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View Full Version : HELP! My dog hates my uke!



buraian
12-28-2010, 08:27 AM
Hi, there. I'm new here. My lovely wife gave me a lovely LU-21 for Christmas, so I can finally start learning to play instead of just talking about it all day long.

Unfortunately, one of our two dogs (a Corgi) seems to hate the sound. He barked his head off while I was just trying to tune it for the first time. I joked that maybe he was just barking because it was out of tune. Now that I've tuned it, he still barks incessantly. We think he was a puppy mill survivor, and he's very easily disturbed by strange noises. Our other dog pays no attention at all (but barks when we play our shakuhachi CD).

We have a one bedroom apartment, so if I don't want to disturb the neighbors with his barking, I'll have to shut myself in the car to practice.

Anyone else have this problem? Tonight, I'm going to try just gently plucking the strings while he eats dinner. Few things can distract the boy from his food. Maybe he'll eventually come to associate the sound with something tasty.

Any other ideas?

Cheers,
-Brian*

fitncrafty
12-28-2010, 08:35 AM
Hi, there. I'm new here. My lovely wife gave me a lovely LU-21 for Christmas, so I can finally start learning to play instead of just talking about it all day long.

Unfortunately, one of our two dogs (a Corgi) seems to hate the sound. He barked his head off while I was just trying to tune it for the first time. I joked that maybe he was just barking because it was out of tune. Now that I've tuned it, he still barks incessantly. We think he was a puppy mill survivor, and he's very easily disturbed by strange noises. Our other dog pays no attention at all (but barks when we play our shakuhachi CD).

We have a one bedroom apartment, so if I don't want to disturb the neighbors with his barking, I'll have to shut myself in the car to practice.

Anyone else have this problem? Tonight, I'm going to try just gently plucking the strings while he eats dinner. Few things can distract the boy from his food. Maybe he'll eventually come to associate the sound with something tasty.

Any other ideas?

Cheers,
-Brian*

Brian..The uke is an accompaniment instrument perhaps he is just singing along... yikes.. sitting in the car doesn't really sound like fun and relaxing times.. maybe give him a favorite bone to chew on... Sigh.. maybe he will get used to it slowly.. sigh.. I like your idea of gently plucking the strings while he is eating and engaged in pleasant activities..
Maybe a job for the Dog Whisperer...
Good luck..

Lori
12-28-2010, 08:39 AM
Hey Brian! Welcome to UU.

That is a tough problem. I have no real experience with dogs, but it sounds like you have a good idea exposing him to the sound while he eats. Maybe if he gets used to it playing softly first, and then slowly expose him to louder volumes, he would get used to it. If the sound is actually painful to his ears though, you might try a different brand of strings. Maybe earplugs for dogs, or a sound proof dog house for him to retreat to. You could also try to muffle your uke with a sock in the sound hole. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
–Lori

dkcrown
12-28-2010, 08:49 AM
Hmmmm. Dog or uke? Uke or dog? I know which one I would choose:)

Maybe you can exchange the LU-21 for a solid body ukulele which allows for silent practice when not plugged in.

hoosierhiver
12-28-2010, 09:03 AM
Maybe he just thinks you are wasting those nifty hands on that uke when they should be scratching his ears.
I'd persist, he'll either get used to it or become part of the act.

bazmaz
12-28-2010, 09:20 AM
dogs learn quickly - get him in the room and do some soft strumming close by - build it up.

Either that or close the door! ;-)

Ukuleleblues
12-28-2010, 09:26 AM
I'd try giving him a treat everytime you play when he doesn't bark.

I once had a cat I was going to train to enjoy getting washed. So I bought some sardines, she liked sardines. I fed the cat some of the sardines while I was washing it. When I got done and the cat was dried off, I was so proud as i thought I had figured it all out. i picked up the cat and gave it hug and took a whiff of the freshly washed cat. The darn cat stunk just like rotten sardines. It seems the oil from the sardines was still in the cats saliva as it licked itself dry. Man it really stunk.

JoshFromTallGrassUkes
12-28-2010, 10:00 AM
I'm assuming you've read some books about dog rearing and that your dog knows that you are the boss. If you haven't, start there. You should be able to interrupt his/her barking behavior and not have to practice in the car.

Our puppy Roosevelt was terrified of the upright bass, so while she ate or played with a toy, I would quietly pluck the strings, slowly acclimating her to the sound. Now she ignores it.

70sSanO
12-28-2010, 10:46 AM
Mybe you should try linear, Low G, tuning instead of re-entrant, "My Dog Has Fleas" High G tuning.

