Thou shall not bark!

This is the “chicken lady” aka Vanessa. She has pouches full of chicken meat and we know it!

When she says “sit” and immediately our bums hit the ground!IMG_3458 We await anxiously for those pieces of chicken that she throws on the groundIMG_3472 I do my “please”IMG_3469 Even a wave!IMG_3473 Then it’s George’s turn –IMG_3471 He seriously looks like a meerkat!IMG_3470Vanessa worked on George’s recall – and he was impressively good.  But Mummy assured her, he’s not!!!
IMG_3493 Sure enough he did run away and did his usual “distant look and run.” Vanessa then understood what Mummy meant. So he’s back on long lead training – which we know it’s a bore for him.

Vanessa also worked on our leaving each other alone when one is being given attention or treats.IMG_3483 So when I had a treat, George had to wait.IMG_3488 And when it was George’s turn, I had to stay in my place.IMG_3486May’s comment:  I really wonder if the day will come when we can all go for a walk without worrying if George is going to do a runner – again.  At the moment it is stressful walking with him. If he’s kept on the lead, he gets so frustrated he pulls and he barks.  It makes walking with just Darcy alone like a breeze.

But the reason I had consulted with Vanessa who is a dog behaviourist is my curiosity about Darcy’s barking when she’s playing with George or other dogs.  I thought maybe it’s because Darcy’s frustrated that the others don’t run fast enough for her.  I would always say she’s very boisterous, urging others to play.

Instead I was told that “high levels of vocalisation during play indicates that the dog has a tendency towards feeling nervous and insecure.”

But when barking is followed by pleasant outcomes – the anxiety is replaced with confidence and self-reward.  As she continues to bark, it gives me less control.  And the barking trains them to become very quickly aroused during other situations, e.g. interacting with other dogs.

Play is also a behaviour that is very closely related to fighting, so one can become the other in the blink of an eye.

Increased vocalisation also indicates increased levels of frustration, which can also lead to aggression – either from the frustrated dog, as he is not getting what he wants, or from the targeted dog, that needs to escalate his behaviour to make the frustrated dog back away.

That’s what I am fearful of. If one day she barked at the wrong dog – she would find herself in deep trouble. I have seen that whenever any of those big dogs that she barked at came towards her, she would run and squeal with such fright. She’s actually afraid of them and the barking is her being vocally defensive.

So there are really days when I wonder if going for walks with the two of them will ever be stress free. Will Georgie get recall 100% or 90%? I worry that even if he knows how to come back, he is so small that he can easily get lost and I can’t see him. He was a stray and maybe four months isn’t long enough for him to forget his previous way of life – that his world has no boundaries.

Will Darcy learn to not bark when playing?  I know she will but it means I can’t really take them both out at the same time for awhile as they each have to re-learn or unlearn their individual issues.

I always feel like I am disturbing the peaceful state of the parks when I am shouting after George all the time.


  1. Caz

    I do sympathise May.My two dogs ROXY the Yorkie and Ruby the Cockapoo both have differing issues especially on walks and I find it difficult to cope with both at the same time. As for when my partners Beagle comes to stay while his Dad is away working…….that is another issue.I wonder if it is easier with pooches of the same breed ?

  2. Maggie

    Hi May, first of all I think you are doing very very well with the two of them, so you deserve a huge pat on the back. OK, just to let you know …… That I have the same problem with Sealea that you are having with George….. I don’t want to worry you ….. And I am sure as George is so young still you will train him to come back ….. Sealea has had loads of training…. With all sorts of whistles, squeakers, raw chicken wings ……. Long leads … Extra long leads … To try and train her to come back, her recall. She is much much better ….. But I cannot even now totally trust her …. We go to Kenilworth Abbey Fields to a huge green expanse and through a ball for her …… She comes back with it about 9 times …… Then if we continue ….. She may come back …. And the suddenly …. For no reason ….mashed has become dead. And we have tried all sorts of tips to get her to return. She will not come until SHE is ready which is hopeless and dangerous. because she has a very very friendly and open nature, she thinks everyone is her new best friend, and will run across the field, grass to anyone who is walking ….. I have to yell, shout, ‘please hold her collar, she won’t bite you’!!! we have tried ignoring it , walking other way, turning back on her, etc etc. I am very worried that she will run off, disappear, find the road , need I say any more! So I am worried. We will continue trying of course, but when I see other dogs loll oping along …. Returning to their owner when commanded …. I feel disappointed and sad!!! I don’t tell Sealea off, no point, …. But?…!! She is 3 years old now. Ee didn’t actually have her full time until she was about 18 months, and although I went to dog training with her and my grandaughter , I couldn’t reinforce the training on a daily basis cos we didn’t have her daily!

    So …… Just to say you are not alone ….. And good luck with George’s training!

    • Miss Darcy

      Thanks, Maggie.
      I know we’ve only had George for four months and maybe being too optimistic.
      The dog behaviourist told me he isn’t ready to be let off completely because his instinct is to go anywhere he finds interesting. That was his life for more than a year.
      Recall is not a natural thing for him. As someone said – he had more time on his own than he was with you.
      I don’t know if he will ever learn.
      Darcy on the other hand also has selective recall – she runs and she runs – and firmed who have cockapoos that constantly stay by their side watches Darcy run with envy. She sure gets her exercises in. But I trust her to come back and she’s watching out for me. When I turn my back and walk the other way, she comes running to go in that direction. And there are days when she will run around just where I am. When I sit – she doesn’t run off. It’s interesting the psychology of it.

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