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Every morning I wake up, before I put on my makeup, I say a little prayer... Because Misty is nuts in the morning! She’s always been a talker, and if she didn’t bark all of a sudden, I’d worry something was wrong with her. But whenever we go on our morning walks, it seems all she does is bark at everything. We have a routine—step outside. Walk a little bit. Let the neighbors’ dog know we’re outside with a little bark. Watch in amazement as the dog rattles the window, and engage in an epic bark fight, which can be heard across the entire east coast. Then we walk more. She goes potty like a good girl. Then I get pulled to her next buddy. More barking ensues. She sees a squirrel. More barking. We get to the house, and she barks at our neighbor. I’m at my wit’s end, here! Save me from this crazy dog!
 

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I’m so sorry. Barking is one thing I just can’t stand, and I don’t know if it’s luck or just the way I raise my dogs, but I’ve never had a barking problem.

I can just imagine how hard it is. I suppose you’ve tried everything, water spraying included ? That’s something I use if I have to. The garden hose is my friend in case of uncontrolled barking. I only have to use it once and the message gets across. I aim at the feet, not the face or body.
 

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Barking I can't tolerate either. Maybe click and get her attention n treat, if all else fails i'd bonk mine. (rolled towel) and bonk while saying NO. My neighbors would certainly be unhappy with me if I allowed it to continue. Fortunately I haven't had to deal with that scenario.
 

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Sounds to me like you need a change in routine. Dogs are creatures of habit, and breaking those habits are super hard. Especially self-rewarding ones like barking. No idea about how your life is set up, but maybe backyard play instead of a walk, or walking on the other side of the street, or sprinting past those houses with Misty focused on you? I have had to work VERY hard to keep Annie from developing barking routines on our walks. One place where there is a dog that barks at her, she now does an auto heel, because I started heeling with her a few houses before that one. Basically i replaced that habit with a better one - I dont know if I could have managed it without a major change before hand! It took WEEKS to get Annie out of the habit of running to the end of her leash and barking when we exited my old apartment- there were always squirrels, so I basically had to start obedience before I openedthe door, and insist on a sit with eye contact on the front porch while I locked it. Really, really hard to change habits.
 

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Just to clarify (for anyone who's not familiar) clicking is intended to mark desired behaviour. So you would click and treat when there's a break in barking. Or click and treat when Misty looks at you.

The click signals a reward is coming, so is synonymous with saying "Good girl!" or "Good boy!" but much more precise. If you click bad behaviour, you're reinforcing it.

I think Misty probably thinks this is just what is done in the morning. Barking in itself is extremely rewarding, so she's having a great time while you suffer!

I'd probably start by changing up the morning routine so she can't anticipate all her favourite triggers. Do you have a yard you can exercise her in? If so, do that first, and then head out front with a bag of high value treats (and a clicker if you desire) and do a five-minute training session.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I can just imagine how hard it is. I suppose you’ve tried everything, water spraying included ?
I’ve tried water spraying, and it only makes her more powerful. She chomps at it and treats it as a nice refreshment as she continues her fun. Although, I haven’t used a garden hose.
Barking in itself is extremely rewarding, so she's having a great time while you suffer!
🤣 I can tell! I swear she laughs after she’s done! She treats it as a sport!
Sounds to me like you need a change in routine. Dogs are creatures of habit, and breaking those habits are super hard. Especially self-rewarding ones like barking. No idea about how your life is set up, but maybe backyard play instead of a walk, or walking on the other side of the street, or sprinting past those houses with Misty focused on you?
I'd probably start by changing up the morning routine so she can't anticipate all her favourite triggers. Do you have a yard you can exercise her in? If so, do that first, and then head out front with a bag of high value treats (and a clicker if you desire) and do a five-minute training session.
That might work! She only really does this in the mornings, so you’re spot on, I think! And I kind of have a yard? It’s not fenced, and the dogs aren’t allowed to go to the bathroom in it because it kills the grass, thus the walks to a potty place first thing in the morning. I might be able to put Misty on the long line I use for training in it though, and just make a quick dash like FWOP describes to the poop station before we play.

