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Staffy Puppy Barking When We Are Eating Dinner

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Hi,

We have a 8 month old staffordshire bull terrier puppy who barks when we are eating and sometimes when we are watching TV. Our obedience instructor told us the best thing we can do is ignore it - but that does not seem to be working. any other ideas? it is more than often a whiney bark as well and quite ear piercing. he does not tend to bark much at other times. I am thinking it is an attention thing but I am unsure of how to react to it.

Thanks. :rolleyes:

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Teebs   

Maybe crate him while you are eating?

Kaos, my SBT does the same thing when i am getting her food ready, it drives me mad, and it is at 6am in the morning.. i am sure the neighbors love it as well :rolleyes:

I now leave her inside while getting food ready, than bring her out

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If I put him outside or in the laundry he still complains but atleast it isn't right in our faces!! our obedience lady also suggested giving him a pigs ear while we are eating BUT he goes through way too fast so he is finished before we have!!

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You could also try having him alongfside you at mealtimes..ON LEAD.. with corrections applied whenever he starts something..and quiet praise when he is lying peacefully?

It may take some time...but at least he then knows what is expected.

Also..try this... so he gets the message that you are "god"... and all good things come thru you..and his acceptance of this fact :rolleyes:

http://www.dolforums.com.au/index.php?showtopic=64101

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Dogsfevr   

At meal times has he been feed already??

Has he been previously given food from the table??

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Our 4month old staffy pup barks at us whilst we are sitting on the couch after dinner when her energy levels are up again, so we have a bit of a wrestle and that useally sorts her out but sometimes she just barks and barks for no reason ( well i guess the reason is that she wants our attention). We have a bark busters toy which is a mesh bag filled with marbles (i think). if she is barking like mad we will throw this on the ground behind her to give her a fright and distract her, then we can ask for a sit command and then praise her and continue on from there.

good luck, have you got a food/treat ball, we give her her dry food in this and it takes her a while to get her whole meal and by the time she has done she has worn off some energy, good luck

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I wouldn't offer any treats while you eat. To me that would just reinforce the behaviour you are trying to solve. I know that staffys can be very stubborn and if he has been doing it for 6 months it may be a very hard habit to break.

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I usually feed him before we have dinner as we have dinner quite late. He has his breakfast in a treat cube which he loves - I didn't think giving him food while we are eating was a good idea either and I always tell my partner not to feed him tit bits from the table as this is just reinforcing the barking. he is a very vocal dog - no doubt he is a staffy. I will look into the bark busters toy - thanks for that.

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Wobbly   

No tid bits form the table - unless you want a dog that thinks it is his right - if your OH has been doing it that's probably why he barks. He believes it's his right to eat your food, and objects when you deny him this right.

You will have to perservere with ignoring him and if it's a habit, it will take some time, if you've weakened and fed him from the table again to shut him up, it will take even longer, random reinforcements ingrain a behaviour deeply. The barking will get worse for a little period - this is called an extinction burst. Here is an explanation of an extinction burst from here: http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm

"Your dog already knows that he can demand your attention and he knows what works to get that to happen. As of today, it no longer works, but he doesn't know that yet. We all try harder at something we know works when it stops working. If I gave you a twenty dollar bill every time you clapped your hands together, you'd clap a lot. But, if I suddenly stopped handing you money, even though you were still clapping, you'd clap more and clap louder. You might even get closer to me to make sure I was noticing that you were clapping. You might even shout at me "Hey! I'm clapping like crazy over here, where's the money?". If I didn't respond at all, in any way, you'd stop. It wasn't working anymore. That last try -- that loud, frequent clapping is an extinction burst. If, however, during that extinction burst, I gave you another twenty dollar bill you'd be right back in it. It would take a lot longer to get you to stop clapping because you just learned that if you try hard enough, it will work. "

It will help you alot if you read the entire NILIF article in that link, and apply it so your dog knows he doesn't call the shots and that demanding stuff of you doesn't work.

