Category Archives: Pets

My Dog Won’t Shut Up

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This post was first published on January 11, 2011.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my dog. He’s a beauty, a tri-color-headed-white Sheltie. Much to tall and barrel-chested to be a purebred, but we were told by the shelter he is a purebred nonetheless.

He’s very affectionate, curling up with us on the couch, giving kisses, and jumping up to be petted. He does tend to do these things to excess, but considering Shelties are supposedly not very affectionate it’s a blessing that we were very enthusiastic about when we got him.

Over time, he’s learned the commands heel, down, come, and sit. Then there is the one command he has learned only selectively: “Quiet.” Specifically, he barks continually whenever I walk him. He barks on his way down the stairs. He barks as soon as he gets outside, perhaps to announce his presence to the world.

If the world doesn’t detect his presence on the first bark, there is a loooong 20-minute interval in which the world will find it out. Put simply, he barks and barks and barks. After ten months as his owner, there is a certain amount of shame in not being able to control his barking. True, he was an adult when we got him and it is harder to change the behaviors of an adult dog.

But he’s changed some of his barking behavior when he’s with Brendan. He will walk calmly down the stairs and remain calm if they don’t run into anybody.

Nobody can stop him if he sees another person, dog, cat, car, or butterfly. There’s some solace for me in the fact that barking is very much part of his nature.

Still . . . my dog won’t shut up.

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