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20 Nov 2004

Sudden Barking
My year-old Staffie *used* to be a quiet dog - he would only bark when playing with us, or at other dogs while out on walk. But things have changed and now he spends minutes on end standing in the garden, barking at his stationary ball. Is he trying to make it move? :) Is this maybe an indication that he is bored?
Any ideas? It's beginning to anger the neighbours.

Thanks.
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Expert
CyberVet
cybervet

01 Jan 0001

Hi Grace
It's quite possible that your staffie is bored and is trying to amuse himself by imagining things. This can develop into a serious problem and I suggest you do as much as you can now to stop it. Take him for daily walks outside your property on a long lead. Give him at least 3 new toys a day, taking away the old ones and recycling them a few days later: cowhooves, rawhide, ostrich sinews, Congs, ropes, but no balls for the moment, if that's his obsession. You can also enrich his environment by adding large boxes, large plastic bottles, etc. to the yard, but make sure these cannot hurt him in any way. He should have a view out of your yard onto the street and should have company (human or otherwise) most of the day. He should be allowed inside the house as much as possible. Take him to weekly training and socialising classes as this will also give him something to think about. Don't shout at him when he does this barking, but either ignore it or distract him by throwing something near him or making a noise, but not with your voice and without eye contact. He must not learn that this behaviour results in getting attention, even negative attention, or he will do it even more.
Karen Gray-Kilfoil
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