SPOILED LITTLE DOG
QUESTION: Help! No matter what we have tried we can't get our 1 year old Schoodle (Schnauzer/poodle cross) to understand not to bark at every-little-thing. Shaking Cans of pennies, squirt gun, keys tossed near him, making loud noises, putting him in a kennel, none of these things work at all. We both work from home so we are with him all the time. When we go out for a few hours with out him he howls as if in torture. When we take him in the car he barks like mad at everyone in sight. He even barks at every animal on TV!
He has quite a temper for a little squirt. He growls madly at us if we try to take things away from him like a stick he picks up on the way home from a walk. He gets soooo mad he sounds really vicious but I really don't think he would bite us??? He knows the word ouch very well and always backs off. I guess he needs more discipline? We let him sleep on the bed and pretty much do what he wants. How do we stop this infernal barking since everything we have tried does not work?
ANSWER: Because I am guilty of this to, I speak from experience. He is spoiled real badly. He simply is not listening to you even a little bit because he has no RESPECT for you. Oh yes, he listens sometimes to some commands but ONLY WHEN HE FEELS LIKE IT, at his own discretion. So please enroll him and yourself in a "Basic Obedience Class" as soon as possible.
Here he will learn, not only Sit, Stay, Come, Down and Heel, he will learn to RESPECT you. He will still love you but now will respect your commands. And best of all, a dog who respects his master(s), considers them the Leader(s) of the Pack, and is a HAPPIER dog. Dogs need to know where they stand in this combination of Human/Dog Pack Situation. You will learn how to correctly discipline him and when to reward him for a job well done.
Now you have his attention, you can put an end to his barking and being less than nice with his growling (dominant behavior).
Pick a word, you do not already use with him for correction. You already use No, stop it, things like that. So let's say you do not use the word ENOUGH with him. Now remember a dog can learn quickly a one-word command, but not sentences. So he starts the barking, sharply, in a dominant no nonsense voice say, "Enough". Still barking, say ONLY one word again, "Enough". Still barking, reach down and grab the loose skin on the back of his neck. Lifting his front legs slightly off the floor, give him a couple of real good shakes, back and forth, back and forth while saying "Enough". Nothing else, just the one command word.
Sounds cruel? Well it isn't. That is how not only a mother dog disciplines their rambunctious older puppies, but also where the dominant canine in a pack situation often grabs another canine to discipline it. Many times they also will grab at the throat of another canine to give him a lesson in manners, but a person will get bit faster that way than shaking by the back of the neck.
He will be totally stunned that for once, you mean business. Having already learned to respect you in the Obedience Classes, he will quickly realize that the single word "Enough" means to stop barking and to do so immediately. This word is now for barking only, nothing else. He must associate the word with barking only. Don’t feel bad about the pitiful looks you get from him or the submissive poster. All canines automatically do the same with their leaders too. It is actually a good sign. It means they know they have over stepped their boundaries.
I would also nip the growling and being possessive of toys, food, sticks, things like that in the butt too. As dogs get older, they WILL resort to biting if allowed to get away with this behavior. What if it just happened to be a small, wee child trying to take something from him and the child gets seriously bit? Not a good thing.