Does your Golden Retriever constantly bark at anything and everything? Have you tried in the past to try to stop the behavior on your own but just couldn't seem to find the right approach that worked?
In this GRRA "Good Goldens" post, we've called upon our training partner Chris McLeod from The Canine Ranch (thecanineranch.com) in Canton, GA to personally assist us with her canine behavioral expertise regarding excessive barking and what you can do to help your adopted Golden be a Good Golden.
This type of barking is typically an alert bark, so let’s address this by taking an example of a doorway.
The doorbell rings and the dog starts barking non-stop at the door. Go to the door and stand in front of the door with your back to the door. Step towards the dog and ask them to step away from the door area (I usually shoo with my hands as well).
If you have a rug or boundary that you can ask them to move back towards, pick that area as your goal, and make them move back maybe 3 or 4 feet. Just move them away from the door. The goal is to be quiet, not to sit or down - that’s for another day.
Once they’ve moved back, say your words, “Quiet” or “Enough” or “No Speak”. Use the same words, and only those words. Once they’re quiet for just a moment, say “Thank You” or “Good Dog” or something that you’ll say continuously.
Don’t open the door until the dog is quiet. Now the dog barks at the window - do the same there. Step in front, move towards the dog, and get them to move back.
The reason this exercise works is that we’re mimicking the way a dog would posture over a bone. Dogs recognize the body language of standing in front of something that we own or control.
By standing in front of something that is “alerting”, you’re letting the dog know that you now own that problem. You now “own” the window and all the noises that come from behind it as well.
You can apply this same theory to any scenario, but don’t expect results outside until you see results inside. Dogs have less control of their emotions when there are more stimulus around, so they have to learn to control themselves with more things going on.
It would be unrealistic to expect them to control themselves with cars and bicycles going by if they can’t control themselves with a vacuum cleaner or a doorbell. Work from smaller distractions to bigger and harder distractions, always making sure that you reward for success (but not with cookies!).
Just reward with praise and affection. You’ll see a different in no time!
Do you have any training or behavioral issues regarding your GRRA Golden Retriever that you'd like to ask Chris McLeod from The Canine Ranch? Tell us on our GRRA Facebook page and we'll be happy to pass along your question. We're always here to help our adopting families. All you have to do is ask!