Barking Dog

What well trained dogs!

dog-training-lookOn my morning walk today I had 3 dogs with me; 2 of mine (I have 4) and my daughter’s Terrier we and had had a very pleasurable, uneventful time. There were challenges along the way, a dead pigeon always makes for an exciting distraction, a lady who was clearly frightened of dogs who walked right towards us with a fixed gaze only at the last second to make a very sudden move as she reached my Irish Setter, who took it all in his stride and carried on with a slightly confused look on his face.

The high point was a cyclist that rode past my dogs who I had called towards me and got them sitting looking at me when I spotted her coming; who commented “What well trained dogs”.  It still gives me a such a buzz when this happens.

One of the boundaries that I teach my dogs as soon as I walk them is when we see a horse, cyclist or small children running around they are called to me and sit and wait until they are released with a reward and a “Go play”. People think I am doing it for their benefit when actually I am doing it for the benefit of my dogs.  I don’t want them being hit by a bike, putting a horse into a situation where it feels it needs to kick them or going to play with children whose parents will automatically see a potential threat of a dog that they don’t know and can’t vouch for their character.

Barking let’s all join in!

As the walk was drawing to a close and dogs were back on leads we walked past a driveway where some builders were working with 3 dogs helping them.  One of the dogs, a Labrador x Border Collie, spotted us and began barking.  We were not particularly bothered by this as we could tell that it was the kind of bark that was designed to alert the rest of the group that we were there.  The dog’s two canine companions flicked their eyes towards their friend and then continued sunbathing (yes really, sunbathing in the South of England on 2nd November!), however one of the builders, obviously out of embarrassment, attempted to stop the barking by firstly grabbing at the dog’s collar in a heavy handed way and then shouting at the dog in the most impressive mimicking of a canine vocalization!  There were growls, barks and a few words like “shut up” thrown in.  This did not stop the dog barking, in fact quite the opposite, the behaviour escalated.  The man thought he had done a good job as once we had passed by and were a safe distance away the dog stopped it’s noise:

  • Man thinks: that worked it just took a while.
  • Dog thinks: it’s great how dad always joins in, those guys must have been scarier than I thought.

The man could have saved himself a lot of trouble and embarrassment if he had taught his dog to come to him and sit or even better lay quietly in front of him until we had walked past.

My trio were duly praised for not responding to the barking, particularly the Terrier who is very fond of the sound of his own voice in true Terrier style!