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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question

Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18817
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Hi there, I have a sprocker spaniel, she will be 8 this year,

Customer Question

Hi there,
I have a sprocker spaniel, she will be 8 this year, she is a lovely dog in the house, but come walk time she is an absolute nightmare and it is now getting to the stage where I dread walk times everyday now, the problem is as soon as I start getting ready to take her out she starts barking incessantly, nothing i do will make her stop, she barks all the way to the park and will only stop when I unleash her, off the lead on the field she is fine, the only other problem I have is that if I stop to talk to anyone, she starts the barking again, she hates it when I stand still, I cannot walk her without a ball either, she is obsessed, if I do try and sit down to enjoy some sunshine, then she will drop the ball and bark non stop for me to throw it, another thing she does is that whilst on the lead walking to the part, she chews the lead and it is getting costly replacing them every few weeks ... I have had her from a pup and she is very much adored but i would love to be able to walk her without the barking, at this moment she asleep at my feet!!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

So she has a problem with barking excessively?
Do you always have the ball when you go for a walk?
Does she know you have the ball when you go for a walk?
What obedience training has she had?
How does she do in the car?
Have you tried anything else?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi yes she barks excessively when we are out, yes I always take a ball with me, if I don't she tends to bark at other dogs and will chase them off, if we have a ball she doesn't bat an eyelid at other dogs, yes she knows I have the ball, she can smell it in my pocket, she barks non stop on car journeys, so taking her anywhere is a headache, literally, she's not had any formal obedience training, she obeys basic commands at home, she responds to recall on the field, basically once running off the lead she's ok, apart from the fact she won't let me stop to chat to other dog walkers, then the barking starts again, until I start walking again, I've tried just road walking her but the constant pulling hurts, eventually after 15 mins she tends to stop barking when road walking her, but 15 mins is a long time. I also have another dog a cavalier who walks with us, she's no problem, but it's a handful walking 2 dogs when one is constantly barking and pulling, I'm only 4ft 11 and not that physically strong and unfortunately my sprocker is wearing me out!
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi Celia,

Sorry for the delay in replying. I was called away for a little while. I see that you have a couple of issues. One is of course the barking and one is the ball obsession. Ball obsession is very difficult to correct but instead of correcting it, most use it as a reward. So that may be the key to correcting the barking. We will want to use the ball throwing or just the ball as a reward for the desired behavior.

So what you will want to do is teach her the bark and quiet command. And I am positive that you may feel you are going craxy during this training as well. As crazy as this sounds you may wish to teach the pup the speak command and then the quiet command. It seems easier to teach the quiet command after the dog has learned the speak command. The following site explains teaching speak and quiet commands.

Remember to give high value treats for obeying the command like vienna sausage slivers or liver slivers. Once she is obeying the quiet command for a treat reward, you can start also giving her her ball or throwing it for a reward for being quiet. Right now she barks and you throw the ball. She gets positive (ball throwing) reinforcement for barking. You need to reverse that. So now when she barks, you can not throw the ball. You have to wait for her to be quiet before throwing the ball. When she barkes, you can give a short tug on a lead attached and a firm "NO" until she finally stops. When she stops barking or obeys the quiet command, give a treat and throw the ball. It will take a lot of training and hard work on your part to reverse this, but it can be done.

You also have the option of getting a bark collar such as citronella spray collar, shock bark collars or ultrasonic collar to help stop barking as well. If you go for a shock collar, please let it shock you first so you feel what the intesity is before using it on your dog. It is my experince that the intesity is not much and the unexpectedness of the shock is what stops the barking. It also provides an immediate reprimand for the unwanted behavior. Most collars also precede the shock or spray with a tone first and dogs learn that if they hear the tone, they should stop barking and stop barking under those circumstances. Bark collars are quite effective and if you use them along with the positive reinforcement and training, you shouldn't have to use one for too long.

I would also do formal obedience training with her. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab.

For the pulling, there are a few devices available. One is a front leash clip harness. When a dog pulls, it turns them back around toward you. This tends to stop them pulling. You can also put those special treats in your hand and give them to her if she is by your side and not pulling. It is a lot of work, but I think you will find these suggestions helpful in correcting the situation.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .

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