn't turned devilish or anything in the last two years!

What do you suggest? We have a fall full of pumpkin festivals, parades, and other dog-friendly public events coming up... Please help! 


  1. GET YOUR ACTS TOGETHER and teach her that barking at stuff you don't want her barking at is not acceptable! She's smart, she'll learn. Jeff suggesting the lazy way out (barking collar), sounds a lot like a suggestion his brother would make, please don't stoop to that level. If all else fails, I would be glad to have her for a week long training stay at the ranch to teach her how to act appropriately.

  2. I have no help for you in this situation but I had to comment because I call my girl Barky McBarkerson or, because she is a Chihuahua, Senorita Barksalot. lol! :)

  3. I would pick up a couple training books at your local library. After an obedience class with our dog we realized they weren't teaching us anything that required crazy amounts of education...just good logic. You could probably figure out the training on your own.

  4. Sean's mom has a new puppy and she uses a swirt bottle filled with water and vinegar. She aims for her mouth when she does something she shouldn't and she stops. I've tried it with Sadie and she stops barking when I pick up the bottle! Jen

  5. I wouldn't go the bark collar route just yet! Don't want her to become "afraid" to bark, since that is what dogs do and it can be necessary!

    One of my girls barks at people walking by the house etc if she's out back with out us (she thinks the whole area is "hers"). When she does this, I used to make her come immediately inside. Well, she's too smart and now barks at nothing because she knows she'll get to come in. So now, I let her sister in and make her stay until she's quiet.
    It works for us!

    Does Addy's hackles go up at the joggers etc? Do you have any friends (strollers, friendly dogs) that could help "socialize" her? If she's protective, I'd do it away from HER territory!

    I'm no help really...sorry.

  6. Ugh, i hate that! Have you ever watched the Dog Whisperer??? Seriously... he doesn't talk to dogs... he trains them. He is amazing. CALL HIM.

    Ok, i'm kidding... you don't have to call him. but if you could netflix or rent his dvd's & find an episode somehow on barking dogs? Maybe try his website? (no, i did not know that by heart! i promise he'll show you how to stop the barking!! & he isn't harsh w/ them (unless they're being REALLY aggressive. i only saw him get really harsh w/ one dog on his show.)

    Our dog (he is a shih tzu that wants to be a rottweiler!) barks too much - way too much for a shih tzu. It isn't all the time or anything...but sometimes if someone comes over that he isn't expecting, he will bark & won't stop. I usually grab his mouth, hold it shut, make him look at me, & say "NO BARK!!!!" really sternly. It usually works. You'd have to do it consistently. Idk if it would work but it's worth a shot! Good luck!

  7. Jason's really good about stuff like that with nacho. Nacho is not allowed to be in the backyard if he starts barking. We bring him inside if we hear just one. If he is looking out the kitchen window and starts barking at people, we move him to the living room and make him sit/stay until he calms down and the people are gone. If he shows too much interest in people while we're on a walk, Jason just immediately turns the opposite direction (no matter where we were going or trying to get to) and drags Nacho behind him until we are out of site from those people/dogs. I guess we just try to nip it in the bud as soon as he starts so that he knows it's not acceptable. It doesn't keep him from ever doing it, but when he does do it, we try to respond quickly every time. But I mean, dogs bark, they run at people, they jump, they lay in mud puddles :-) It's just in their blood, so it's hard to train something like that out. Addy is such a sweet girl and I know it's so embarrassing when people are afraid of your harmless dog (there are several people in KG afraid of Nacho - seriously!? Nacho?!). You guys will figure it out and she will be perfectly fine.


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