Does your Dog Misbehave When You’re on the Phone?

Dog wanting attention from owner when she is on the phone

Unfortunately, even though I got my dog when she was a puppy, I missed some important steps in her training. However, I don’t really remember this horrible behavior until more recently so it’s possible she hadn’t developed it yet. Does your dog misbehave when you’re on the phone? If the answer is yes, please read on. If the answer is no and she misbehaves because she wants your attention, then this could help you also.

Whenever I am on the phone for a while, my dog starts getting more and more demanding. I know this because her behavior starts getting progressively worse

It usually starts with her bringing me her favorite ball of the moment and setting it down next to me. So, I do usually start throwing her ball for her while I’m talking on the phone. I usually do this for a while, but then it somehow devolves into her making this horrible high-pitched, demanding bark.

This is such a horrible sound, it is ear-shattering! She somehow developed this awful high-pitched bark when she was about 2 years old, or maybe a little younger. I don’t remember this noise when she was a puppy.

It only shows up when she wants me to do something immediately. Usually, it involves throwing her ball for her and I didn’t respond quickly enough.

I know that she is demanding my attention. The worst response to this is to give her any type of attention whether it’s good or bad.

 However, it’s difficult to ignore this when I am in the middle of a phone call.

Don’t Give in to Your Dog When She is Demanding Attention

Once you realize what triggers these bad behaviors, it is best to try and stop them as soon as possible. Otherwise, the horrible behavior will continue.  One way to train your dog to stop this behavior while you’re on the phone is pretend to call someone. Then start talking saying anything you feel like, so it is like you are on a call. This works for me because my dog doesn’t respond to the phone ringing.

You may need to start your training with a call made from your cell phone to the landline.  However, this will only be necessary if your dog starts misbehaving when the phone rings. Either way, once you are on this fake call you can start training your dog.

First, just try ignoring her. If (or when) she starts the bad behavior, walk away from her, don’t look at her or respond in any way.  If you are lucky or have caught her early enough then if she stops the bad behavior, put the phone down and reward her for being a good girl. Then pick up the phone and pretend to be resuming the call to see how she responds. If she starts the behavior again, either walk away again or put her into an are where she is separated from you. Don’t leave her there too long, only about 30 seconds for a puppy to 1 minute, for a grown dog.

Always be Consistent in your Training

You will need to be consistent in your training so that she understands what you are trying to teach her.

In my case, my dog is grown and there are several situations in which this horrible behavior shows up. They usually involve me trying to talk to another person who has come over to my house. However, there is another situation where this comes up also.

This happens when I do the laundry. My washer and dryer are in the garage, so I get the clothes prepared and take them out there. She always follows me carrying her ball, of course. I put in the detergent and let it run a couple of minutes to get the water soapy before putting in the clothes.

This is where she usually starts the horrible shrill bark. I am currently in the process of training her in the same way that is done for the shrill barking when I’m on the phone.  I ignore her if she starts up with the barking. If she stops when I ignore her, I praise her and give her a treat. Then continue with putting the laundry into the washer.

I do throw the ball for her a few times when I have finished putting the clothes into the washer. Unfortunately, if she just starts up her barking again, I just ignore her until I am finished putting the clothes in and don’t throw the ball for her.

Reward and Praise her When she is Good, Ignore her When she Misbehaves

Dog wanting attention behaving badly

Then once the clothes have started, I will go back to whatever I was doing until the clothes have finished washing. I set the alarm for 40 minutes as this is how long the washing takes. When the alarm goes off, then she knows it’s time for another laundry thing, so she brings out her ball again.

This time I am taking the clothes out of the washer and putting them into the dryer along with a couple of sheets of Bounce. This is another time that she usually starts up with the shrill, barking. If she doesn’t start the barking, I praise and give her a treat and resume the task of taking out the laundry from the washer and putting it into the dryer. 

If she does start up the barking again, I ignore her again until I am done with this part. She is improving but sometimes she backslides. This is to be expected when training your dog.

Another time this happens is when someone comes over to do work on my home or yard. She usually starts that horrible shrill bark when I am trying to talk to whoever is here outside. She hurls her ball at our feet and starts up that horrible bark.

This makes it pretty much impossible to make this a training moment as whoever is here has come over to do a job so I don’t feel I can stop on their time and train my dog. I probably should anyway, it shouldn’t take that long to ignore her and give her treats and praise if she responds favorably.

I should carry around a pouch of dog treats so I can practice this training wherever it turns up. This one is my own fault for not being prepared.

Final Thoughts

This is just a simple example of one way to eliminate some of the behaviors of your dog that could be driving you nuts. If you are lucky, most of the bad behaviors will occur when your dog is a puppy so that by the time she is grown, many of her bad behaviors will be gone.

However, you never know when her behavior may suddenly change. Depending upon the behavior, it could be a symptom of an injury or an illness. In the case of my dog, it was obvious, due to the presence of her ball, that she is demanding attention.

Please feel free to add any comments below about your experiences of trying to eliminate intolerable behaviors in your dog along with the method you used to eliminate the behavior.

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