Thanks, guys—we’ll try shaking it up and clicking for quiet!
 

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Have you considered a muzzle? I bought a clothe one for Rocky. I've used it a few times, for example, when I take him to a park filled with children. The muzzle keeps him relatively calm in such a busy environment. I will take it off and see if he remains calm...and it actually works for him.

Another thing I find that keeps him relatively calmer than his usual self, is putting on sunglasses/goggles. Since it's goggles, it eliminates side vision.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
If she's hungry in the morning, clicking and treating might be extra powerful....though few things can compete with the thrill of hysterical barking. 😭
😭 No kidding. And yes, she’s extra hungry in the morning! She and Fluffy are polar opposites in almost every way, lol.


Thank you! I’ll have to give it a listen!

Have you considered a muzzle? I bought a clothe one for Rocky. I've used it a few times, for example, when I take him to a park filled with children. The muzzle keeps him relatively calm in such a busy environment. I will take it off and see if he remains calm...and it actually works for him.
I’ve thought about it... But I’ve walked by some people who have, whether they admitted it or not, been afraid of Misty, even when she isn’t acting like a lunatic and barking like there’s no tomorrow. She’s never nipped at or been ferocious towards anyone, just a bit loud at times. Doesn’t stop people from giving us a look as they pass though. My concern is that having the muzzle would make things worse. I did order a gentle leader, though, so maybe that might have the same effect?
Another thing I find that keeps him relatively calmer than his usual self, is putting on sunglasses/goggles. Since it's goggles, it eliminates side vision.
Oh, that’s so so cute. Do you have a picture?

We tried the exercise before walk and a short training session before leaving. I also went on a route backwards to what we normally do. The barking was still there, but she didn’t bark at her normal areas. Hopefully that’s a good sign!

There was a lady on our walk we bumped into who, when she heard me tell Misty to be quiet and saw me swerve to the side to let her pass, told me “oh, it’s okay, I’ll just go the other way”. And then did so without another word. And can I just say that may all her Reese’s come completely off the wrapper, her car get excellent mileage, and all her wishes come true!
 

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@FloofyPoodle I won't be able to post pics 'till Friday. In the meantime, regarding the muzzle - Rocky's is a clothe bright color one. At the farmer's market, people have jokingly, or seriously, thought it was a covid mask he was wearing. I understand your concern about a muzzle making your pup look mean or a potential biter; however, I was thinking perhaps you can find one made of clothe with a fashionable, fun-animation design on it or neutral color that matches/blends with your pups' fur color.
 

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I struggled with Stella barking like a maniac on and off all day, every day for just under a year. It sounds like you've tried pretty much alot of what there is, but I found our solution. I got a handheld ultrasonic device. It's just a little remote type thing you pick up, then push a button for it to sound. At the beginning, it scared Stella, which made me feel guilty. But in the long run, I no longer feel guilty. I only had to sound ir a few times overall. Because it scared her, all I have to do is pick it up and show it to her. The perceived threat is enough to work. Actually, she stopped paying attention to the sound long before now, but the threat is greater than the effect of the sound. It isn't perfect, but some of her barking is coming from anxiety and we are dealing with that. But I have a much quieter household. I wish you the best! I know how infuriating and frustrating all the barking can bo.
 

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I find chicken solves most problems. If the dogs know I have a pot in my pocket I can get their attention back from practically anything (except, perhaps, Poppy's from chasing chickens...). Then make a game of backing up, and trying to walk past the relevant houses without barking, heeling or staying close, with frequent rewards of more chicken and lots of jolly praise - it's hard to bark and eat at the same time. That adds the reward of proceeding with the walk, on top of generous doses of chicken. Might be a good idea to warn the neighbours, so they know there may be more, rather than less, barking while you work through it.
 
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