We are trying to discourage our dog Charlie from barking so much. When he’s at home, he barks whenever anyone knocks at the door. I understand that. And maybe that’s a good one. But he also barks when the fellow next door locks his car door and the car honks at him. That’s annoying.
Charlie and his doggy daycare buddy, Tucker, are accustomed to barking at anything that moves at Grandma’s house. They sit at the deck door, waiting and watching. Tucker can also look out the front picture window, when he jumps up on her couch. Then he gets a clearer view of what’s moving, because there isn’t any deck shelter blocking the way.
Tucker has gotten better. He’s clearly settling down in that regard. He still greets me enthusiastically because he knows I’m a soft-touch for throwing the ball for him. He likes to nuzzle my face, and I think he knows I love that. There’s no such thing as too much enthusiasm when a dog gives you attention.
Or is there?
I’ve been lax over the past few weeks about daily walks with Charlie. I don’t want to go out when it’s icy. I don’t want to fall. Now that we’ve had a little snow again, I’m extra careful, because that snow hides the ice on the sidewalks. I think it was last winter when Charlie and I opted to walk in the streets because the sidewalks were too dangerous. But I digress.
Now when I get dressed in the morning, donning long underwear and sweatpants, Charlie knows what’s coming. When I step into my boots, he’s really figured it out, and he knows we’re going for a walk. And that’s when he starts barking. He’s excited about going out for a walk — I get that. But he barks from the moment my toes disappear into my boots to the moment we get to the front door.
That means he’s barking when I’m putting on my hoodie, stocking cap, scarf and overcoat. He’s barking when I go to the kitchen to fetch another roll of doggie bags. He’s barking while I’m trying to fasten his halter and get his collar over his head. Charlie’s bark is loud, especially when it’s right in my ear as I’m bent over him, attaching the leash.
At first, I thought it was charming — Charlie barking with delight, trying to speed me up in getting ready. Now it’s getting old. And I don’t want Charlie waking the neighbors with his yapping. (My upstairs neighbor has assured me that she doesn’t hear a thing, because she wears earplugs at night. No snoring or traffic noise is going to disturb her!)
No sign language or verbal command from me has done any good. I finally grabbed my slipper and swatted him on the butt. He got the message. Now I just have to make sure I have my slipper close by whenever Charlie starts barking.