Dog Training
September 25, 2004 12:10 PM   Subscribe

How do train a small little yippy dog to not bark so much while in the backyard?

She's a Shelty, really sweet and attentive, so probably easily trainable. She annoys me when she is outside, barking at neighbors, passing dogs, cars, bugs, and mailmen, so I am sure she annoys the neighbors. She is an indoor dog most of the time.
posted by Espoo2 to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
That requires some pretty attentive training, I think. Stick with her while in the backyard, and shush her up whenever she is about to start. Keep this up until she gets the idea.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:33 PM on September 25, 2004

there was an earlier discussion (i can't remember where - it may have been a meta callout for me, thinking about it) that mentioned some kind of collar that gave a small shock when the dog barked.
alternatively (although i don't know anything about training dogs) if the dog trains well, wouldn't a stern "no" each time it happens (and a reward when she's silent) stop it soon enough?
(and thanks for asking).

what's stupid and walks round in circles? filmgeek with one foot stapled to the floor.
what do you call filmgeek with hands duct-taped away from the keyboard? a start.

posted by andrew cooke at 12:36 PM on September 25, 2004

My mother in law got a collar that sprays citronella when the dog barks. That shut her up pretty quickly, and it lasted after the collar was packed away again.
posted by twine42 at 1:30 PM on September 25, 2004

That is simply brilliant, twine42. And here I was, thinking a muzzle would be a good solution (and not nearly as permanent).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:46 PM on September 25, 2004

One method I've seen used is to train the dog to bark on command, then withhold the command. Hand signals work better than spoken commands, since the dog can perceive a visual signal more easily.
posted by SPrintF at 1:52 PM on September 25, 2004

The citronella collar doesn't always work. Some dogs just bark through it until it's fully discharged. It's worth trying, however.
posted by ambrosia at 1:53 PM on September 25, 2004

Do you leave her alone in the yard? If so, stop. Barking is a self-reinforcing behaviour and you cannot manage it successfully if you're not there.

Shelties have been bred for generations to be barky, remember that you're working against how your dog is meant to be. I agree with using a citronella collar (call local vets to see if they'll rent one to you before you buy one, just in case), I do NOT agree with using a shock collar, in general, but especially on a Sheltie, Shelties in particular do not respond at all well to punitive training methods. Here is a really good article on training with a citronella collar, part of the reason they don't always work is that people don't use them as a training adjunct (they interrupt the behaviour, you reward the stoppage in behaviour), which is ideally how they should be used.

I also suggest you start doing some regular training work with her, get into agility or something, but at least take a regular positive, motivational obedience class - Shelties are intelligent working dogs, they are not well-suited to doing nothing, and nuisance barking is often a symptom of boredom - a tired dog, both mentally and physically, is a good dog.
posted by biscotti at 2:49 PM on September 25, 2004

Shelties have been bred for generations to be barky

By this I mean that excessive barking is not in any way considered a negative for what Shelties are bred to do (i.e. herding and being farm dogs), and is in many cases considered a positive.
posted by biscotti at 2:51 PM on September 25, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies. She is a good, smart dog, and is inside most of the time. I usually let her out into the backyard for an hour or so in the afternoon and evening. We also have an 18 month old Saint Bernard, and the dogs are completely different, obviously.

I'll look into the citronella collars.
posted by Espoo2 at 3:15 PM on September 25, 2004

There are sound, vibration, electric shock bark collars as well as the citronella. I can't recommend a particular model. I bet there's some variance in how effectively they sense when the dog is barking, and each dog will probably react differently to different "discouragements."
posted by scarabic at 9:51 PM on September 25, 2004

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