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We have a baby gate and most of the time don't let Oona upstairs when one of us goes up to get dressed or whatever, except when I let her come to hang out with me in the office while I work, or sometimes she'll get to come up to wake someone up, or when she needs a bath. Here's the thing.

She seems to get really activated and barks nearly every time my husband or daughter goes upstairs, but is quiet when I go up. (I did work with her for quiet after she barked a few times, plus I go up and down a lot more when I'm working in the office, so I thought that was why and that they just needed to work on it more with her). When I go up without her, she usually waits for me at the bottom for me to come back down. When one of them goes up, she can stay quiet if I focus her first and ask her to sit or lie down and reward her for quiet, but if I can't intervene and my daughter goes up to get ready in the morning, she barks and jumps and makes as if she would like to chase her. She does the same with my husband. Both of them have had some success asking her to sit themselves and to stay quiet and toss her a kibble once they go up a few steps, but they don't do this each time. I chalked it up to something we need to work on as a family and that I can help with when one of them goes up.

BUT. THEN. Today I went out to the barn for a couple hours and my husband and daughter did some house tidying which entailed many trips up and down the stairs (leaving Oona on the main floor). My husband tells me that when I was gone, they were able to go up the stairs many times and she didn't bark at all.

So, me being there is part of the problem and it's not just that she "knows to be quiet" when she's listening to me. It could be:
1. That she wants something from me (ie, attention, yelling "Oona no!" when I can't get to her in time?) or,
2. she's doing it FOR me, as a kind of warning/alert. What do you all think?
3. Something else?
How should we go about figuring it out, and how should the answer (if I figure it out) affect our strategy to deal with the behavior?
 

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I’m not a dog trainer but I think she is protective of you. If you show her you disagree with the behavior, like you really mean it, she should stop. You need to stop her even before she starts, if possible, or right at the beginning.

I’m sure other people will come soon with good advice.
 

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Interesting.. I don't have an answer, and it sounds similar to what I experience with Basil when I'm at my folks house. I haven't been able to connect the dots or seen a similar thread (yet).

For example, I'll be hanging out in the living room and I've interpreted Basil's barking when Grandpa showers or Grandma is in her WFH office with doors closed as wanting to keep tabs on every member the pack. Again, no professional. "DAD, GRANDMAS BEHIND THIS DOOR Bark". Yes, I know.... "DAD, GRANDPA IS TAKING A SHOWER Bark". Yes, I know... But, when I go upstairs to print something or I go to the bathroom and close the door or take a shower with the door closed, not a peep. I don't know if the barrier between them and her is an separation anxiety issue... But, your not alone with unexplainable poodle behavior.
 

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I have a similar issue with Topper. We don't let him upstairs yet, and that's where the bathroom and bedrooms are. Every time I go upstairs he comes running to the gate and starts barking at me. He doesn't do this for my husband, so I guess one of us is more special. The issue has gotten a little better as Topper has matured, but I still handle it by ignoring the behavior I don't want and rewarding the behavior I do want. I hope I'm doing the right thing! He's a very people-oriented dog with a high pack drive.
 

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Winnie 10/24/20 standard poodle
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We have a similar situation but we don't have steps we just have a gate between the kitchen/family room and the rest of the house. Winnie is only allowed in the back when we go to bed. There are times with no rhyme nor reason that she carries on for one or all of us when we leave her behind. Some times she's quiet others she's not. It's getting better so we just keep doing what we're doing and hope for better tomorrow. 😊
 
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