Yelping - uncontrollable

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Yelping - uncontrollable

Postby DonnaW » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:25 pm

Happily welcomed approx 1 yr old Murphy into our home in January - our 5th rescue, but first Britt. He came to us via a local SPCA org, and had been rescued a few weeks earlier from a very serious hoarding situation with other Britts as well as other breeds. We were advised these dogs had never lived inside prior to being rescued. He was completely vet checked and neutered, and his warm personality and green eyes made us melt when we met him. Has a Golden mix for a sister (also a rescue) who's been with us about 3 yrs, and they've adjusted fine together. He seems to have adapted pretty well to being with a two legged family (just my husband and I). We've conquered most of the food stealing and housetraining, the dogs have a very large fenced yard to run around in (and Murphy takes off like an Olympic athlete when the door opens!, and we're still working on a walking routine since I can't walk the two dogs together at this time - he's still going thru some standard leash adjustments. Our biggest problem is his squealing and yelping when he gets agitated/overexcited - when another dog goes by our house, when we pass another dog on the street, when someone comes to the house, or when my husband gets home from work, when I come back in after doing some errands (he's crated when no one is home). It's not a bark - more like a very loud and piercing whine/yelp, accompanied by overexcited jumping and spinning. He's not in any pain, he doesn't always need to go out, but his yelping is relentless, and even with high value treats, I can't get his attention - my best bet is letting him outside and having him "run it off". I know Britts can be anxious, but is this typical young dog stuff - will he outgrow it? How should we be responding when this starts? I'm reticent to take him to obedience class just yet, since I think he'd be overstimulated there too. Any help welcomed!
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Re: Yelping - uncontrollable

Postby Barb Wright » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:01 pm

Hmmm....interesting. I've seen this in one foster Britt I had for about 6 weeks, and I have had two friends with GSD's (German Shepherds) that did this. I'm going out on a limb here, but I think it is "talking" and usually occurs when dogs are excited, confused, happy or stressed. I also think it is a characteristic of the individual dog and may not be something that you can absolutely train out. Perhaps in the case of your dog a bit more time where he has a chance to really settle into his new life might see a decline in this presentment. I also think that being ultra, REALLY ULTRA CALM during the situations where he yaks it up is probably all you can do for the time being. Some dogs coming from an upheaval in their lives settle in really good and in a timely fashion....others take a lot more time to finally accept that they are safe, secure, and can really relax into their new life. I also think that in your situation, from what you have described you should consider his hyper vocalization as a sign of happiness...it may actually be a compliment :-)

Give the obedience class a chance...it will certainly be a good outing for him and just keep your calming hat on for the first few visits. The Instructor may also have some ideas for you....as may some of our other board members that have had this personality trait show up during assimilation of an orphan into a new family.
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Re: Yelping - uncontrollable

Postby DonnaW » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:37 pm

Barb, thanks for your thoughts - agree its likely his "welcome" or "talk to me" vocalization, and may take more time to settle. I've just never heard anything so shrill from a dog!?! Wish I could post a video here. This behavior may have come from the hoarding situation where he was competing on many levels with other Brits and a couple of dozen beagles (also big talkers!), and no training. Will continue to do the calm approach, but have also tried turned my back and ignoring for a few moments to see if that helps. Not sure what will work long term, but gotta keep trying - you can even hear him outside the house if he hears us coming in. I have to keep ear out when he's in the yard - if he starts the behavior outside, I'm afraid someone's going to think he's being mistreated. May wait a few more weeks for a group obedience class - I wouldn't want him to disrupt the others. Meanwhile, we'll be walking more to wear him out a little more!
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Re: Yelping - uncontrollable

Postby Cindy » Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:51 am

Our friend's rescued Britt really lets you have it when you leave for a few minutes OR if she hasn't seen you in a while. Tessa (age 4) is the biggest talker ever! The woo woo waa waa whining vocalizing goes on for about 2-3 minutes and is generally accompanied but a hearty butt slam and then she rolls onto her back for a belly rub. This dog came from a family and seems to have been well treated and is otherwise very easy going. Tessa just has a lot to say and she's going to tell you all about it! Personally I find the routine pretty funny but maybe not if it happens alot. I guess we'll find out because we're taking care of her for 3 weeks in May.

The one thing I thought about was giving Murphy something to hold in his mouth like a stuffed toy or a ball. I don't know if that would work but might be worth a try.
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Re: Yelping - uncontrollable

Postby gagesbarb » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:42 am

Agree 100% with Barb and Cindy...our JJ does similar things...my husband explains to people that we haven't yet found a "volume switch." :roll: I also agree that in a way, it is a compliment; Murphy probably hasn't had much opportunity for interaction with people and he is still getting used to it. He is also a pretty young dog and in the grand scheme of things, you haven't really had him that long; from his point of view, he is still getting used to so much! Our JJ loves people and gets soooo excited when he sees someone that he "overflows." It has gotten better with time and training. When I can, I try to "pre-empt" the barking by saying "quiet" and reinforcing with a click/treat before he starts to bark (in situations I can anticipate.) But you are right, when JJ gets excited, he may not even register there's a treat. Then, we just wait it out, as Barb says, being as calm as possible. However, I will say, the more we work, the better he gets...also, exposing him to situations and people has helped him become more familiar with situations and he is calmer. Set up situations (go to the park, walk in the neighborhood, practice coming in the house) and try to start at a big enough distance that you can "catch" Murphy when he is beginning to get excited, before he goes over the edge, and reinforce quieter behavior...slowly decrease distance as he learns to calm...if you use a clicker, you can catch that calmer behavior quicker and once they have learned about the clicker, the "click" seems to get through his excitement better... I would also encourage you to go to a training class...I teach classes and I know that Murphy would certainly not be the only dog who barks, even though I understand from experience, the volume is an issue...However, the trainers can help you practice...also, as you and he learn to communicate with each other, the world becomes more predictable for him, trust develops and he can calm...just make sure that only positive methods are used and remember it will take time...and, I also agree that some of this is just who he is...JJ is an exuberant dog and loves life...part of what is so endearing about him :lol:
I don't think that this behavior (or variations of over-excitement and struggles with self calming) is unusual...in our group, we are starting an "Excitable Dog" class because this is such a common challenge for people. Please let us know how it goes with Murphy...you are certainly not alone...
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Re: Yelping - uncontrollable

Postby dfwskier » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:38 pm

"JJ is an exuberant dog and loves life."

Hi Donna. I agree with Barb. I have one too - Feller. He's a nonstop barker/howler/shrieker. He barks more in one hour than all of my other Brits have barked in 44 years. My other brit (Alex) has barked twice in 9 years.

I have used an ultrasonic anti bark thing. Not one that's collar mounted, but one that is hand held so I can decide when/whether to use it. He really doesn't like it, and stops barking immediately when it's used. We got to a point where as soon as I would just pick it up he would stop barking.
Now he pretty well controls his barking on his own (after almost 4 years) and I almost never have to use the device.

During walks, Feller initially barked at every passing dog and some people, too. Without any assistance from me, he basically stopped doing that on his own within a month or two of my getting him. I hope yours will do the same.

Good luck.
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Re: Yelping - uncontrollable

Postby DonnaW » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:11 am

Thank you all for your support and guidance! My concerns may be premature, but it started to seem like bringing the colicky baby home! Will continue to work with him and use your suggestions. The good news is that he's very food motivated, and could stand to gain a little weight, so he's a good candidate for treats!
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