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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I have a gorgeous 15 week old cockapoo puppy. She has settled in really well so far. We've been socialising her a great deal since we got her and she is quite confident. The one big thing she is doing all the time is barking at unknown children on the street. She has met lots of children and although she is a little bit apprehensive for the first few seconds, as soon as they stroke her, she is fine. However when I take her for walkies, if she sees unknown children, 9 times out of 10 she will bark at them.

I'm not sure how to deal with it. I want to nip it in the bud now but so far, the things I've been trying (telling her no firmly, trying to distract her with a treat) haven't worked. I bumped into another dog walker today who suggested a dog anti-bark spray.

Any suggestions would be most welcome! Thanks
 

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Millie has a similar tendancy, she barks at random people, but I know she's not an aggressive dog. I'm not sure if she's unsure and making herself appear bolder than she actually is or what the reason is.

I try to stop her with No and sometimes it works and she comes back to me. Sometimes if she's barking at people while standing next to me, I'll hold her muzzle shut and say quiet. And finally, if I'm too far away and she's gone up to someone barking I'll just call her back to me.

I need to think of an explanation to give people when she's barking as sometimes they seem worried that she's a possible dangerous dog :(
 

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Bailey sometimes barks at people/children but I think it is more or less because he wants to get closer to them and have some attention( he just loves everybody) x
 

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Hi, I think poos can be barky when they are unsure of something/someone. If you ever get the chance to attend a meet you will hear what I mean :)
I would definitely not recommend using the anti behaviour spray on such a young puppy, you will be creating more negative associations with children and giving your puppy good reason to think something unpleasant will happen when children are around, you do in fact need to reinforce positive association by making sure nice things happen when kids are around. It would be good if you can ask kids to treat your pup with yummies when they meet and for those times when you are out an about really try to get in first when you spot a child ,with lots of treats, this will reward no barking, build a connection to kids and yummy treats. You will have to be quick with the treats and get in first before the barking starts so as you are not rewarding the barking and keep treating and keeping her focus on you until the child has passed.
This is the strategy I am having to use on a dog I walk that barks at EVERY dog he meets, two weeks in nd we definitely have big improvements.
Good luck!
 

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Hattie will bark at anything that suprises her or makes her jump. Young children can be excitable and prone to sudden movement particularly with their hands all good 'barking fuel' for a Cockapoo. I make a habit of walking Hattie past my local primary school at 3.30pm there are so many excited children, stressed mothers , car parking chaos that it is an education. Now she virtually ignores most of the children unless they run up to her then she barks and their mother gets a reminder from me that their children should respect a dogs space! ( I really an turning into Victoria Meldrew!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for the useful advice. I will definitely start putting it into action and will stay away from the dog spray. Sounds a bit draconian... The treat idea immediately before she comes into contact with kiddies sounds great. x
 

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Teach her to do something incompatible like the close competition style heelwork with her head tucked up looking at you. When you first teach it do it where you know there will not be kids, once she is doing it reliably you can use it when a child approaches. Use really high value treats (chicken/liver etc) at first and for the first few times go back to a lure to really keep her attention on you. If she does go for the bark then make a massive thing of throwing the treat away so she knows there is a consequence to not doing it. Try to do it building up how close the child is and always try to get her to suceed by not pushing her past where she can handle it. Eventually she should see a child as the cue to do some fantastic heelwork :)

I have also used gentle leader headcollars on dogs who persist in barking at people. If you pull the lead up it will close the dogs mouth and stop the barking. Its using negatives rather than postives but can be very sucessful used along side reinforcing an incompatible behaviour such as the close heelwork or a hide command (the dog is taught to shelter behind your leg if uncomfortable). Its the carrot and stick method.....
 

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My experience with Scarlett is similar to what Emmelg posted. She barks when she sees people but it isn't an aggressive bark, and all the while she is trying to get closer to them. She goes to my moms daycare centre a lot and plays with all of the children, so anytime she sees a child, she gets really excited and wants to go play with them. She will then proceed to bark if she doesn't get attention fast enough or can't go and see them lol So I am really no help, but just wanted to share our experience.
 
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