Lot’s of you probably have had problems with your dog barking and the neighbors not being very generous about tolerating it. My daughter has just moved and her dog has decided, now in his second week there, he doesn’t like the situation very well. She, of course, has to work and so leaves him inside in his crate. She rents and has a fairly intolerant ‘pet agreement.’ So the situation is worrisome. Your situation will be different so different parts of this will be more important for you. Things that she is already using: Treat and Train remote reward and DAP collar. This is the email I sent to her.
Thinking about you and Obie…
For him to be quiet and content; he needs to be comfortable, he needs to accept confinement and not expect that any vocalizations or actions will get him attention and there needs to be a cost of behavior penalty.
1. Food, Water, bathroom and exercise (timing of main food so that potty breaks are needed at right times)
2. Value for being in crate (crate games). Rewards for quiet. No excited greetings or prolonged leaving.
3. Avoid back-chaining = “I bark complain, then be quiet, then get attention” — you know when this is happening as this would grow problem rather than decrease it — it’s a timing and a level of reward/attention issue
4. Multiple strategies to inform him of the cost of his behavior – penalties = no eye contact, freezing or turning away, not entering building if he’s barking, covering crate partially/completely, uncovering when he’s settled (note you don’t have to be stuck outside if you enter – don’t look, don’t talk and immediately cover crate and wait for a good settle) just like at the cottage.
5. Change exit strategy to avoid triggers or/and desensitize triggers (put on shoes, pick up stuff, run out to car at times random)
From what I saw when you were here and Obie did something you didn’t actually want repeated … your preferred response is early and somewhat excessive reward for initial small increment of desired behavior repeated multiple times (so the reward back chained to all the pieces). The first cycle of this is fine (mostly I would expect more and reward with lower key approval), the second cycle and subsequent cycles should wait for more and better and if you aren’t getting that add space but don’t lower the criteria and don’t over reward. He can/should improve at a much faster rate.
What we practiced was calmness, greater expectations and low-key reward (no or low verbals) when changing from undesired behavior to desired – because we don’t want excitement attached to the undesired actions.
My thoughts are that the problems you’re encountering now are mostly: #1 food/potty #3 back chaining