Expect it to get worse before it gets better, but he WILL stop if you ignore him. Use NILIF and have the patience and consistency to see it through. I would eat snacks on my feet a few times every day, don't give him any, eat it slowly enough that he will bark, when he does, actively ignore him - turn away immediately, no eye contact, no nothing, just walk away and close the door behind you so he can't follow. All a staffy wants in life is your attention and once he realises that barking results in you actively removing your attention, and worse even leaving his presence, he will stop. I've rid my girl of some horrible attention seeking ingrained habits (jumping and nipping - probably why her owners never picked her up from the pound - I was covered in bruises and cuts the first few weeks I had her - it has taken 3 months to finally extinguish the behaviour, it must have been randomly reinforced to be so strong and ingrained). Ignore him, actively ignore him by turning around walking away and closing the door on him, implement NILIF and wait out the extnction burst.

Remember dogs do what works, and they learn from experience, barking was working so he got into the habit.

Good luck.

ETA - for most staffys their primary love is being with their humans and having human attention focussed on them. So walking away and closing the door is about the harshest punishment you could possibly apply, in their eyes, its far more upsetting than a leash correction.

Edited by Wobbly

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Wobbly   

Another bit: When you're at the table you obviously don't want to get up and move into another room. The solution is removing him. Let him in the dining room when you start eating, then as soon he barks, a stern NO (to mark the behaviour as wrong), no other acknowledgement, grab his collar and march him to the laundry while you finish your meal.

You need the NO in this case because there may be a slight delay between him barking and being put in the laundry. Dogs are fantastic at cause and effect, but the effect has to overlap the cause for them to get it. You need to comunicate that the cause is barking the effect is timeout from human company. If you left out the NO in this case and he's stopped barking by the time he gets grabbed and marched into timeout he may not make the association, your stern NO happening at the time he is barking communicates that it is the barking behaviour that caused you to react by putting him in timeout.

In the standing eating snack and walking away, closing door scenario the punishment (active ignoring) overlaps the barking already ie he barks = you turn and walk away, and close the door. Cause overlaps effect so its clear to him why you're ignoring him.

If you do both those things you are teaching him from 2 angles:

In the first scenario - barking = you turn around and walk away into another room, he is completely ignored, which is a fate worse than death.

In the second scenario - barking = your stern NO indicates the barking causes you to react by putting him into time out from humans.

Dogs operate totally on cause and effect. You just need him to understand that barking causes ignoring and loss of company.

If you put him in timeout before he barks, he has no idea that he's put there because he barks, he can't make that logic leap, so you're not addressing the problem, just avoiding it. Leash corrections work too, but for my dog ignoring and timeout is a worse punishment.

Once you teach him to sit before he eats, he will learn that for the effect to be being given food he must sit. When I'm eating snacks around the house my girl SITS! if I don't respond she'll stand up and sit more emphatically as if to say "look look, I'm sitting please give me some :laugh:" She's learnt the best way to get food is to sit quietly.

When we're at the dinner table, she knows she doesn't get any, never has, never will so she doesn't even bother trying any more, she sits a few metres away an the rug, doesn't even watch us, she's given up all hope of ever eating at the dining table. Once our meal is over and I go into the kitchen with the plates after we've finished dinner, she'll race to the kitchen with me, coz she knows that's the signal for getting something off the plate. This also means every time I go to the kitchen she comes with me and sits, just in case there's food going, but that's a behaviour I don't really mind, it's handy when I spill food on the floor, she does a preliminary clean up.

Sorry for the ramble, I really empathise with the bully breed attention seeking. LOL It can be brutal, just be thankful you've only got barking, I had a 9 month old who had learnt that jumping and nipping was the key to success in getting attention, at first when she was ignored she jumped higher and nipped harder. It was awful, correction verbal or collar, she took as a "win" coming from the pound I guess negative attention was better than none to her. I tried rolling her on her back and holding her mouth closed on the advice of a trainer, she thought this was fantastic too - a game of wrestling! :rolleyes:

In the end, the only thing that really upset her enough to qualify as punishing enough to work was being ignored and put out of my sight.

