One Technique to Help Stop Barking In The Crate
Dean was relatively good at hanging out in the crate at home, but remember, dogs don’t generalize well, and distractions change the entire ballgame!
We visited my boyfriend’s family for a wedding and there were a LOT of people and, of course, everyone brought their dog! Dean didn’t want to be in the kennel, and he was letting us know it. All the ignoring him in the world wasn’t going to get him to stop barking. And simply ignoring all barking is the first thing I recommend when asked how to get a puppy to start barking in the crate. In the video you can hear the people and dogs downstairs, and you can hear the panting of two dogs on place in the bedroom connected to the bathroom Dean and I are in. There were PLENTY of distractions and reasons Dean wanted O.U.T!
I decided to try a different approach. Karen Pryor speaks about using the clicker to eliminate barking in her book, Reaching The Animal Mind. She says to wait until the dog is quiet, just for a second, and click and treat the dog. While the dog is still chewing the treat, click and give them another treat. Repeat this a few times. They can’t very well be barking if they’re chewing! I decided to try this technique with Dean in his crate. When he was quiet for just one second I marked the behavior with a “yip!” and gave him a treat, then quickly followed that with a few others. After a few minutes decided to wait and see if he would choose to be quiet to receive his reward. Once he figured out that was the game we were playing, I added duration. Instead of saying “yip” and treating him the minute he was quiet I waited for a few seconds, then marked and treated. I kept adding duration, then added the distraction of me walking in and out of the bathroom. I continued until he was consistently quiet. I then rewarded him by letting him out of his crate to play.
I used “yip” instead of a click to mark the behavior because I was getting ready for the wedding and couldn’t really handle putting rollers in my hair and clicking and treating! Anything can be a marker but you need to use it consistently and remember that timing is everything. It has to be something quick, concise, and easily executed. You do NOT want to accidentally mark the barking behavior and reward that.
I hope ya’ll enjoy this video and see how many different ways there are to solve behavioral problems in dogs. It’s all about being creative and finding what works for you and your puppy!