Just when everything was going well, and he seemed so well trained...an odd behaviour has slowly developed at 19 months old.

He doesn't like me talking to people. In the house, this new behaviour has become a nuisance, and initially it was treated with reassurance because it seemed he was trying to communicate. That might sound odd, but he does 'request' things Lassie style (a short bark, and - if he doesn't get my attention - eventually a gentle tug of the hand). I've now separated this barking during talking, from his 'requesting' anything. He doesn't want anything, and so I think I may have inadvertently compounded the problem by reassuring during his little outbursts.

Ignoring him also failed, and because his barking is so loud it deadens the (often important) conversation, I now have to remove him from the room for a short period (like - two minutes) which is enough to silence him upon his return. Great!
But he's not learning from this though, and he continues in this behaviour, not really caring about being removed from the room, only understanding that the behaviour has to stop when he's allowed back in. And now, if a stranger approaches in the street, he's fine; as soon as they open their mouth to talk to me, he barks at them. They can stroke him, he's friendly, he wags his tail, etc. He just barks when they talk...and I'm fast coming to the conclusion it's jealousy. Does he really want my undivided attention so bad? Whatever, the cycle has to be broken. Any tips gratefully received.
I'm expecting the solution to be incredibly obvious...I'm usually too thick to see them! Emotion: smile

Lee John Moore
"It's the sign of a hard winter, when the hay runs after the horse!" - Miss Vodrey; Anna of the Five Towns
Just when everything was going well, and he seemed so well trained...an odd behaviour has slowly developed at 19 months ... doesn't want anything, and so I think I may have inadvertently compounded the problem by reassuring during his little outbursts.

It looks to me that you've taught him to do this - he's interpreted your 'reassurance' as praise.
I made a similar mistake with my GSD, I learnt and fixed it - eventually. You will be able to fix this too - once you learn not to try and interpret his actions as if he were a human. Dogs are smart, very smart and the GSD is one of those breeds that will really go out of his way to get in your head, so you have to be careful about even the slightest signals you give.

He must be very confused - first you fuss & praise him (your 'reassurance') when he barks, then you get all angry & send him out of the room!

if other areas of his obedience are going well, use that to help you break this habit - if he's busy performing a command for you, he won't be busy barking for you. I currently have a weim pup and I am guilty of so often taking the 'easy' route of, say, struggling as she tries to race me to the phone, pushing her off as she wants to 'help' me in to my coat and empty my pockets - but if I just stop & think for a moment, all I have to do is say 'sit, wait' and she will put her little butt on the ground and wait until I have completed the task I was trying to do, in half the time without any fuss at all.
hope this helps,
Diana
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He must be very confused - first you fuss & praise him (your 'reassurance') when he barks, then you get all angry & send him out of the room!

No! Sorry, I've not explained myself properly. Reassuring was an initial way of dealing with it. Sure, I agree, that's compounded the problem; that's why I stopped doing it and dealt with it by sending him out of the room. - Really, for a tiny time too, which is enough to stop the behaviour; indeed, he then behaves perfectly. But only for that particular instance. It's not enough to stop the behaviour recurring at a later date.

There's no risk of him confusing the reassurance with being sent out of the room because they were successive, and entirely isolated (not mixed) responses.
if other areas of his obedience are going well, use that to help you break this habit - if he's busy performing a command for you, he won't be busy barking for you.

I've tried this too, but have no success. He performs the command but continues to bark.
I currently have a weim pup and I am guilty of so often taking the 'easy' route of, say, struggling ... completed the task I was trying to do, in half the time without any fuss at all. hope this helps,

Thanks. Emotion: smile I think we're going back to training school (which we just stopped recently due to some surgery he had). He is well-trained and will always do what he's told. He doesn't have the upper-hand and is very well mannered (we always go through the doors first, etc., he'll not go to the front door or phone if he's ordered not to, etc.) but he was the alpha-male, and it seems that whenever I get him 'just right', something like this pops up within a few weeks. He and my last GSD are like chalk and cheese. It's amazing how many new, alien challenges a new dog of the same breed can throw at you! Emotion: smile
I also wonder how much the surgery and convalescence is to blame. He was always walked three times a day, apart from having the run of a nature reserve and nearby Peak District. And then for a few weeks he couldn't go out at all for medical reasons, and TBH, I think that's when and why this whole behavioural problem has occurred.
Sorry so long. One day I'll learn how to be brief. Emotion: sad
Lee John Moore
"It's the sign of a hard winter, when the hay runs after the horse!" - Miss Vodrey; Anna of the Five Towns
Just when everything was going well, and he seemed so well trained...an odd behaviour has slowly developed at 19 months ... sign of a hard winter, when the hay runs after the horse!" - Miss Vodrey; Anna of the Five Towns

Hi,
You have given your dog the attention he so required. When he barked you reassured him.
That was the only attention he wanted.
Now every time he barks when you are speaking...he will get you to speak to him.
Just like a child will do..dogs and children are very alike. If you are doing obedience you will know that all you need to teach your dog is NO.
NO is the word you should use for anything that is NOT acceptable to you. Simple as that really..but you have to mean NO when you say it. Hope this is of help to you.
Pat
if other areas of his obedience are going well, use ... command for you, he won't be busy barking for you.

I've tried this too, but have no success. He performs the command but continues to bark.

Since he's a smart and obedient dog, perhaps you could give him a command that precludes barking? Perhaps teach him to sit and hold an object for you - dumbbell, glove, rolled newspaper, ball - you could simply carry an item like this in your pocket when you go out. And then Sit! Hold! would produce the desired behaviour?
Just a thought...
Laura and Angel in Oslo
Ignoring him also failed, and because his barking is so loud it deadens the (often important) conversation, I now have to remove him from the room for a short period (like - two minutes) which is enough to silence him upon his return. Great!

What a bratty teenager you've raised! Stop isolating him to another room. Put him on a down/stay beside you when you begin a conversation, for the length of the conversation. Make no eye contact with him if he barks or whines, simply correct him and praise silence. And go back a do a whole lot of basic leadership exercises with him to normalize your relationship so that he will stop making demands, especially control of your agenda. He needs to learn self-control and patience and it's up to you to make that happen.
Lynn K.
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Hi, You have given your dog the attention he so required. When he barked you reassured him.

That's not strictly true Pat. First he was ignored. Then he was reassured, under the mistaken notion that he was frightened of something and the only thing that works now is putting him in the next room (where his bed is) for two tiny minutes. Not five, not ten, not a whole day; sometimes he doesn't have a chance to lie down. But it works. The problem now is: recurrence. Why does it recurr if he *is* getting the message?
That was the only attention he wanted. Now every time he barks when you are speaking...he will get you to speak to him.

He doesn't bark every time I'm speaking. Just now and then when I'm speaking. Sometimes once a day. Twice at most. Usually when in the kichen (for some reason), occasionally when out.
Just like a child will do....dogs and children are very alike. If you are doing obedience you will know that all you need to teach your dog is NO. NO is the word you should use for anything that is NOT acceptable to you.

Quite. And it applies to everything except his very recent 'yapping' behavioural problem. For some reason, it doesn't work in this case. It's like he doesn't understand that 'yapping' isn't the same kind of anti-social behaviour as chewing. 'No' was reinforced long, long ago. But it doesn't work for 'yapping'.
Simple as that really....

So it's actually not.

Lee John Moore
"Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education;" Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë) 1847