John

Sorry... I couldn't resist... Welcome to UU

Keef
12-28-2010, 11:09 AM
My cat hates the sound too and head butts my elbow and makes me mess up lol

Ukuleleblues
12-28-2010, 11:19 AM
My cat hates the sound too and head butts my elbow and makes me mess up lolI have one cat that loves the uke. It sits between my wife and I whenever we play. When the band practices the cat shows up. The other cat mostly runs in terror from everything. They are sisters, so much for genetics shaping behavior.

rem50
12-28-2010, 12:02 PM
I have a little experience training dogs. I know this would sound funny but just follow me. .... Every time he barks tell him to "speak". Keep at it till he will bark (speak) on command. It will take a few days depending on how smart your dog is :) ! Once you have taught him what that is, the barking/speaking, you can then teach him the word "quiet". He will get the idea that the barking is not acceptable when you are playing. Remember to reward him 100% of the time when he speaks on command and then when he is quiet on command. You have to make it worth his while to do what you say. You can wean him from the reward after a little while. This will work if you do it. rem

Mim
12-28-2010, 12:06 PM
I think you got some good advice here and I think your thoughts on associating something pleasent with the uke is a good ideas as well. I am curious how it turns out for you, so keep us updated! Welcome to the Ukulele and UU in general as well!

georgio
12-28-2010, 12:38 PM
Everyones a critic... Now it's the dog! :rofl:

Ukuleleblues
12-28-2010, 12:57 PM
I have a little experience training dogs. I know this would sound funny but just follow me. .... Every time he barks tell him to "speak". Keep at it till he will bark (speak) on command. It will take a few days depending on how smart your dog is :) ! Once you have taught him what that is, the barking/speaking, you can then teach him the word "quiet". He will get the idea that the barking is not acceptable when you are playing. Remember to reward him 100% of the time when he speaks on command and then when he is quiet on command. You have to make it worth his while to do what you say. You can wean him from the reward after a little while. This will work if you do it. remWooof Wooof..... Hey your are good!!!!

ukejoelele
12-28-2010, 02:11 PM
Hi and welcome to UU :) You are alomg the right lines of thought and some good advice has been given here. Basically you need to condition the animal to the noise, the frequency/sound shouldnt be a problem (as proved by your other dog).
Have you heard of clicker training? its v affective and quite quick.. instead of ramming food into your dogs mouth every time you strum, you get the dog to associate reward to the sound of a click (you can buy a clicker from a pet store cheap). For example use basic commands such as sit, then when it does, reward in its favourite way (ie fuss/small treat/play with toy) whilst rewarding, click the clicker so the dog associates the sound to the reward/positive experience. repeat for a while with diffent commands and gradually phase out the physical reward to just the sound of the click.. eventually it will be just as effective or more (some dogs can get bored of fuss/get fat with treats!) now strum your uke gently and click when the dog behaves. dogs react much better to carrots than sticks. It seems a pain but once the dog gets it you can apply the clicker training to any behaviour so good for the long run.. i used this technique for a piece of coursework when studying animal science and was surprised by the results. (google clicker training for more depth) Hope it goes well and good luck! PM me if you get stuck. Joe

JT_Ukes
12-28-2010, 02:58 PM
Well duh.. all he hears is "My Dog Has Fleas".. and he is taking offense...

:)

rem50
12-28-2010, 03:24 PM
Well duh.. all he hears is "My Dog Has Fleas".. and he is taking offense...

:)
now that is funny!

DeG
12-28-2010, 03:49 PM
I think if you play it while he is eating, like you said, it is a good idea. Train the dog to associate the sound of the uke with a pleasurable experience, like eating, getting a treat, being petted. etc... Just be careful that he doesn't make the reward association with barking, and not the uke playing.

edit: Sorry, I just noticed that I'm repeating what others have already said.... anyhow, I agree with them :-)

roxhum
12-28-2010, 05:30 PM
Maybe your dog doesn't like this particular uke. I think you should upgrade to a Kamaka ukulele immediatly.

You've gotten some good advice and associating it with goodies. I too have corgis and they love their treats.

Good luck and don't give up
Roxhum

buraian
12-28-2010, 05:44 PM
Okay, so I tried a little quiet string plucking while he was eating and, as expected, he completely ignored me. After a minute or so (when most of the food was gone) he trotted over to the couch and stared at me. But when I told him to go back to his food, he did. We went through that a couple of times. But no barking, so maybe we're off to a good start.

Thanks for all the advice (and good humor). This dog is actually a very good boy. My wife and I have taken him through two rounds of training at PetSmart, and he's generally pretty obedient. There are a few things we still have trouble with. He's very wary of strangers (human or canine), and he hates children. He gets bent out of shape if he hears someone talking too loudly outside.

