FBQ: How do I stop my Pyrenean Mountain Dog from barking?
Clowie: All dogs bark and there can be lots of different reasons for barking. The most common reasons are anxiety, boredom, excitement, or a perceived threat. Everyone has their own ideas about how much barking is acceptable, but most of us have neighbours and have to control our urge to bark sometimes. As it’s such a big topic, I am going to concentrate on my main reason for barking and how I trained my bipeds to understand me, so that I need to bark less.
I came in from a lovely, long walk with my bipeds recently and Pippin, the cat, came to greet us as soon as we arrived home. He walked around the bipeds’ legs and they stroked him. Then he came to greet me and we sniffed noses. He stayed with me and walked around my legs, as I headed across the room to settle down for a nap. As soon as I was spread out on the floor, he started sniffing my paws – he likes to do that when he thinks I may have been somewhere interesting. I was soon drifting off to sleep, while my little friend continued to savour the smells on my paws. The thought struck me how different it was from our very first meeting.
Those of you who have known me for a while will remember that the Borg from Star Trek tried to assimilate my male biped and turned him into The Bionic Quadruped. I tried to make him take some exercise by moving the remote control out of reach and by licking the toes that stuck out of the cast. He didn’t really appreciate my efforts!
A few months had gone by since then and he was almost back to normal. He took me for a walk one day and he slipped in the mud. He made a horrible noise and he got up and we made our way home very slowly – he was hobbling on the bad leg again. When we got home he said that he’d felt his Achilles tendon go again and they made an appointment at the hospital with the specialist he’d seen before.
I’ve told you a few tales about puppy classes and how I tried to liven them up. Some of the things we were asked to do were very boring and, I thought, pointless!
This particular week, I was fifteen weeks old. We had been playing, having a wonderful time, and then it was the part of the evening I disliked. The trainer told our bipeds to get us to sit, or lie down, quietly and to look in our ears, look in our mouths, check our paws and then brush us. Didn’t she know that my biped had already done this at home earlier? It was such a waste of time when there were so many puppies to play with!
I encouraged my bipeds to trade from a very early age. This began as treats for sitting and for walking on the lead. Any chance to get more treats is a good thing!
As a puppy, I usually only had one or two toys available to me at a time. They would swap them most days, so that the toy was always interesting and I didn’t get bored with it. I also always had a nice chew available, so that I had no need to chew the furniture. That was their theory – I still felt that I’d like to test various items of furniture for chewing, but that’s another story.