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Q: Play ideas for keeping a backyard dog entertained ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: Play ideas for keeping a backyard dog entertained
Category: Family and Home > Pets
Asked by: markh_co-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 11 Oct 2005 13:47 PDT
Expires: 10 Nov 2005 12:47 PST
Question ID: 579003
My dog has developed a habit of barking at neighbors when in our back
yard (which is fenced, and moderately sized - 50x100ft).  Part of the
solution is surely in familiarization - helping her understand that neighbors
aren't threatening, etc. - but part of the problem, I suspect, is just
boredom.  This dog gets lots of attention, daily walks/runs, playtime
with other dogs, etc.  1 year old, we've had her since she was a
puppy.  Other than the territorial barking, she is a very
well-behaved, well-adjusted dog, and so I don't believe this is acting
out in response to neglect.  It's gotten bad enough that I've closed
of the dogdoor and only let her outside when I know I can run out in
case of barking.

We've tried some standard remedies (feeding her kibble from a
buster-cube, bungee-cording a tennis ball to a tree branch, leaving
kongs around for her to find and empty), but they aren't enough.  I'm looking
for suggestions on ways for a dog to keep herself entertained.

I'm not interested in any of the remote-shock training collar techniques.

I work from home, so I can monitor (and, to some extent, manage) her
behaviour throughout the day.  I need 3-4 good ideas - i.e.,
reasonable, practical, and interesting to a standard poodle.  I'll pay
the reward for fewer if the ideas(s) are, subjectively, good enough.

I'll also pay the reward for valuable guidance on how to train her not
to bark at the neighbors (provided it's actionable and, subjectively,

Request for Question Clarification by pinkfreud-ga on 11 Oct 2005 14:00 PDT
Have you tried the K9 Kalmer? This is NOT one of those devices that
shocks the dog for barking. In fact, it isn't attached to the dog at
all. An acquaintance of mine had excellent results with this gizmo:

Request for Question Clarification by pinkfreud-ga on 11 Oct 2005 14:03 PDT
If my suggestion of the K9 Kalmer would be satisfactory as an answer,
please let me know. I can tell you where you can get it at about half
the regular retail price.
Subject: Re: Play ideas for keeping a backyard dog entertained
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 11 Oct 2005 15:55 PDT
Hi markh_co,

Thank you for your question.

You asked for "3-4 good ideas - i.e., reasonable, practical, and
interesting to a standard poodle.  I'll pay the reward for fewer if
the ideas(s) are, subjectively, good enough.

I'll also pay the reward for valuable guidance on how to train her not
to bark at the neighbors (provided it's actionable and, subjectively,

The first 2 sites I've listed give you ideas for reasonable, practical
and interesting activities for your dog.  This is posted as
"Entertaining Activities".

Further down the page I've listed 3 sites for "Training Your Dog Not to Bark".

Entertaining Activities

Bored Dog, What Now? has a ton of suggestions to keep your dog entertained.

Slightly down from the top of the page you'll see the following: 

"Even dogs that do not develop boredom-related behaviour problems need
a variety of activities to keep them happy and healthy. You can
entertain, educate and enrich the life of your canine with some simple
activities. A busy dog is a happy dog

The first and most common activity is exersise! This fits in first
thing in the morning, right after work or right before bed. This
exersise can be a walk down the street and back, a jaunt in the dog
park, a game of fetch. Just don't do the same thing every day, mix it
up so it does not become boring.

it is important to add new activities to your dog's life. These are
some quick and easy activities to play with your dog, while enhancing
your time together.

(continue on down the page for activies)


Petalia A World of Petcare Solving Boredom In Dogs Disclaimer  Dr Cam Day

Ice magic    
How can a lump of melting ice help to solve boredom? Try the following:
-  The Stuffed Kong: A Kong Toy is a three level, rubber pyramid that
bounces unpredictably, however, it also has a hole through the centre.
This makes it like a bone with intelligence. Kongs can have a delayed
action. Fill it with a good brand of canned dog food or with fresh
mince. Then freeze it! Give this to your dog as you leave for work.
While it will be boring initially, as it defrosts some time later it
will become an island of joy for your pooch in the middle of the day.

