Dog Experts - any advice re: Barking?!

Rafferoo

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I am the proud owner of a 6 year old JRT. She is a fantastic little dog who spends all day with me at work (currently asleep in my offfice!) and is full of beans, very clever and alert and a general joy to be with. However we do have a bit of an issue with barking at home. She barks when people arrive/post comes etc which I don't have a problem with but she also barks a lot at wildlife visible from the house.

There is an interesting scale of barks with just a small woof for garden birds (does ignore these most of the time), a fairly good bark for pigeons (not a fan of them at all), a full blown barking attack for squirrels (really not keen) and the most extreme reaction is reserved for our neighbours tough nut ginger toms (hates them with a passion - especially as she knows full well they could beat her in a fight). I have to be honest over the years I have got very lazy and just try to ignore it because everything I have tried does not seem to stop her and as we are out of the house a lot (work during week, stables at weekend) it has not been a huge issue.

I am however rather pregnant at the moment and have been at home a lot more which means the barking has become more noticable. I am also worried that she is going to constantly wake the baby when he arrives. I have tried distracting her, reprimanding her and also a spray collar. The collar makes her sneeze but unfortunately she is certainly not going to let that stop her!!

In other respects she is quite well behaved - great recall - good off the lead, doesn't wander, affectionate and I absolutely love her to bits (she is maybe a tad spoilt!).

So dog experts - any tips for me? I would be eternally grateful if anyone could help me get this sorted or even just improved a bit!
 

Rafferoo

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Mainly at the patio doors as she can see out of them so easily. She also barks out of the bedroom window as she can jump up onto the window sill. There are lots of trees around the house hence lots of squirrels and pigeons for her to bark at! She also barks at them when out in our garden although she walks past lots of pigeons everyday on the way to the office and doesn't say a peep!!

She only barks at the door if someone knocks or she hears someone on the drive which I don't really mind.
 

CorvusCorax

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Was going to say 'close the curtains' ;p

At six, it's going to be a hard one to break as the habit is ingrained and you have not been consistent in the past x
 

Kaylum

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Sometimes dogs are just being dogs. Tobehonest she sounds like a fantastic little house dog. X

My girl barks at strangers she is just doing her job and I am not going to stop her.
 

PorkChop

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Sorry can't offer any other advice, but don't worry about your baby being disturbed.

He/she will have heard the barking whilst you are pregnant, and everyday regular noises will not generally wake them up.
 

Rafferoo

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Thanks for the replys. CC and littlemiss the curtains are v effective so I can always keep them closed more! Also good to hear that hopefully the baby will be used to the noise already : ) little dog rests her chin on the bump every night and is much loved so I can certainly put up with the noise if I have to. I should video her for your amusement though as her squirrel barking routine is quite impressive and involves barking whilst walking backwards on her hind legs!
 

littlemisslauren

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Thanks for the replys. CC and littlemiss the curtains are v effective so I can always keep them closed more! Also good to hear that hopefully the baby will be used to the noise already : ) little dog rests her chin on the bump every night and is much loved so I can certainly put up with the noise if I have to. I should video her for your amusement though as her squirrel barking routine is quite impressive and involves barking whilst walking backwards on her hind legs!
How far along are you now? I'm 25 weeks and my terrorist has used the bump as headrest, although the baby kicked her the other night and she just looked at me in disgust
 

Frisbee123

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I have this issue with my JRT as well, squirrels send him potty and his bed is by the patio doors. I also have an 18 month old daughter so I totally understand your post! Just wait until the day your dog hasn't noticed the squirrel on the fence until your toddler runs over to the window shouting 'squirrel!' :)
My JRT is 8 now, so the habit is not broken, but we have managed to improve it. If you are at home a lot now then this is a good opportunity but it will take a lot of patience.
The main points we worked on were: Don't talk to your dog/tell her off/shout when she is barking as the sudden attention from you may reinforce the behaviour. Give her lots of attention/reward when she is being quiet and calm (This bit will really help you when baby is here as its so easy to ignore the dog when they are not bothering you and then end up giving loads of attention when they are causing a distraction - you can end up reinforcing barking if thats when the dog gets your attention - I made this error with my dogs when my baby was small!).
Does she respond to you if you have her on a lead? It was suggested to me to have a line on my dog in the house and if he started to react to the squirrel, give him a nudge via the lead an 'interruption', then immediatly reward for a break in the behaviour. It will take a while and you need to be consistent.
Or you can just close the curtains :)
 

Rafferoo

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Thanks for the tips Frisbee - she is very good on the lead so that may be worth a try. Also a good point re: inadvertently reinforcing the behaviour which I probably do if I shout! Today I did manage to distract her with a treat for a short time whilst we had a bushy tailed visitor so maybe there is hope!! I laughed re: your daughter pointing out the squirrel to the dog - we have all that fun to look forward to : )
 

stoneybroke

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We only have to pick up the can of compressed air (pet corrector spray) and our gobby black and tan terrier shuts up....do not have to spray it at all.
 
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