3 miniature Schnauzers, what could possibly go wrong?
I have a client with 3 female miniature Schnauzers, have a guess why they asked for help?
The noise, pardon? I said the noise!
When anyone walked or drove past the house, when they saw a person or a dog out on a walk, when someone came to the door, when the phone rang or a mobile phone made a ping noise.
I think that has just about covered it, pretty much any noise provoked a prolonged barking session.
Imagine living with that level of noise? It was bad enough when I first walked in on my first visit a few months ago but there has been significant progress since then. Also, since then, we have introduced walking again but initially our work was in the house because that was where the majority of the barking was taking place and where they were generating most of their attention through barking.
If the time had not been spent in the house resetting the dogs expectations, then their behaviour outside would not have changed.
The problem is people always respond to barking with a verbal interaction that usually involves the dogs name. This is actually rewarding the dog for the very behaviour you are trying to stop.
So if this was left unchecked in the house, the dogs would not have a reason to stop barking outside the house. You see how that now makes complete sense to you but you hadn’t thought of it that way because that is not how we think or how we are taught to think is it?
This is one of the three after their session with their owners out on a walk during which they were much quieter and they calmed down much quicker because of the work we have done in changing their owners behaviour so the dogs can change theirs.
We tried several interrupting techniques which had a marginal effect so we stopped those, the dogs were too excited to listen to interruption and they calmed down quickest when the owners remained very relaxed.
It is surprising how much effort we put in to making our dogs do nothing yet how little praise we give them when they are doing precisely that, none!
With calm and relaxed repetition, the girls soon stopped reacting as much when they saw a dog and when a dog came close to them. For the owners, staying relaxed when three dogs are shouting their heads off id a very difficult thing to do yet it is the most important thing to do as your tension and attention will only serve to escalate the behaviour and the noise.
Praise when you can’t hear your dog then you are rewarding silence, the sweetest sound the miniature schnauzers owners have ever heard!