Mattingly is now 8 months and is a very loving and affectionate dog. He behaves very well with my grandchildren and he loves my son's two puppy Jack Russell Terriers. The issue now appears to be his desire for attention, some times, while I'm at the computer he barks for my attention, he continues despite my firm "NO" and only stops when I walk away from him and the computer, ignoring him. I can then go back to the computer and he generally quiets down for a few minutes.
He will also bark at me if I'm doing something around the house, again my tactic has been to walk away from him and completely ignore him. Most times this has the appropriate behavior response but sometimes he continues.
I beleive I am the "alpha male" in our relationship but it appears he is pushing the line when it comes to my attention. Any suggestions are welcome!
You don't have to worry about being "alpha". This is an outdated and incorrect theory of how dogs (or even wolves) operate.
Ellie is right, think of your little guy as a small child right now. He wants your attention, and is trying to figure out the best way to get it. What he is doing is called "demand barking". Most puppies try it to some extent, some are worse than others. Kodi was HORRIBLE about it when he was an adolescent.
You are doing the right thing by TOTALLY ignoring him when he does it. Even saying "no" to him is giving him your attention, which is exactly what he wants. It can be very frustrating, because it often happens that they bark MORE for a while before they finally give up, but eventually he will get the message that this is NOT how to get your attention. Sometimes just totally turning your back to them can be enough to remind them that this is not acceptable.
It is important to remember when working on curbing demand barking to make sure that you DO give him PLENTY of attention when he's quiet and behaving politely. It's sometimes such a relief when they finally leave you alone, that you kind of want to "let sleeping dogs lie".
But these quiet moments are exactly the times you want to reward, not with any wild play, but with a little cuddle and a cookie.
Finally, getting rid of excess energy before you need them to be quiet will make it easier on both of you. A nice brisk 45 minute walk in the morning will take the edge off. He'll be more apt to want to nap than play for a while!
Like Ellie, I work from home, and those adolescent months were very trying. I'd say from 8 to 18 months were the worst with the demand barking. (but Kodi was about as bad as they get in this department!
) There were days that I thought I'd never get any work done again!!
Kodi is now 2 3/4. and all that is a (bad) memory. He spends his day curled up on the couch in my office, except to follow me to the kitchen when I get a cup of tea, or to come over politely every now and then for a little cuddle. He is great company! In the afternoon we go out for a walk together, and he still has a wild RLH time in the early evening. But he doesn't pester anymore. I'm sure part of it is training, but part of it is just plain growing up, too!