"Has Loki barked more since Baby was born?" she asked us.
"Huh, I don't know. I never really thought about it in relation to Baby's arrival." I thought about it for a minute or two and then assented, "I guess so."
"Sometimes dogs bark more with the arrival of a new baby because there is now an additional person in the household. A new baby to protect."
Huh, weird. So Loki barks more to protect our baby and yet things like this happen? Huh, okay. That's kind of interesting.
To help with the barking, the behaviorist recommended that we let Loki bark for a couple seconds, then go to the window and check out whatever is going on, reply to him with "oh, it's only the neighbors," and then tell him to stop. The idea is that it's Loki's job to alert us, but then our job to actually take care of any potential harm. So we should acknowledge that he's done his part and then we do our part.
I imagine that if we ignored his barking and told him to immediately stop, then his anxiety would escalate and he would think, "But no! Really! Listen to me! You have to come look! There's a man with a machete and a ski mask running down the street towards us! We are all in mortal danger! You have to listen to me! You have to listen to me!!!" So, you actually have to check out what's going on in order to calm him down. Now, this rationale may or may not be true. I've just made it up. But it makes sense in my head that the more you ignore, the louder the alerting barks will be.
Have any of you had a similar experience? If you have had a new baby join your (dog) household, have you found that your dog barked more?