Training “Quiet” the Brilliant Aussie Way

At dinner, Kiera lies by my chair while we eat. She likes to monitor my eating, as she knows she gets my leftovers when I’m done. If I take too long, she starts “talking” to tell me to hurry up.

Andrew finally gets annoyed and wants me to discipline her to get her to stop being pushy. So I remember Suzanne Clothier’s time-out lesson where you remove the dog from where you are for a few moments to essentially help the dog “reorient” itself toward better self-control. I decide that the next time Kiera talks, I’ll put her in a time-out.

I don’t have to wait very long. She talks, I say, “Oops, so sorry…” and close her in the bathroom (right off our kitchen) for a minute, telling her she can come out once she’s quiet.

She gets quiet immediately, so I tell her “Good Girl” and let her out.

She lies down and behaves — for 30 seconds. Then she starts talking again.

So I say, “Oops” again and put her back in the bathroom for another timeout.

She’s still talking, so I tell her through the bathroom door that she has to be quiet to be let back out.

So she gets quiet.

I tell her, “Good Girl” again and leave her there for another minute to make my point.

And she stays quiet…

Apparently, she thinks she’s been quiet long enough. Next we hear a click — and, voila, there’s Kiera. She’s opened the door by herself and let herself out of the bathroom.

She comes over, lies down and doesn’t make another peep for the rest of dinner.

It’s been several months since we’ve heard a word from her at the dinner table.


24 thoughts on “Training “Quiet” the Brilliant Aussie Way”

  1. We have a Westie at present and she’s very vocal. The only thing we’ve found so far that works is to figure out what she really wants. If you see the whining as an honest attempt to communicate something important, instead of simply an irritating interruption, then the dog often has something important to communicate. For some reason, she never whines during meals and that makes it easier for us to pay attention to her at other times.

  2. That’s a very smart way to train your dog.
    She seems like a very clever dog.
    Did you teach her to open the doors, or did she just learn to do it herself?
    Just curious, how does she talk? Does she just bark, or making any other noises?

    1. Hey Jennie, yes, Kiera is a very clever girl. She taught herself to open doors. While that’s pretty cool, it’s also really inconvenient! Now we have to keep all our exterior doors locked so she can’t let herself out onto the street. As for talking — she has all kinds of vocalizations she does. She’s extremely expressive. : )

  3. One of our German Shepherds is a talker too. I find it hard to try and make her stop since I’m usually yapping at the same time myself!

  4. Maya’s just about ready for this kind of discipline. If I start putting the dogs in time-out too it will be a constant revolving door. I forget when I put kids in there as it is. Fifteen minutes will go by and somebody will finally say, “Can I get up?” I always feel like such a creep!

  5. Mountain Dweller, I don’t even know if Kiera could stay quiet for barbecue.

    girlanddog are you back?! Do we get to hear about the trip?

  6. Opening doors, what a riot! :) Thank goodness my two pups can’t reach doorknobs, or we’d be in trouble. Oh, and thanks for the nomination, BTW!!!

  7. Mountain Dweller

    This was funny! I’ll have to try a bit of timeout on ours next time we eat outside on the patio – they do more than talk when we have a barbecue!

  8. Yeah, Judy, that would be some trick for your guys, eh? LOL! (Judy has Chihuahuas.

    Jen, sounds like Piper will be catching up to Misha shortly. :)

    Shelly and Jenn, indeed I do have a brilliant, wicked smart girl! Sometimes I think she’s smarter than me.

  9. This Eclectic Life

    LOL! I bet there are some parents of kids out there who wish this training method would work on their urchins. You have a brilliant dog! Love this story.

  10. How great!!! Sounds like she learned her lesson tho! Our late Husky Misha was super smart also. It was plumb scary sometimes. Our current pup, Piper, the Hyperdog is smart, too, but she’s just too darn spastic to show it!! LOL!! Oh well, she’s only 7mos old!! Time will tell!

  11. I’d be pretty shocked if my little guys could reach the doorknobs. :)

    Actually, neither one makes a noise during dinner. They usually just lay around. Sometimes if we’re eating in the living room they will sit at our feet & just stare.

    Now, if I could figure out a way for them to ignore the cats . . . we are working on it, but it seems to be too much of a temptation for them to chase.

  12. Oh, well if you’re counting heavy sighs, Martina, I have the queen sigher… LOL

    Johann, Kiera is scary smart. She definitely keeps me on my toes!

  13. Having two standard poodles like I do, is always a mental challenge. They are so clever, so manipulative. They know not to beg when company is around and the girl dog will just sit on the kitchen rug, with her back to the dining table and heave heavy sighs to let people know she is waiting for dinner to be done. S. Clothier’s books are extremely good and have helped me immensely.

  14. Teetotaled, Kiera’s been opening doors since she’s been enough to reach the handles. This little self-taught trick of hers has made life very interesting!

  15. hehe She learned to open the bathroom door? Too cute. I would imagine it is difficult to be quiet when you know there are yummy leftovers coming your way.

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