I know we could do more training with him, but it has gotten much more difficult since we added the second dog.

Cheers,
-Brian*

P.S.-- roxhum, nice avatar. Are they Cardigans? And please don't feed my UAS! We need a new car first!

roxhum
12-28-2010, 05:48 PM
Okay, so I tried a little quiet string plucking while he was eating and, as expected, he completely ignored me. After a minute or so (when most of the food was gone) he trotted over to the couch and stared at me. But when I told him to go back to his food, he did. We went through that a couple of times. But no barking, so maybe we're off to a good start.

Thanks for all the advice (and good humor). This dog is actually a very good boy. My wife and I have taken him through two rounds of training at PetSmart, and he's generally pretty obedient. There are a few things we still have trouble with. He's very wary of strangers (human or canine), and he hates children. He gets bent out of shape if he hears someone talking too loudly outside.

I know we could do more training with him, but it has gotten much more difficult since we added the second dog.

Cheers,
-Brian*

P.S.-- roxhum, nice avatar. Are they Cardigans? And please don't feed my UAS! We need a new car first!

Yes they are Cardigans. The brown one's hearts desire is to be a morbidly obese couch potato.

knadles
12-28-2010, 06:42 PM
I think your idea (which seems to be working) of playing softly while he does something else is a good idea. When I was in training school with my dog, the one thing the teacher stressed was that dogs are creatures of habit. If they always do something, they'll keep doing it, even if it makes no sense. So if he learns to bark while you're playing, that's what he'll want to do forever, even after he gets used to it.

That's my $0.02, anyway. Hope it helps.

-Pete

ADD
12-28-2010, 07:54 PM
I'd try giving him a treat everytime you play when he doesn't bark.

I once had a cat I was going to train to enjoy getting washed. So I bought some sardines, she liked sardines. I fed the cat some of the sardines while I was washing it. When I got done and the cat was dried off, I was so proud as i thought I had figured it all out. i picked up the cat and gave it hug and took a whiff of the freshly washed cat. The darn cat stunk just like rotten sardines. It seems the oil from the sardines was still in the cats saliva as it licked itself dry. Man it really stunk.

Thanks for first full blown chuckle of my day. So did you give her another bath sans sardines?

Richie23
12-29-2010, 11:33 AM
......either get a new dog: or...put the dog in the car whilst you play. LOL

Plainsong
12-29-2010, 11:40 AM
......either get a new dog: or...put the dog in the car whilst you play. LOL
:wallbash:

Gmoney
12-29-2010, 01:31 PM
Made me think of this video of Manitoba Hal & his dog Emma:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY4OoI35qdA

Maybe you will be the next uke sensation like Hal!

philxbx
12-29-2010, 01:43 PM
I have a similar problem, but it's my partner that complains when I play. No amount of treats makes her 'like' it.

Phil

buraian
01-01-2011, 07:12 AM
I have a similar problem, but it's my partner that complains when I play. No amount of treats makes her 'like' it.

Phil

Maybe you're using the wrong kind of "treats." (-_^)

-Brian*

Dane
01-02-2011, 08:34 AM
Animals seem to get used to it. I had no problem with my dogs, but my cat used to always cringe at me and run out anytime I took it up. Now if I'm playing he comes and wants to sit on my lap (so long as I don't play really loud and fast)

Plainsong
01-03-2011, 02:05 AM
How's it going? Pixie is stubborn and won't be told things are otherwise once she's made up her mind. Like for example, she watches tv. And anything that's Very Bad is barked at. This includes: anything that looks like it's on 4 legs, anything that barks, moos, neighs, or meows. Also a tight shot of feet walking is Very Bad. She enjoys a good melodrama. "One woman's struggle against..." has her glued. Sometimes she'll look up at you sympathetically. She seems to enjoy anything with lots of crying in it. And it's not just us who've noticed.

Now a Dog Whisperer type could come in and she'd love him to bits and probably wouldn't bark... as long as he was there. It has a lot to do with her ability to trust us to have everything under control. She doesn't. Well, normally she does. She's not alpha until "mama dog syndrome" kicks in, and then she won't be told otherwise. That kicks in exactly when there's a perceived threat - like the horrible thing on tv. Then she is mama dog.

The breeder believes it to be an hysterical streak from the father's side of the family that she didn't notice until watching Pixie and her sister Kira, and then looking at some of his family members. She's discontinued the line because of it. Now she loves her dogs, it's just she's honest with herself about the nervous problem. She wouldn't want to pass it on.

