Archives for the day Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Why do dogs bark when you are on the phone?

 In previous entries titled “Why do dogs bark? ” and ” Look at the world through a dog’s point of view; barking,chewing,and more “, I wrote that most common dog behavior problems
you would like to stop or curb them such as barking,chewing,digging are natural canine behaviors, and as for barking, it is natural way of communication between the dogs.

 Some of the behavior problems are something you kept reinforcing them without noticing it.

 Example being, lets say you found your dog with your socks in his mouth. As natural human response, you might chase him in effort to get your socks back, but for your dog, it became fun “keep away” game. Chasing after him only teaches him that stealing your socks get your attention even if negative way, and fun “keep away” game starts.

 One of the quirks our stumpy little dog  “Palette” has, behavior wise is with phone.

 Imagine you are spending quiet time, and phone rings. What Palette would do?

 She stands up, stares at me, spins a couple of time with a couple of loud barks as if to say ” Hey, something beeping. I know where the beep is from. Follow me.”

 When she sees me standing up, she runs in front of me to the source of the noise a.k.a. “Phone”. Then, after seeing me picking up the phone, she stops barking, but instead, she goes get her favorite squeaky bunny toy and start squeaking.

*Squeak* *Squeak* *Squeak* *Squeak*..

Translation; *Pet me* *Pet me* *Pet me* *Pet me*..

 One day, after picking up the phone, I sat down and I noticed she stops squeaking her squeaky bunny toy, and she trots to me,threw her body against me and position herself placing her head on my thigh as her pillow, she pants with her tongue hanging out,narrowing her eyes as I pet her while I talk on the phone.

 So, I had to wonder if I taught her to go squeak her bunny toy to get my attention and ultimately, being pet while I talk on the phone without noticing it. I know she loves to be pet, and 45 minutes straight petting while reading books are not enough for her. Maybe I should re-phrase it to “Palette has trained me well”.

 When you are on the phone, you would probably not want your dogs barking non stop and as quick human response, you might go grab treats and give the treats to your dog to be quiet. Now your dog has trained you to give a treats every time he barks.

 Or just like Palette has trained me, you might sit on the ground and give nice long petting while you are on the phone.

 You know you have just rewarded your dogs with treats or petting. If I were a dog, why would I stop barking. Barking  brought me a big reward.I sure would keep doing  what worked for me for good tummy rubs or yummy treats.

 Dogs are smart. They do what worked for them, and keep doing it because they know it worked for them. We human must outsmart them,sometimes.

 Other than Phone rings, many dogs go crazy when they hear the house doorbell rings. I have seen a dog trainer on TV that desensitize the bell sound by asking family member to ring the bell to recreate the similar situation, and just reward the dog when they are not excited,not barking but rather calm and quiet. Often times, she made a designated space where dogs are supposed to go and stay every time when visitors come knocking doors or ringing the house doorbells.

 I thought it brilliant ideas because if dogs know to go to their place to stay every time they hear the doorbells or someone come knocking the doors, they cannot jump up on people from excitement, and learn to be quiet and calm on their designated spot at the same time. 

 On the doorbell matter particular, I also remember reading dog training book that suggest that you ask your family member to ring the doorbell outside and keep the door closed, and click the clicker before dogs start barking or wait until dogs are being quiet and give treats and you will reinforce the good behavior by pairing up doorbells with yummy treats.As they get used to the sound, you will train doorbell rings, dogs being quiet and open door a little and click and treats and gradually open doors wider when training.

 Doorbell is one of the thing I am working on with Palette. She knows that doorbells bring people she get to be pet, or UPS/FedEx guys that brings yummy smelling boxes to house so,it adds excitement level high and, it is taking time, but I am being patient and work with her baby step by baby step.

 Since I have started training Palette with clicker with later method, I have been sticking with the method but I can see myself to try out new way of training for the door bells; dog goes to place when door bell rings. I could use the same method for phone ring situation. Palette can go to crate on cue so, I need to work on teaching her to go to place when doorbell/phone rings.  

 I actually came across youtube video that teaches you step by step on this “go to your place” cue when door bell rings.

How to prevent barking at the Doorbell

 If Palette were the dog that keeps barking when I am on the phone, since she can respond to silent hand signals ( without verbal cues), I would think that I also could give her hand signals for “quiet”, “down”, “stay” etc and click and give her treats to reinforcing the good behavior, but since she goes squeaking toys, I am not sure how I go about that. I could give her “give” hand signal and “down” and “stay”,though. Maybe in her case, “go to place” when phone rings maybe better method.

 Do your dogs love to be included in the conversation when you are on the phone?


Dec 05, 2010 | Comments are off | Uncategorized