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Staging for Correction of Isolation Barking
Staging "setups" must coincide with the times of day or night at which troublesome barking occurs.
For instance, if the Labradoodle barks when the owners leave for work Monday through Friday, setups should be staged during weekend days at those times.
The owner should quietly leave the dog, but be prepared to monitor it for signs of restlessness or anxiety.
This may mean sneaking to a window, listening at a door, or peeking over or through a fence (downwind of the dog).
If the Labradoodle shows anxiety or starts to bark, a single, loud sound should be made to startle the Labradoodle and reorient its attention.
This can be a hand slapped on a wall, or a sharp knock on a window. Then the owner must remain silent.
If needed, this should be repeated each time anxiety behavior or barking occurs until the Labradoodle settles down.
At least 5 minutes after the dog has settled quietly, the owner should return, again with no emotional interplay, waiting at least 3 1/2 hours before repeating the procedure.
This period between setups allows the conditioned learning to "incubate" better than if the sessions were conducted over a shorter time.
The time the owner remains away can usually be doubled between sessions. That is, the owner initially stays away for 5 minutes, then 10, 20, 40, 80, etc, until the dog has quieted dependably.
If, after 4 days, all of the foregoing steps have been strictly applied with little or no progress, the setup should be repeated by leaving the dog and applying the single, sharp sound stimulus one time.
Then the owner must literally rush into the area where the Labradoodle is and pleasantly, but with urgency, apply the push-up routine of "Sparky, Sit. Good. Sit. Sparky, down. Good. Down. Sparky, Sit. Good. Sit," etc, until the Labradoodle shows signs of tiring.
At this time, and again with no emotion or eye contact, quietly leave the Labradoodle, again to monitor and repeat the routine until the dog is quiet for the required minimum of 5 minutes.
The time the owner spends away can be increased by doubling, as previously described.
Many Labradoodles bark in anticipation of the owner's homecoming. This usually can be resolved using the steps outlined above.
When barking persists, the owner must arrive home early, applying the setups at the first signs of anxiety or barking.
Some vocal Labradoodles bark in response to stimuli that can be removed. These dogs may bark at neighborhood cats or other Labradoodles.
If the neighbor's cat or other Labradoodles can be kept away, the barking may stop. Some Labradoodles gazing out their favorite window may bark at people or other animals.
Keeping the drapes drawn often resolves these problems. Many Labradoodles that bark in the backyard for entry to the house benefit from a pet door.
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