-  Milk and Soup Ice Blocks: Get some tetra packs of lactose free pet
milk from your supermarket. Put them all in the freezer. Each day open
a pack and put the frozen milk in a bowl for your dog (or cat). The
milk will defrost gradually giving your pet a slow-release reward. Do
the same with soup by making up a nutritious broth for your dog, or
simply dissolve some vegemite or a stock cube in warm water. Freeze it
in a plastic cup or the bottom of a milk carton and place it in a bowl
for your dog as you leave.
-  Frozen Clangers: This is a neat trick. Get two lengths of bacon
rind, a raw bone and a plastic cup -place the ends of the rinds into
the cup and fill it with water, then freeze it. The rinds will now be
joined only by the frozen water. As you leave, tie one end of a bacon
rind to a branch of a tree well above dog height. Secure the other
rind to the bone by sticking it through a hole in the flesh and tying
a knot. The bone will now be suspended in mid air by the bacon rinds,
joined only by the ice. When the ice has melted, the bone will fall to
the ground giving your dog an unexpected food treat. While it is
easier to use string instead of the bacon rind, the rind is safer as
your dog might eat the string. The rinds can also be frozen into a
Kong ball so that the Kong, filled with food, drops to the ground as
it defrosts.

The leaking milk bottle   
For this trick you will need a plastic milk carton, a length of light
wood such as a ruler and a small tin containing some food rewards.

Put a slit or hole in the bottom of the carton. Fill the carton with
water. The water will slowly leak out over time, the length of which
is determined by the amount of water you use. Now place length of wood
high up on a ledge with the leaking bottle to balance it. Place the
food can on the other end. The milk bottle balances the weight of the
ruler and the can. When enough water has leaked out, the ruler and
food will clang to the ground and give a sudden food treat for your

Clamshell sand pits   
A clamshell sand pit, commonly used for children, is wonderful for
dogs that dig. Fill one half of the shell with water and the other
half with sand. Burry the dog?s toys under the sand or place them in
the water. Vary the toys each day so that as your dog explores, it
will discover new joys.

Training Your Dog Not to Bark

Dumb Friends League

"Bark! Bark! Bark!"

"Teach your dog a "quiet" command. When he begins to bark at a
passer-by, allow two or three barks, then say "quiet" and interrupt
his barking by shaking a can filled with pennies or squirting water at
his mouth with a spray bottle or squirt gun. This will cause him to
stop barking momentarily. While he?s quiet, say "good quiet" and pop a
tasty treat into his mouth. Remember, the loud noise or squirt isn?t
meant to punish him, rather it?s to startle him into being quiet so
you can reward him. If your dog is frightened by the noise or squirt
bottle, find an alternative method of interrupting his barking (throw
a toy or ball toward him).

Desensitize your dog to the stimulus that triggers the barking. Teach
him that the people he views as intruders are actually friends and
that good things happen to him when these people are around. Ask
someone to walk by your yard, starting far enough away so that your
dog isn?t barking, then reward him for quiet behavior as he obeys a
"sit" or "down" command. Use a very special food reward such as little
pieces of cheese or meat. As the person gradually comes closer,
continue to reward his quiet behavior. It may take several sessions
before the person can come close without your dog barking. When the
person can come very close without your dog barking, have them feed
him a treat or throw a toy for him.
If your dog barks while inside the house when you?re home, call him to
you, have him obey a command, such as "sit" or "down," and reward him
with praise and a treat.

Don?t inadvertently encourage this type of barking by enticing your
dog to bark at things he hears or sees outside.

Have your dog neutered (or spayed if your dog is a female) to decrease
territorial behavior."


Perfect Paws

How to Handle Dog Barking  "Stop Barking"

"It's no wonder people have barking problems with their dogs. Most
dogs have no clue as to whether barking is something good or something
bad. Sometimes when the dog barks, he is ignored (owner in a jolly
mood). Other times, the dog is encouraged (owner sees suspicious
stranger outside the house). And yet other times, the dog is yelled at
(owner has a headache). Humans are consistently inconsistent.

In order to help your dog know your rules, teach him what they are.
Here is a good rule to start with: Barking is OK until the dog is told
to "Stop Barking." Think of "Stop Barking" as an obedience command
rather that simply an unpredictable reprimand.

Each time your dog barks, after two or three woofs, praise her for
sounding the alarm. Then tell her, "Stop Barking." Simultaneously,
waggle an especially tasty food treat in front of her nose. Most dogs
instantly stop barking because they can't sniff and lick the treat
while barking. During this quiet time praise her continuously - -
"Good girl, stop barking, what a good quiet dog you are, good dog . .
." After 3 seconds of no barking, let her have the treat. The next
time she barks, require her to stop barking for 5 seconds before she
gets the treat. Each time she is told to stop barking and succeeds,
she will be rewarded.

If she barks even one little wooflet after you've given the command,
scold her immediately. Timing is everything. As training proceeds, the
required period of silence is increased gradually; at first "Stop
Barking" means: No barking for the next 3 seconds, then 5 seconds,
then 10 seconds and so on.

