Friday, July 22, 2011

That will learn you!

It has been crazy hot, so I admit the dogs have not been getting the exercise they need. However, I do realize that this has been a better choice (there have been times the dogs could hardly spend 5 minutes in the backyard without coming in hot, panting and basically collapsing on the floor).

But this means someone is getting a little restless. In general with our little window a/c units we have kept the house fairly cool. so after they rest from being outside, someone gets in a play mood.

I have no problems with the dogs wanting to play in the house. The problem I had with it is the obsessive barking that came with it. It started Wednesday night, Lee would not stop barking. Gemi was not in the mood to play, so Lee barked and barked and barked. Thursday morning, she started it again. We live in a semi so I don't want this barking to become a habit. I was also trying to work at home and it was annoying. So I decided I needed to get her to stop. As a behaviour analyst, I weighted my options. I didn't think using a reinforcement strategy was going to end it. (How as I going to catch her being good if all she was doing was barking). This left punishment procedure (which I don't like to use, but felt I needed to in this situation). I know my parents used a water bottle to spray their dog when she was obsessively barking. This seemed like an easy and not too punishing thing to do. I don't have a water bottle, but I could flick a little water at her face.

The scene went like this.
Lee is obsessive barking.
Gemi is growling.
The lady flicks the water in Lee's face.
Lee immediately stops barking. She looks at the lady. She shakes her head. She walks toward the patio door and wipes her face on the white curtain.
The Lady pauses and can't decide what to do and then just starts laughing!
She taught me!

However, shortly after, she started to bark again and I reached for the water and she stopped. She has not  barked since. So maybe I taught her something too!

1 comment:

  1. Holy crap I have to try the water trick. Ella is a bark monster when one of the dogs has a toy she wants. Heck, even when the dogs DO give her the toy and search for a different toy, she wants whatever they're playing with. No amount of "quiet!", "no!", or any other combination of words will work.


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