This last weekend we spent a great deal of time telling Brover to “be quiet”.  he has a tendency to bark a lot when he is frustrated, a relatively common behavior in dogs that have a low with frustration threshold paired with a high desire to be successful - alternatively a low desire may turn around, walk away, and sniff. 

Some of this is genetics, he’s a working dog and was bred to be high competition material. Some of this is conditioning, he’s been taught his bark has power, don’t give up, you’ll get your way with enough pushing in frustration. I have been able to use this to my advantage a time or two but it has also become a hindrance in other ways - largely in explaining exercises in a high drive environment, such as transferring his defense of handler behavior from a toy on the ground to a toy in a decoys hand. 

So, in my best effort to add clarity to my dogs experience today we started working on what “quiet” actually means. First, it means, close your mouth. Second it means, wait. Third, it will mean focus your eyes on the reward (not my face, we have other cues for that). 

This is session 1, I start with simple behaviors which will likely result in a quiet dog and build on to behaviors with a history of vocalizing. Frisbees allow for a fast and satisfying reward, we’ll vary our objects and environments with each session and see if this helps clear his head when he’s overstimulated in the presence of a decoy as we move forward.