Within a single training session, you can teach your dog to stop
barking for up to 1 or 2 minutes. This is major progress, because
whatever set off her barking in the first place is history, and she is
likely to be quiet until the next disturbance.

The Consequences of Barking

When your dog stays quiet for the required period of time after you've
asked her to please, "Stop Barking," she is rewarded. When she makes a
mistake, your unsuspecting poochie's very next wooflet should be met
with a cataclysmic, earthshaking 120 decibel "STOP BARKING!!!" Most
dogs are so totally shocked and amazed by this horrendous outburst
that they will stare at you in disbelief (and silence). If this
outburst makes your dog more excited, then you might try an ice-cold
I-mean-business tone of voice. Sometimes a splash of water in the face
will do the trick. You must find something that will instantly make
your dog stop barking. As soon as your dog stops barking, even for
just a tenth of a second, you must immediately and instantly reward
her. After enough repetitions your dog will learn the meaning of the
command, "Stop Barking," and you will no longer need your training
props (water, treats, etc.)

Substituting the Barking Habit

If your dog's excessive barking has already become a habit, don't
expect the barking to get under control overnight. It takes weeks of
repetition to replace an old habit with a new one. If you keep up with
these procedures, you will see a new pattern of barking develop.
Instead of barking relentlessly at the insignificant, your dog will be
barking appropriately and for a reasonable length of time. It is
important that you maintain this new good habit through practice and
praise or your dog may revive his old annoying barking habits again."


Train Your Dog to Stop Barking

"As a veterinary student, I lived in the basement of an animal
hospital. We did a lot of boarding, and there were occasionally dogs
that barked at night. These dogs were warm and well-fed, with plenty
of water. Their kennels were clean and dry. All they lacked was
entertainment. I quickly learned that hollering "quiet" was pretty
much useless. Here is what worked: I'd put a little water in a Dixie
Cup and quietly stand in front of the barker, not saying a word.
Within a minute or two the dog would bark again, whereupon I'd
immediately dash the water in his face, turn around and go back to
bed, all without saying a word. I'd usually have to do this two or
three times the first night, once or twice the second night and maybe
even once the night after that. Nearly always, after the second or
third night, peace and quiet.

"Quiet" repeated calmly and clearly once or twice in a normal voice
will teach your dog to associate the word with water in the face and
with not barking. Later, in situations where he would ordinarily bark
but stays quiet instead, calmly praise him."


(cached page)

"Training Tips 

The water method works for almost all dogs and is simple to use if you
follow these guidelines:

The first training rule is to be consistent and persistent. You cannot
expect the dog to learn if barking for the wrong reason is corrected
one time and not the next.

Be ready for an immediate response. Have ready a plant mister or water
pistol filled with water.

Say, "NO BARK" and give one or two squirts of water at the dog while
it is barking. He will stop at once. If you wait until he stops, it
may confuse him.

If your dog moves away, repeat saying "NO BARK" as you go to him and
give one more squirt of water. Repeat each time he barks needlessly.
Usually a day or two of training is enough if you are consistent.
Remember to reassure the dog that you are still friends by petting him
later when he is quiet. With this conditioning procedure your dog will
soon learn to expect a squirt of water when you shout "NO BARK". Once
he has made the association, you won't need to squirt him again.

Do's And Don'ts For Dog Owners 

-  Do find out why your dog barks. 
-  Do not turn a garden hose on a dog or throw rocks or other objects at it. 
-  Do not spank or hit your dog. It is NOT an effective substitute for
water treatment and rarely solves any behavior problems. In fact,
hitting a dog will probably make it impossible for you to ever train
your dog without professional help.
-  Do praise your dog whenever he barks for a trained reason. 
-  Do correct the behavior immediately. Dogs WILL NOT associate their
mistakes if correction is not immediate."

keyword search:

dog activities reduce boredom
entertain my dog
train dog not to bark 
barking dog


Best regards,
Subject: Re: Play ideas for keeping a backyard dog entertained
From: tutuzdad-ga on 11 Oct 2005 13:50 PDT
What breed of dog is it?

Subject: Re: Play ideas for keeping a backyard dog entertained
From: markh_co-ga on 11 Oct 2005 13:51 PDT
Half-poodle, half-golden retriever.
Subject: Re: Play ideas for keeping a backyard dog entertained
From: markh_co-ga on 11 Oct 2005 15:05 PDT
Re using the K9 Calmer - seems a little too Clockwork Orange for me. 
The website notes that an "increased level of barking... should stop
within a few hours as the dog accepts the sound" and indicates you
should "not subject your dog to the intense '12' setting for more than
twelve hours at a time".

Also, the only review I noticed (on Amazon) was very negative.

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