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Wondered how you all might address this issue: Sy my 4 month old doberman has become quite the barker. He isn't left in the yard alone, but we do go out with him several times a day for play and bathroom breaks. Sometimes we will open the door and let him out for a quick potty break while we stand at the door to watch him, let him right back in. So for about the past 2 weeks he has taken to barking a lot outside. We have a fence that is 6 feet in some places, 4 feet in others and has wide slats so he can see through it.

He barks like crazy at every door slam, or distant human voice from our neighbors, but now he has also started charging out the door and issuing several barks in advance of any stimulus - as if to say "hey mfers! I am out here in the yard! Just be aware that I am a doberman and will bark at you if you make any noises!" I have been trying to say "enough" or "it's ok" to get him to quiet down, but he doesn't usually hear me or respond to that very quickly. I want him to bark and be a good guard dog, but at this time he has no judgment as to what merits him going ape **** and what is normal daily neighbor activity. Any thoughts on how to mold his barking tendencies?
 

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My five month old is doing the same thing. I think she found her voice. I believe she barks to make herself appear more in control and more aggressive than she is; to warn me of an imaginary disaster; to frighten off her perceived monsters and over all just to cover up her insecurities. At first I would try to get her to stop but now I've found if I tell her good girl after her first bark, she's ok. I figure that will let her know it's ok to bark at strange events but not to keep it up.

I'm interested to see what others have to say on this as well.
 

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My dog also tried this nonsense and here is what I did.

First off always have high reward treats with you and start working on your recall. Every time he comes he gets a treat. Interact with him the entire time that you are outside. Throw his favorite toy, play tug or work on obedience. When you see him even think about running to the fence then do a recall and use lots of reward to reinforce the recall. If he does not come then I would calmly walk to my boy and take him inside to his crate for a time out. After about 10 min. I would take him out again and try over. After repeating this a few dozen times over a few weeks he has definitely figured out that when he charges my fence like a mad man then the fun is over. He also thought that he could outsmart me by not letting me catch him so I just started letting him drag around a long line.

I also have a solid fence that is different heights and as my boy got older it became very clear to me that a 5 ft fence will not keep him contained. Especially with 2 feet of snow on the ground so now I have an electric fence as a back up. Now he stays back 5 feet from my fence and it makes me feel much more comfortable.
 

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For the first 5 months chase would bark at every little noise in the back yard. We live in Toronto so at every second something is going on. Honestly, I didn't do any thing, all I did was spend more time out in the back yard, and eventually he figured out these noises are not threatening. This method worked for chase because he is a lot older, and a bit more laid back than most dobes I know, so he really didn't keep up with the frantic 'omg I heard a scuffle! Must be a secret service trying to get into my yard!'

I think the above suggestions would benefit your pup the most. You can also increase his exercise a tad (not physical exercise) and expose him more to strange sounds, hopefully he will figure out no one is out to get him, or you :p
 

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If he's charging out the door barking, I would stop allowing him out the door on his own. On the leash into the yard. That's my only real immediate thought; I (luckily) haven't had to deal with barking, though if left alone in the backyard, say in the hopes that Elka will eliminate in the cold and come back and I can stay warm inside, she will go to the middle of the yard, face the house, and bark. If I'm out there with her, she does not.
 

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joie de vivre
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I've never, ever, walked out my door without having my puppy sit down and wait for me to tell her she can come out. I do the same for entering doors.
This is a good practice for 2 reasons I immediately see:

1. Your pup is calm and focused before going to the backyard. It sounds like the barking is just adolescent excitement right now.

2. It prevents your pup from making a nasty habit of racing out any door that opens. This can be a life saver at times.
 

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Holier Than Now
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Wondered how you all might address this issue: Sy my 4 month old doberman has become quite the barker. He isn't left in the yard alone, but we do go out with him several times a day for play and bathroom breaks. Sometimes we will open the door and let him out for a quick potty break while we stand at the door to watch him, let him right back in. So for about the past 2 weeks he has taken to barking a lot outside. We have a fence that is 6 feet in some places, 4 feet in others and has wide slats so he can see through it.

He barks like crazy at every door slam, or distant human voice from our neighbors, but now he has also started charging out the door and issuing several barks in advance of any stimulus - as if to say "hey mfers! I am out here in the yard! Just be aware that I am a doberman and will bark at you if you make any noises!" I have been trying to say "enough" or "it's ok" to get him to quiet down, but he doesn't usually hear me or respond to that very quickly. I want him to bark and be a good guard dog, but at this time he has no judgment as to what merits him going ape **** and what is normal daily neighbor activity. Any thoughts on how to mold his barking tendencies?

Bold is mine--you have good instincts.

I truly believe this is a lot of what is behind this behavior. Whisper (sooo misnamed) went thru a sass-the-world phase, too, and it WAS born of her insecurities, plus just some adolescent piss-n-vinegar.

Good suggestions here on your thread.

I kind of combined a lot of the ideas--on leash, butt-on-the-floor opens the door exercise (<--good practice anyway, teaches impulse control, and can be a lifesaver, as Brigette said), and then I also praised and encouraged ONE bark.

Barking, like most behaviors, if you "put it on cue," tends not to pop out on its own so often, then.

I also upped the training schedule, and used a lot of confidence builders, had already taught her "Check it Out" but really went back and reinforced it.

A good "Leave It" will come in handy, too. You extrapolate what you've taught on the Leave It to leaving the focus on the object/distraction/trigger.

Once they leave that, the instant they do, big party/praise for returning attention to you and to productive things, like...going potty without waking the entire neighborhood :)
 
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