ETA Also that triangle of temptation that Persephone linked you to is the best thing ever, ever, ever. Do it, it's fantastic, my dog has the best food manners in the world, entirely due to that program, it should be mandatory for all dogs. Here's the link again, read it a few times so you absolutely understand it, do it, the results are phenomenal. http://www.dolforums.com.au/index.php?showtopic=64101

Edited by Wobbly

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Another bit: When you're at the table you obviously don't want to get up and move into another room. The solution is removing him. Let him in the dining room when you start eating, then as soon he barks, a stern NO (to mark the behaviour as wrong), no other acknowledgement, grab his collar and march him to the laundry while you finish your meal.

You need the NO in this case because there may be a slight delay between him barking and being put in the laundry. Dogs are fantastic at cause and effect, but the effect has to overlap the cause for them to get it. You need to comunicate that the cause is barking the effect is timeout from human company. If you left out the NO in this case and he's stopped barking by the time he gets grabbed and marched into timeout he may not make the association, your stern NO happening at the time he is barking communicates that it is the barking behaviour that caused you to react by putting him in timeout.

In the standing eating snack and walking away, closing door scenario the punishment (active ignoring) overlaps the barking already ie he barks = you turn and walk away, and close the door. Cause overlaps effect so its clear to him why you're ignoring him.

If you do both those things you are teaching him from 2 angles:

In the first scenario - barking = you turn around and walk away into another room, he is completely ignored, which is a fate worse than death.

In the second scenario - barking = your stern NO indicates the barking causes you to react by putting him into time out from humans.

Dogs operate totally on cause and effect. You just need him to understand that barking causes ignoring and loss of company.

If you put him in timeout before he barks, he has no idea that he's put there because he barks, he can't make that logic leap, so you're not addressing the problem, just avoiding it. Leash corrections work too, but for my dog ignoring and timeout is a worse punishment.

Once you teach him to sit before he eats, he will learn that for the effect to be being given food he must sit. When I'm eating snacks around the house my girl SITS! if I don't respond she'll stand up and sit more emphatically as if to say "look look, I'm sitting please give me some :laugh:" She's learnt the best way to get food is to sit quietly.

When we're at the dinner table, she knows she doesn't get any, never has, never will so she doesn't even bother trying any more, she sits a few metres away an the rug, doesn't even watch us, she's given up all hope of ever eating at the dining table. Once our meal is over and I go into the kitchen with the plates after we've finished dinner, she'll race to the kitchen with me, coz she knows that's the signal for getting something off the plate. This also means every time I go to the kitchen she comes with me and sits, just in case there's food going, but that's a behaviour I don't really mind, it's handy when I spill food on the floor, she does a preliminary clean up.

Sorry for the ramble, I really empathise with the bully breed attention seeking. LOL It can be brutal, just be thankful you've only got barking, I had a 9 month old who had learnt that jumping and nipping was the key to success in getting attention, at first when she was ignored she jumped higher and nipped harder. It was awful, correction verbal or collar, she took as a "win" coming from the pound I guess negative attention was better than none to her. I tried rolling her on her back and holding her mouth closed on the advice of a trainer, she thought this was fantastic too - a game of wrestling! :rolleyes:

In the end, the only thing that really upset her enough to qualify as punishing enough to work was being ignored and put out of my sight.

ETA Also that triangle of temptation that Persephone linked you to is the best thing ever, ever, ever. Do it, it's fantastic, my dog has the best food manners in the world, entirely due to that program, it should be mandatory for all dogs. Here's the link again, read it a few times so you absolutely understand it, do it, the results are phenomenal. http://www.dolforums.com.au/index.php?showtopic=64101

Thank you so much Wobbly, everything you said makes complete sense - that's great advice - sounds like you have done a great job with your little one. just a question re: Triangle of Temptation - did you have your girl when she was tied to her collar or harness? my little boy had both but gets walked on harness.

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Wobbly   

Just a flat collar - I have never used a harness, I found I didn't need the lead for very long, might have only been a week - she got the hang of sit and stay until released very quickly. :rolleyes:

She was older than your boy though - so he might not get it as quickly as she did. Make sure you get the eye contact though, I missed out on that to start with, but luckily it was easily remedied once I realised it, I just waited till she looked me in the eye before she was released - only took about 3-4 meals to fix :laugh:

Dogs learn quickly when food or play is the motivator.

