Jump to content

Barking Mad


Recommended Posts

More of a musing, rather than trying to provoke any arguments.

Why, oh why, do so many people feel that they have to have huge, threatening howling dogs, left to roam in their gardens. I can't beleive its for security in this neck of the foret. My immediate neighbour has a huge german shepherd who could bark for Normandy, he (the neighbour not the dog) runs a smallholding with free range chickens, geese and turkeys and says the smell keeps the foxes away. The dog is totally soft, but gets very bored when everybody is out at work, barks at passing cars and any strangers. To be fair they did ask if his barking was annoying me so I said Yes, and they shot it, like heck, I really said "pas problem" as one does. Whilst attempting to sell this house I've had to run the gauntlet of taking people round the garden:

"The border runs to.. Whoof Whoof Whhoof...and those are cherry tr.. WHOOf WHOOF WHOOOF"

This I can cope with, and so will the future owners, once Maxus knows their scent.

To get back to the point, I decided to have a walk out into the ancient bocage that surrounds me instead of more building work this afternoon. Ab Fab, the colours were wonderfull, knee deep in leaves in ancient lanes, silent pause to see if I could spot the otters. I hope you get the picture.

The end of the walk takes me past an adjoining hamlet where they have several new builds. I'm in a very reflective mood by this time (totally chilled).

ROOOFFF..HOWL..GRRRR... and so on. On my left was another german shepherd, quickly followed by something even larger, seemed to be cross hyena and croc. This then sends off something equally large to my right. The whole section of the valley then picks up the corus, bar the local hunt beagles and Maxus. The houses were very new, and expensive build, and the cars parked tres chic, and the owners were at home. Is this a new fashion. If so bring back the pocket poodle and the rat on a string, can't spell Chichi..woof..waw.

Paul, who will delight in hearing the owls swearing at each other tonight, if that doesn't set the dogs off.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul, I too decided to walk with our dogs today after a heavy week and know that whichever way I choose to leave the village at least three maybe four dogs will rush to various boundaries barking like mad. OK it's just noise and often causes me more amusement than any dislike for their antics.

One set of hounds, constantly confined, are so bored that they literally turn circles in the air at seeing our two dogs and the performance is something to behold.

Unfortuately these regular meetings with bored pets lulls one into a false set of security. Today was different. Like you I was enjoying my solitary walk, and after a while turned for home. Passed the small house on the right when suddenly out of the open gate came a very angry bull terrier which proceeded to devour our border collie. Both are bitches so was slightly surprised at the attack. A woman rushed out but was pretty useless and just kept calling Luna, Luna.(the dog's name) I was tempted to kick it but probably would have been bitten too. Fortunately no blood was drawn and our collie survived intact. I will continue to walk that route, but shall be armed with a BIG stick next time and won't hesitate to use it if Luna decides to hurl herself so aggressively into our midst again.

Perhaps Loony would be a more appropriate name!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Forget barking for Normandy, our Toby is a candidate for the Nobel Prize! So when we're house hunting in France yet another item on the long list of "must haves" is preferably no dogs within sight or sound, a pretty tall order, I'm sure you'll agree.

And being almost neurotic about him being attacked by another dog when I take him out for a walk on a lead - I'm not alone apparently, there was an article about us in the Telegraph recently - dog walking in France is cause for concern.

I can't explain why most rural homes in France always have a dog or two but just accept it as a fact of life there. And I think barking is quite normal at passersby. In fact, our dog trainer reassured us that it was natural for a dog to patrol and protect his territory.

What I love though is the way French owners will glance over their shoulder and casually shout, "il est pas mechant" when you're just trying to walk down the lane passed their open gate and are confronted with a crazy hound, hackles raised, teeth bared, barking like mad.

By the way, I thought I read somewhere that it was actually an offence for dogs to bark in France without a valid reason and that owners could be reported to the police in cases of persistent woofing. Or was I dreaming?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both sides of the channel it doesn't seem to occur to many people to teach their dogs to be quiet. The barking if anything is reinforced by the owner calling its name - a reward in itself. To bark once as a warning is acceptable but barking non-stop isn't, in my view at least. It seems a pretty puerile occupation for an intelligent creature too.
At least the ones you hear are in gardens not tower blocks.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Following this thread I have been asked to give hints on how to stop dogs from barking, unfortunately I am far from being an authority on dogs so hope someone with more experience than me can give advice.
I taught my puppy to be quiet by a combination of saying good quiet when he was quiet, telling him to quiet when he was barking, followed by scolding if he didnt and praise or a treat if he did. He was more inclined to be quiet if down and if reassured that I understood what he was barking about. I never told him to quiet when I was sure that he wouldnt as I understand that he would then have learned to ignore the command. In circumstances where I was particularly keen that he should bark again as a warning should they recur I instead told him thatll do as with other actions which were fine but I wanted him to stop. If he ignored quiet and I was at a distance I yelled shut up before going to him and scolding him. But not if I had my hands too full to do so.
My young dog and I have plenty of trouble areas but he will usually quiet or shut up when told I think that he would agree that when he doesnt hes definitely challenging my authority for whatever reason.
When I see potential for my dog being perturbed by whats passing before he does I call him to me, tell him to down and stay down, and make a bit of a fuss of him. Which in principle should reinforce the nice quiet behaviour and reduce the extent to which he feels threatened.
As I understand it teaching an adult dog who has an ingrained barking pattern to stop is much more difficult.
John Holmes, whose books I have found valuable, says that the best way to teach a dog to stop barking is to teach him to bark on command and then teach him to stop. I havent managed to get mine to bark or growl on command although Ive tried...
As Barbara Woodhouse says, a dog lying down cannot bark for any length of time, so putting your dog down and keeping him there may be the solution; it also is a submissive position and so restores your authority. If you cant do this with him free you can do it with him on a lead - in some ways you are lucky that the passing dogs have such regular habits, whatever your method you can set him up twice a day for practice and gauge your progress.
A traditional method is to put the dog on the lead with a choke collar, let him bark as usual, then give the command quiet followed by a sharp jerk as the next bark is on the way. This should stop the bark and give you the chance to praise the dog . If he starts again say quiet and if he does not stop repeat the process.
It is natural for a dog to bark and he should have the chance to do so regularly - preferably for joy not because hes worried! - but he should also do what you say and for most dogs, like my border collie, it is a waste of their intelligence to give them nothing more interesting to do. I would never scold my dog for barking once to attract my attention to something, for example - and one of the unexpected pleasures of his company is that he will now call my attention to an unusual insect or bird, not just the escaped chickens or the passers-by.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
One reason I have a dog running up and down my garden is to deter others from doing so... had great reservations but pleased to say the cats are much happier.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...