So especially if he came from a puppy mill, he could have these predispositions going on as well. You don't want to enable him by stopping when he howls. At the same time you don't want to be causing him real discomfort. I guess just keep plugging away at what's been suggested, ukulele = good things like food or favorite toy. Then when he stops with the howling, release the pressure and stop playing. That should build up resistance over time until he's like "I don't care."

Unless he's Pixie and he has his mind made up. In that case, it's beyond me.

buraian
01-09-2011, 11:03 AM
How's it going? Pixie is stubborn and won't be told things are otherwise once she's made up her mind. Like for example, she watches tv. And anything that's Very Bad is barked at. This includes: anything that looks like it's on 4 legs, anything that barks, moos, neighs, or meows. Also a tight shot of feet walking is Very Bad. She enjoys a good melodrama. "One woman's struggle against..." has her glued. Sometimes she'll look up at you sympathetically. She seems to enjoy anything with lots of crying in it. And it's not just us who've noticed.

Wow, I suddenly feel very fortunate. The dog is tolerating the uke much better already. I think he'll get used to it. At the moment, I only get about five minutes of uke time per day, but that itself is an improvement. I'm going to a beginners' workshop at the end of the month, so I'll finally get some quality ukulele time. Very excited.

In other dog news... Friday night, I dropped an ibuprofen tablet and our other dog, the canine vacuum cleaner, promptly swallowed it. Two nights at the emergency vet hospital and $1300 later, I've learned to be more careful. Word to the wise, nearly all human medications--even OTC drugs--are very dangerous for dogs and cats. (In fact, onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, and many other common human foods are very bad for pets.) Everyone, please be careful and make sure your pets can't get them. And if they do, be sure to know how to deal with it. Call your pet's vet or the nearest 24-hour clinic or the National Animal Poison Control hotline:1-800-548-2423. The dog's fine, but considering her tendency to eat anything that'll fit in her mouth, it's only a matter of time before something like this happens again. Our pet insurance was a very good investment!

Cheers,
-Brian*

JT_Ukes
01-09-2011, 11:25 AM
Wow, I suddenly feel very fortunate. The dog is tolerating the uke much better already. I think he'll get used to it. At the moment, I only get about five minutes of uke time per day, but that itself is an improvement. I'm going to a beginners' workshop at the end of the month, so I'll finally get some quality ukulele time. Very excited.

In other dog news... Friday night, I dropped an ibuprofen tablet and our other dog, the canine vacuum cleaner, promptly swallowed it. Two nights at the emergency vet hospital and $1300 later, I've learned to be more careful. Word to the wise, nearly all human medications--even OTC drugs--are very dangerous for dogs and cats. (In fact, onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, and many other common human foods are very bad for pets.) Everyone, please be careful and make sure your pets can't get them. And if they do, be sure to know how to deal with it. Call your pet's vet or the nearest 24-hour clinic or the National Animal Poison Control hotline:1-800-548-2423. The dog's fine, but considering her tendency to eat anything that'll fit in her mouth, it's only a matter of time before something like this happens again. Our pet insurance was a very good investment!

Cheers,
-Brian*

was the dog showing symptoms after eating the pill?

buraian
01-09-2011, 12:36 PM
was the dog showing symptoms after eating the pill?

We didn't wait for symptoms. A quick check on Google gave us good reason to rush her to the E.R.

Ibuprofen (Advil) even in small doses can cause death.

-Brian*

roxhum
01-09-2011, 02:31 PM
Hi Brian, I am glad that your dog will be okay and thanks for the info. I dropped pills on the floor all the time, but my dogs don't go for them. I am glad your corgi is getting used to the uke.
Roxhum

Plainsong
01-09-2011, 02:37 PM
Wow it's good that you spotted that he got to the ibueprofen. He's lucky to have a Daddy that won't wait for the bad stuff to happen before taking care of him.

And I'm glad the other fellow is coming around to the uke. Just be sure you don't stop when he starts whining, he'll learn the wrong pressure-release lesson that way. Release the pressure when he's being a good boy... but then don't set him up to fail either by playing when he's agitated or clearly he's upset or anything like that. You want him to come around but it's not a battle. You're on his side about this. It sounds like you're doing great. :)

/Disclaimer. I think the advice is sound, but it's given by someone who isn't good at all with training dogs. They get away with too much with me. There's a cute factor that I fall for. I've had this attitude described above work with horses, but they aren't as cute as dogs. :)

Tor
01-09-2011, 11:18 PM
Talking about dogs and pills.. some friends of mine came home and found that their dog had eaten several month's supply of the Pill.. how that's going to affect a male dog I don't know, but at least he survived, after a visit to the vet.