Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Barking At Animals On TV

Hello. Hope everyone is stayng warm! My 4 year old female is a sweetheart, and it is obvious the breeder from whom I purchased her knew what she was doing. My dog's temperament is lovely. She is great around children and other dogs.

Here is the problem: She sees and hears other dogs on TV and goes nuts. Our late great border collie did this as well, but he would respond to the quiet command and seemed to know the difference between television and reality.

The Aussie actually barks at all animals, but most dogs, cats, and horses. She knows the first to notes of any ad featuring a dog. She will come running from another room to bark at the animals when she hears the start of the ad. As you know, ads feature dogs a lot, but she will hear an ad for a drug featuring an elephant and bark at it. The horse thing is weird because a very close friend owns a horse farm, and my dog has been around real horses... pays no attention. Yet try watching the Kentucky Derby and there is no peace. Even worse, she barks at Brian, the dog on Family Guy, who walks on two legs!

People find this to be funny, but it gets annoying when you are trying to hold a conversation and the dog comes running from a room upstairs because she heard the first five notes of a car ad she knows a dog is on.

I think she believes it is a window, because she always goes to the door leading to the back yard after barking. She runs around to the corner of the house where there would be animals if the television was a window.

I hope I am making myself clear; especially to the extent that this is a problem, although many people find it humorous.

I have tried clicker training by clicking and saying "quiet" when she is quiet, and giving a carob chip.

Please--anyone out there who had this me!!!

Comments for Barking At Animals On TV

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by: Anonymous

I'm sorry, but it really is funny. I must admit that my first thought was Why is the TV on if you are trying to have a conversation with someone? My Aussie used to respond to animals on TV and to dog sounds and videos when I'm looking at a post from rescue fosters' Facebook pages, but now she just casually looks or just ignores. I don't have the TV on very often, so she actually is exposed more to the dog sounds and videos on my laptop. Maybe you could try letting your dog see and hear dogs on your computer where he/she can actually see that there is no dog behind it.

Dog barking at TV
by: Nancy

Our Aussie does this too. I know what you mean about it being annoying. We take a squirt bottle of plain water and squirt him with it when he barks at the TV and doesn't stop when we tell him to. Actually he barks and looks for the spray bottle. It's funny but it works for us. Good Luck

Ours barks at other dogs too..
by: Dave

Whether it is out on the trail, in the car or on TV. One thing I have done that seems to help is that when he barks too loud I talk to him in a soothing voice, say pretty much the same thing, either shhh or "that's too loud". Sometimes when he is in the back of the car and sees a dog he responds rather explosively with loud barks and seems to literally try to knock out a window! This I felt was dangerous, not only to him but very distracting to me and could cause an accident. I have used a training collar for this successfully, and I don't need to shock him (I never really do) but it has a vibrator function as well that I think reminds him of the shock feature and he really responds well to that. Now when he sees a dog in the car, most of the time he just lets out this long moan, almost a howl but not quite. It is pretty funny really and not nearly as distracting when I'm driving.

As for him barking at the TV, I have almost got him trained. He will perk up when he hears a dog and I always tell him the same thing before he starts barking. I say "its just the TV dogs" and then he seems to realize that they are not real. He may let out little woof's for a bit and then he lies back down (he's a morning dog so really just wants to sleep past 7PM anyway which really helps!)

I'd say use the same commands in a soothing way when she barks inappropriately but also be mindful she is just doing her job too. If she is barking at something outside, go have a look first, there may be something going on that needs your attention and she will likely be made to feel important as well as reassured. If it is just the TV, tell her in a calm voice that they are just TV dogs, or "dog actors". These dogs are incredibly intelligent and keen observers as well as pleasers. All that they want to do is their job! With patience you will be able to sit through old reruns of Lassie and not get interrupted!

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