Our Problem with Playful Barking

Jase and I have been so proud of Coopers progress and we were thinking that everything was going smoothly, until about a week and a half ago when we got a knock on our door at about eight o’clock in the evening…
It was our next-door neighbour who had come over to tell us that Cooper had been barking every morning at 6am and waking up their baby. Jase and I apologized and promised that we would do our best to try and make sure this stopped.
Cooper sleeps in the laundry but has a doggy door to get out and had been toilet trained by using the doggy door. He’d obviously been getting up early and going outside to play on his own. Sometimes we’ve noticed that when Coop gets overexcited playing in his sandpit he playfully barks, and this was clearly waking up our neighbour’s son. The sandpit in our garden is used to try and redirect his digging from the garden to the sandpit by burring treats in there for him (it actually works pretty well – you should try it if you have a digging dog!) so we definitely didn’t want to get rid of it but we needed to stop the barking.
Anyways, barking has always been an issue that I have struggled to deal with, as it is hard to teach them to stop unless you can actually catch them in the act. I have a spray bottle with water that we now spray him with when we hear him barking and he doesn’t like that at all but as I said – it’s not often that we actually hear him. You can also use a plastic bottle with stones or coins in it and shake it and say ‘ah ah’ when you catch them – they hate the sound of that!
I posted my big problem on a couple of dog groups on facebook and had lots of responses. Majority of people told us to try locking the doggy door so he couldn’t get out during the night. I was scared that this was going to be a step backwards in the toilet training department but I was very wrong!
The first night we took him out to the toilet just before bed, we then put him in his bed and locked the doggy door. I was so petrified he would cry, bark or crap everywhere that night – but he did none of the above! We went down at 6am in the morning and opened the door to find a dry and clean laundry. We let Cooper out to the toilet and he didn’t the biggest wee we had ever seen.

A week and a half later and we have been doing this every night and Cooper is loving it!! Dog’s actually really like the security of a small, secure place when they sleep and they love routine. I am still not ready to have a big sleep in as he is still a puppy so we need to be careful of his bladder.

Jase and I are very proud parents and love our new routine with Cooper.
So thank you to everyone who gave us the great advice.
Cooper and his cousin diesel relaxing after a big play session 



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  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Golden Retrievers are highly trainable, so Cooper should only get better are he grows up. My experience, with my own Golden was Dixie was highly exciteable and quite a handful as a puppy, but settled down to be a near perfect adult. I wouldnt take any amount of money for her. Cooper looks like he will be a very big boy, though!


  2. Mel Thurin
    Mel Thurin says:

    Fingers crossed Nancy! Although – in saying that, we have been very lucky with Cooper – he has his moments – like the playful barking and the mouthing but he is a pretty well behaved pup! Looking forward to him calming down a little bit too. And yes – he has massive paws! Can't wait to see how big he will get – we love big dogs!

  3. Mel Thurin
    Mel Thurin says:

    He stays in the laundry but we have a doggy door so he pretty much plays in the garden all day long – he loves it!! And once he is out of puppyhood, we will take him to our parents place a couple of days a week to mix it up and so he can play with other dogs.