Hello John: I have adopted a ten year old female dog. She is a good dog but her barking is driving me nuts! She came from two households that had a limited number of people coming and going . My household is much more active! If her barking then stopped I wouldn’t mind but she is relentless and is now scaring people. I considered purchasing your newest book but don’t want to purchase another sight unseen “how to ” book that doesn’t help.
If you’re referring to my ebook, ‘The Beautiful Balance – Dog Training with Nature’s Template’, I do use it for barking, but as step one. It’s the part that teaches dog owners how to shape a dog into life long “student” mode and the owner into “teacher” mode without all the treats and other nonsense. If you don’t get the teacher/student part in place first it will be harder. Have you ever had someone you didn’t believe was qualified to teach you something try to do so? Maybe when you were a teenager? Parents say, “Older and wiser.” Teens hear, “Older.” You yell in frustration at your barking dog – “Quiet! Quiet!, if they’re listening at all they’d testify you actually said, “Louder! More!”
For behavior problems I’ve found it takes about 30 days of the exercises found in the book to get the relationship in sync enough for less stressful and more meaningful dialogue. For teenagers, I recommend 25 years – more if they don’t have teens of their own yet. During the 30 days I focus on lessor but useful issues and through those seemingly unrelated goals ease the dog gently into a mindset whereas they see themselves as a student and the owner the teacher. This will makes them more receptive when tackling the major issue. Sometimes you don’t need to tackle it all. When a dog is confused as to who’s in charge they can act up. Provide some clarity and they settle down.
If you do it right the transfer as to who’s the teacher and who’s the student is so subtle the dog doesn’t even realize it. It’s like the story about a man 60 years happily married asked what the secret was. His reply, “Well very early in our relationship we decided that to avoid unnecessary conflict all the major decisions would be made by me, “the man of the house” and the less significant ones would be left to the “little lady”. Just between you and me I got the much better end of the deal. Sixty years have gone by and as things turned my wife assures me that there have never been any major decisions to make.”
You can use one of the “quickie” bark collar solutions for excessive barking problems. Sometimes it’s the right tool for the job but often they only solve the dog owner problem – the barking – but not the dog’s problem – which might be a life long impression that deciding who is allowed in the door falls into the major decision department. Close the door on barking and some dogs will think, “Fine, if I can’t bark at that sucker then I’ll just bite him.”, Or as I’ve seen happen more than once, “Fine you handle it. I’m going to go poop on someone’s bed.”