Why has my dog started barking at me?

JamieAugust 13, 2014

Sorry this is so long, but I'm not sure you can help me without knowing a lot.

Rescued Pink, 10+ year old poodle-maltese-westie? in February.

She had a huge tumor, fleas, worms, etc., but she is a good dog and we fixed all that. You can tell she had a nicer life at some point. She LOVES to ride in the car, loves the lap. She will play tag or fetch, but doesn't stay terribly engaged for more than about 10 minutes. If she starts to annoy at table, showing her the squirt water bottle is enough to stop it. She's not very food-motivated and I've never found a dog treat that interests her, although she likes to find her own food on the floor, in the garbage, dishwasher or on the street. She doesn't really come when called, but she doesn't stray far, either. She doesn't seem to know her name. When we go to the dog park she sniffs the other dogs a little and allows a little sniffing but loses interest within a half hour and puts her paws on my legs to ask to go home. When DH brings her back from a walk, she comes to my office to check in and connect. After eating she likes to thank me by having a little lap time.

Barking history is that she barks at most dogs when she encounters them. If we are at the dog park and off the leash, it works itself out and she stops. If we are on the leash in the street and I stand still and talk to the owner of the other dog the barking often stops, but not always. I think it depends on whether the other dog is barking back.

Cancer recurred and she had a radical mastectomy last month. She is all recovered to full energy and has no more pain. But she suffered a lot during the first 10 days, and she moaned and whimpered even with the pain meds. I had the feeling that she hallucinated a bit on the meds they gave her. She seemed to be sensing something in the dark in the bedroom at night. I believe that that was the first time I heard the inexplicable barking. She calmed quickly though, and the barking was not directed at us.

As she started to feel better, she would stand at the top or the bottom of the stairs and bark. This had never happened before. We figured maybe she was too sore to go up or down to find me. (I work upstairs). Then, she started barking while standing next to at me at my desk about 2:30 every day. She eats at 3:30 when I'm done working. She used to sometimes put her front paws up on me to remind me at 2:30 or so that it was time. I would pat her and then she would go back to her daybed to wait. But now she barks and I don't like it. If I show her the squirt water bottle she stops for a couple of minutes. I've tried taking her out back in case she has to go, but she doesn't have to go. Today, she didn't even want to step outside, and when she finally did, she turned right around and came back in.

THE LATEST AND LAST STRAW: Last night when we went to bed she got out of her own bed and barked. I had just taken her out to go. Her bed is in our room. She stood in the dark and barked while facing us/our bed --- she didn't come over to the bed and put her paws up to be petted, which she does in the AM. It is a real bark, not like the snuffling, stifled bark she might do in the morning to get me up. Why is she doing this? How can I stop it? I want my sweet dog back! The only thing different about yesterday is that I never walked her myself - DH did the long walks and I just did the pit stops. On a typical day I do one of the longer walks with her.

She gets 2 or 3 hours of leash walking a day, and an equal amount of lap time. We do tire her out and she does sleep a lot. Sleeping all night and then some (and then a lot, actually) has not been a problem in the past I don't work every day, so the barking at the desk only happens on certain days, but she used to "know" when I was working and she had to wait quietly.
Thanks for your advice.

Edited to add: Pink follows me room to room. She has a bed or blanket in each room, which she goes lays down on while I'm in the room I should note that she always has barked if I close a door on her when I'm on the other side of it. I only do that by accident.

This post was edited by jamies on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 20:49

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I have a rescue dog. We have had many issues and I went to a group training class for aggressive dogs, had a behaviorist come and help and although I did what I was told, things got worse.
Long story short, we are now involved with a trainer from Bark Busters. See if you have one near you.
The trainer comes to your home and evaluates your needs. My biggest issue was being able to way by other dogs without mine going into attack mode. I can do this now.
You train the dog with out treats, and with a firm voice. You don't yell at your dog. We are also working on his constant barking when people walk by our home. We have seen an improvement, but he will back slide if we are not diligent.
It has been less than a month and there is improvement for the better.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 9:23PM
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Something's wrong:

Dogs can't talk, all they can do is bark, & they don't bark for no reason or unproductively ('productively' being barking that gets her something she wants).

I'd take her back to the vet;
she may be having pain.

sending you & Pink my best thoughts for health & a serene (quiet) life.

edited to add:

The barking may be an expression of anxiety, since she follows you around & doesn't like closed doors between you, & since she's just had a very bad, painful medical experience.

If vet finds nothing wrong with her, & anti-anxiety meds don't stop the barking, (can't believe I'm saying this), go to your doctor.

Dogs are spooky.

This post was edited by sylviatexas on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 22:48

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:45PM
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I agree with sylia, she's trying to talk to you, tell you what she wants. Barking at the bottom and top of the stairs tells me that she does not want to walk those steps, it probably hurts her. I'm going to just guess that she really just doesn't feel very well.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:19AM
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Since you mentioned she's sleeping more, I think I'd cut back on the 2-3 hrs a day of walking. For a 10 yr old small dog, that had surgery a month ago, all the exercise may be too much for her. Also, the fact she's not putting her paws on your leg may be a sign of pain from scar tissue.
I agree that she may still be having some type of pain and is trying to tell you something. It's time for a recheck at the vet and if they aren't much help then seek out another vet.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:13PM
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