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Hi, I have a 14 year old English springer spaniel who is deaf .MY problem is she hates being left and barks when we leave her .I have started a new job and go out early In the morning and the neighbours have complained that she barks constantly. I have tried giving her a special bone stuffed with meat when we leave her but I can hear her barking when I come in. I just don't know what to do with her is she too old to change as she is in the habit of barking now ,carnt really take her for a long walk before we go out because she struggles a bit on her back legs ,but for her age she is a good dog except for the barking.I leave her for 2 hours while I'm at work .just don't know what to do and how long the neighbours will put up with it .

Answer

Hi Sharon,

I can completely understand your problem, a dog with a habit of barking can indeed be a problem for the neighbors.

I can understand that you can't give your dog a lot of exercise, given her age and physical condition, but any amount of exercise -whatever level she tolerates would be helpful, especially if you do it before leaving her for the day. If all she can manage is a slow walk that's just a few yards, that's okay!
If she has arthritis, the more she lies around, the stiffer she'll become. Exercise helps increase flexibility and endurance and strengthens muscle around the joints. Daily short walks are best for arthritic dogs. Also, be sure to provide pain relief medication if she needs it.

In addition to the special bone stuffed with meat, you might try hiding treats around the house (or in the room where you contain your dog) for her to find. If your dog has emptied her bone that was filled with food by the time you come home, you might try giving her more than one of those toys.

Is your dog totally deaf? If she can hear a little leaving a radio or TV on when you leave the house could be helpful. Make sure you leave it on at a volume she can hear.

There are special battery operated spray-dispensing collars to help stop habitual barking. These collars give a harmless spritz of lemon or citronella spray as the unpleasant correction in response to your dog's bark. These collars are effective because your dog associates it's barking behavior with the unpleasant correction, and will stop barking in order to avoid the correction. It's great because it stops barking when you aren't around. It's supposed to be helpful with 8 out of 10 dogs. Here are examples of this kind of product:

http://www.petexpertise.com/dog-training-aids/citronella-spray-bark-collar.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiUbedwSOyI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OE4ICTBaki4

The good thing about using a spray collar is, after some time of wearing it, your dog will of course know not to bark. Eventually she won't need to wear the collar.

You didn't say how long it takes before your dog starts to bark once you've left your home. If it's typically fairly soon, you can work with your dog to help teach her to be quiet when left alone. Basically, you'll be rewarding your dog for being silent. Starting on the weekend when you have the time, go through your normal morning routine of getting ready to leave the house, but donít go far from the door once youíve left your home. Leave for a brief period of time - just a minute or two to start out with. If your dog has not barked, return and praise. If you hear her begin to bark, since she can't hear a sharp rap on the door to startle her into silence, you'll need another means to startle her. Each time your dog barks, quickly step inside your home and squirt your dog in the face with a water pistol or a spray bottle. It won't hurt your dog, it will only startle her into silence. Leave your home again, and listen to see if she barks. If you can go 5 minutes without barking, re-enter your home and praise/treat for being quiet. Leave 15-30 minutes later and repeat, eventually you'll see that you can leave for longer and longer periods of time, without her barking.
It may take a week or longer before you see success. You have to practice this training daily.

Lastly, talk to your neighbors! The simple act of you approaching them, before they approach you about the barking, will let them know you're concerned about the problem! Tell them you're taking steps to stop the barking. They'll be a lot more patient and forgiving if they know you care.

I hope I've been a help.
Best of luck,

Patti  

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Patti

Expertise

To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.

Experience

My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

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Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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