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Just a flat collar - I have never used a harness, I found I didn't need the lead for very long, might have only been a week - she got the hang of sit and stay until released very quickly. :rolleyes:

She was older than your boy though - so he might not get it as quickly as she did. Make sure you get the eye contact though, I missed out on that to start with, but luckily it was easily remedied once I realised it, I just waited till she looked me in the eye before she was released - only took about 3-4 meals to fix :laugh:

Dogs learn quickly when food or play is the motivator.

Thanks again Wobbly - how old is your little girl now? do you have anyother photos of her?

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Wobbly   

At a guess she's 12 months now - give or take a few months - I don't really know - the pound said 12 months when I got her in Feb (but they chipped her as 2 yrs old lol), everyone else including me thought 8-9 months or so. We still have some serious issues to address - she's awful with other dogs. The main thing though is whoever had her first really loved her, no manners or training at all, but she's confident, happy and friendly to all people. I wish I could have had her in puppyhood though.

Got millions of pics :rolleyes: I've been meaning to put up a thread in the photos forum so I'll get to it, and send you a link.

I really am a novice, pretty much everything I've learnt has been through sifting through DOL - figuring out that ignoring was the best tactic for us took some trial and error, probably why it took so long to fix the jumping and nipping. Different dogs have different motivators though, the ignoring tactic might not work so well for a more independent breed like a husky, but it's good for Bully breeds because most live for human attention and company.

Good luck with your boy, some pics of him would be awesome. That Triangle of Temptation is phenomenal, it took me a few reads to really understand all the nuances and aims, so I messed it up at first, but luckily the mistake was easy to fix. I'd say do it, then read it again to compare how you went with the writen technique for a few nights just so you're sure you've got it all right, it's pinned to the top of the training forum so it's easy to find. :laugh:

I've found this site awesome reading too :

http://www.k9events.com/training1.htm

If you look at the menu up the top, it has links to behavioural, puppies, training etc, I've spent lots of nights readin stuff here - all the sections have lots of different articles by different people on different issues, many different perspectives, so you can find what works best for you - every dog is an individual and so is every owner, so what works for someone else mighn't necessarily be best for you, it pays to look around, but I've found the articles here all well worth a read.

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I'm looking for advice for annoying barking first thing every morning. My male English staffy is recently desexed, 9mths old, barks while in the dogpen with his mum, mum doesn't bark tho. From 6am Every morning, I'd like to know how I can change his behaviour and just be quiet till I come let him out. He can go toilet while in dogpen, I'm out of options I feel. Thanks

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Let him out in the morning when he is quiet before he starts barking. It may be earlier than you desire, but it prevents him practicing barking and rewards him for the silent moments. Then as you get better at releasing him before he even thinks of barking and thus rewarding him for being quiet, you can start delaying it by a few more minutes every morning.

Then during the day, practice play pen manners. This video explains a process you build now to save time later:
 


(this one is about teaching dog to be quiet while another dog is being trained. But instead of training another dog, you can do bits and pieces of your morning routine and give your puppy a treat for watching quietly. clicker is optional, just give them a treat when being quiet)

 

The rest will be time and practice :) you can do it!

Edited by Two Best Dogs!
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sheena   
3 hours ago, Cheekyaxel said:

Thanks! Will try that

Just make sure your dog understands clicker training & what the clicker means.  That link above will take you to lessons on how to clicker train.  I clicker train all my dogs behaviours

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KobiD   

Lots of good info here. I'll share our experience.. certainly went through similar things at the same age.

We got through it with the same advice. IGNORING IT! That means the whole family, no eye contact. No interruption words. Our dog would be outside while we ate inside so she would stand at the door and seek attention. She has learnt through repetition that if she remains quite she usually gets brought a leftover/treat once we've finished and while we clean up. Remember the longer something has been practised the longer it takes to break through - be aware of extinction bursts (things may get worse before they get better). 

We also use marker words for positive behaviour, but have also trained a bit of a chained behaviour when eating at the outside table. She isn't barky, but certainly 'works' for treats. Cycling through some learnt behaviours. Sit, lay down, relax, back to sit. She hasn't built the duration.. but I'm ok with that as long as she isn't pawing, jumping, or snatching. 


 

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