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Canine Behavior/Yorkshire crazy barking.


My mom's Yorkshire has moved to my place 6 month ago. He was not well trained. He barks every time we stand up from couch or chair and every time we enter the room. He also bark in car when the car stops. The barking is crazy and there is no way to stop it. He is 5 yrs old now. Do you please have any idea how to solve it? Thank you.

Thank you for your question.

It sounds like your mom's Yorkie is upset by environmental changes - people standing up/sitting down, entering/exiting rooms, car motion changes, etc. This is actually quite common for many dogs.

One of the very easiest ways to address this issue is by associating those environmental changes with food. Instead of feeding the dog in his bowl, keep his kibble handy with you (or your mom). When someone stands up, toss a couple kibbles to the floor for the dog to retrieve. If someone comes into the room, toss a few kibbles. If someone exits the room, toss a few kibbles.

In the car, offer a kibble (or other treat) as the car begins to accelerate (once it starts moving) and after it has stopped at lights, etc.

The timing is important. If you give the food BEFORE the person stands up or comes into the room - or if you give the food AT THE SAME TIME, then the food becomes a predictor that the environment is about to change, and that can not only upset the dog, but actually turn him off his food.

On the other hand, if the person stands up and THEN you give the food, or the car stops and THEN you give the food, then the environmental change reliably predicts the arrival of food and the dog begins to look forward to those changes because it means something good is going to happen. So, the person stands up, you toss the treats on the ground and as your dog goes to retrieve them, praise him "good boy" for choosing to stop barking and go after the food.

You can do this with the dog's regular food and use these moments throughout the day as the opportunities to feed him his daily caloric needs. Or you may need to use better treats if he's so concerned about the changes in the space that his regular food just isn't excellent enough for him. In that case, you'll need to cut back on his regular food so we don't over feed him. You don't want him to become obese. But, you may need to use cheese or bites of chicken, beef, lamb, hot dog, or something else he really likes in order to help him learn a new emotional response to those changes.

This won't have to happen forever. But for the next several weeks to several months, until you see he clearly and consistently anticipates the changes in the environment by looking to you or to the floor for the food. You'll see his body is relaxed and wiggly as he expects the happy thing. Then we know that he's made that association and is no longer afraid of those people entering or standing or the car stopping. Then, you switch from offering treats every single time that change occurs to every other time for a couple weeks, then every 3rd or 4th time, then ON AVERAGE every 5th time, but vary it, so you may give him treats 2 times in a row, but then not for 7 or 8 times, then the 3rd time, then the 5th time, then perhaps twice in a row again. It should be random. This random variation (once he has made the association that that those changes mean something good) will make a stronger, longer lasting response.

Once he clearly shows he's no longer fearful of these changes, you can begin offering other kinds of praise. Continue to praise him "good boy" for choosing to not bark, and work in some other rewards besides food such as greetings, tossing a toy, allowing the guest to give a treat or toss a toy sometimes, etc.  

Be patient. Try to not yell at him to stop barking because from his perspective, you're just barking with him and that tells him he's right to be talking about it. So try to just quietly redirect his attention with the food.

Good luck. Please feel free to followup if I can be of further assistance.

Jody, APDT
Los Angeles Behaviorist

Canine Behavior

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Jody Epstein, CPDT- KA, APDT


IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR DOG IS ILL OR INJURED, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS NOT THE FORUM TO ADDRESS URGENT MEDICAL ISSUES. I AM NOT A LICENSED VET AND HAVE NO DIAGNOSTIC SKILLS. ***I have been answering questions on All Experts for over 5 years now. I enjoy being able to offer assistance in this forum. I do need to be clear, though. If you’re looking for free advice about a specific behavior question, you MUST submit your question to me via All Experts. If you bypass All Experts and write to me directly through my website, I will ask you to submit via All Experts. On the flip side, if you’re local to Los Angeles and you wish to speak to me privately about an in person consultation, please go through my website. I appreciate your assistance in keeping my volunteer work on the volunteer site.*** I can answer questions about the following canine behavior issues: obedience, timid/fearful & fear-based aggression, nuisance behaviors, families that are expanding with either new human or new animal members. If you have potty training questions please first read my trio of blogs at If you still have questions after reading the blogs you can post your specific questions here. PLEASE be as specific as possible when asking a question. Give me a detailed example of the situation - dog's behavior, body language, circumstances surrounding the issue, what the consequences are (another dog's response, your response), etc. I can only provide insight if I can get a picture of the whole scenario. If I ask for further details, please provide them. In person I would normally observe for at least 90 minutes to assess the situation and the dynamics before offering tools and suggestions to modify it. In writing it is ever so much more difficult. Thank you for your participation in the process.


I have been professionally modifying behavior and training obedience for 7 years. I have owned dogs my entire life. I have just changed the name of my business. It is no longer Good Dog! Dog Training. The new name is Nutz About Mutz!. If you see previous questions with the Good Dog! website information, that is my response.

I am a Certified Profession Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), #2133301 ; I am a member in good standing with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), #77763 ; I am an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator (CGC), #71253

Publications ; ; Multiple articles in the local pet magazine Pet Press (found across Southern California)

I have a graduate education in animal behavior and learning. (While I completed my coursework and did the requisite research, I did not defend a dissertation. I am qualified, but not certified and so technically not a doctor. This is commonly referred to as Ph.D.-ABD which means All But Dissertation.) My educational focus was with non-human primates, but my personal interest is with domestic dogs and their relationships with humans and other animals. I continue to educate myself to canine-specific behavior through extensive reading, online interactive workshops, vidoes and attending canine behavior conferences.

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