Exuberant Barking

Dog looking up

I like seeing excited dogs, I really do, but not bouncing off the cabinets in my kitchen or jumping and leaping on the way to the car. As much as I love Paisley, her bark can peel the paint off walls, so we’ve been working on training controlled excitement.

Since the dogs get fed at the same time every day, they know when I head to the kitchen what’s coming. While Shira and Rox are excited, they’re not spinning and barking and giving me a headache like Pais. To combat this, I determined that barking slows me down, silence (jumping and spinning is ok, just no barking) makes me go faster. For any bark that happens while I go into the kitchen, I stop and wait. When Pais is quiet for a count of 5, I move. When I started this I looked like I was marching down the aisle in some bizarre wedding, but Pais has learned pretty quickly. There is no verbal communication, no “quiet” or “no” of any kind. Her bark simply makes me stop. She has to be quiet while I put the food in the bowls, if she barks I step away from the counter and wait.

I didn’t want the other 2 dogs to have to wait, so after the dishes are full I feed Shira and Rox at my normal speed. On my way to feed Pais, she has to be quiet or I step-pause my way to her feeding location.
It’s been about a week and we’re down to one or two barks as I head into the kitchen and some more while I’m feeding Shira and Rox, but that’s it. Is Pais less exuberant about dinner time? Nope, she’s just quiet about it.

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