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We have two dogs, both medium to large dogs. Our female is 10 years old, sleeps most of the time and is really low key. Then we have our 6 year old male chocolate lab who has joined the lazy world and would prefer to sleep most of the time. They don’t play with the kids and aren’t really active.

When I was growing up, I grew up with a dog. We got him when I was 4 and he was my buddy until I was 18 years old and he passed away. Growing up with a dog was a huge part of my childhood, especially since I was an only child. It was like he was my best friend. I decided I wanted my kids to have a dog that would play with them and we decided to become a foster family with one of the local rescue groups. We got our first dog within a few days and he was very demanding and I could adjust to that. However, he had food aggression towards my older dog and he also attacked my daughter on day 3 so he was out of here. But while the dog was here, my son would play with fetch with him in the backyard and it dawned on me how happy they were to have a dog that would play with them.

I got on my computer and started searching for a new puppy and found one a few hours away. I took my daughter with me and we drove to get a 6 week old chocolate lab puppy. She was so cute and darker chocolate than our 6 year old lab. I remember labs being hard as puppies and she has been challenging and added to the chaos of the household. I know with her though, it is temporary. She will grow out of it eventually.

The main challenge with her right now is her barking in her crate when I have to put her up while we eat. This dog is stubborn and her bark is very high pitched at this point. She is 5 months old now, but doesn’t use what I call her big dog bark when she’s trying to get attention. I’m working with her to get her to stop the barking when she’s in her crate because it really is like running fingernails down a chalkboard.

I am taking her through some additional training one on one with a trainer to work with her barking and also work to train her so we can eventually have her in the therapy dog program here locally. However, working on the barking in the crate is not a quick fix and it really does involve a lot of work on my part. I can’t talk to her while she is in the crate. I use a distracting sound and then when she is not barking, I give her the command “quiet” and give her a treat. If she starts again, I turn my back on her and make the distracting noise and then give her the command and treat. Every other command she has learned really fast but this one is taking more time. We also use distractions for her while she was in the crate like her Kong filled with peanut butter and crunched up dog food to keep her entertained awhile.

Hopefully I will have a good update in the next week or so on the barky bark puppy who thankfully is snoozing on the couch at the moment after a nice long tiring walk.

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