To Bark or Not to Bark

The Resource for Everything About Dogs


To Bark or Not to Bark

by Monica Swire



It is natural for your dog to bark. Barking is something that all dogs do and love. Your dog uses his or her vocal chords and gratifying when he gets attention or control a situation. Dogs bark to alert you and tell you of what is going on in their world. Completely stopping a dog from barking is counterproductive to this. Barking dogs alert you to things that need attention, warn intruders to stay away, and simply communicate to others. There are some dogs that bark more than others, and some that can not stop barking! Excessive dog barking and disruptive barking occurs when a dog barks at every sound. If you live in close quarters, such as an apartment or town home, this can be very disturbing to your neighbors.

How Do I Control Excessive Barking?

First determine what is causing the excessive barking. Some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and thus bark for attention. Are you playing enough with your dog when you are together? Do you have soothing music playing? Is your pet getting enough exercise? A minimum of 1 hour per day of individual attention should be given to your dog. Is the space where your leave your pet dog friendly? Is there a comfy bed, safe toys, proper ventilation and light?

Teach your pet new habits!

Work with your pet and teach your dog to bark: ON COMMAND. As silly as it sounds you can accomplish this be: barking at the dog and saying? speak.? When your dog barks at the knock on the door, then try knocking on the wall while saying ?speak?. When your dog ?speaks? (barks), then praise the dog .Be consistent and train your dog for several days until the dog understands and delivers the behavior you are looking for. Then comes the more difficult part, reversing the behavior and teaching your pet the phrase ?No Bark/speak? when he does speak. As soon as your dog stops barking, praise him/her. Practice this as above to get consistent results.

What do you do when I am gone?

Ever wonder what your dogs do when you are gone? If they are excessive barkers then this technique will help stop that behavior when you are out of the house. The Hide & Peek method involves stepping outside the house. Your dog believes you have left. Come back to the house but ?Hide? yourself from your dog?s view. ?Peak? into the house and watch your dog?s behavior from a point where you can remain hidden. Listen and once the dog starts barking, open the door and assert in a loud voice while still at the door ?No Bark/speak?! If this has no effect, then enter the room and grasp the dog by the scruff of the neck (gently) and shake him gently, just enough to startle him and repeat the command ?No Bark/Speak?. Again go out and leave the house. ?Peek? and again watch your dog. Do this several times until the dog settles down, and then leave for good. Like a child, be careful not to re-enforce the idea that the ?Barking/Speaking? will always be rewarded with your returning.

The Shake & Rattle Can

An old can filled with rocks, pennies or other small objects, is an other tool in the dog training arsenal. Often used also to stop an animal from unwanted behaviors, this device will often work with problem barkers also. When the barking occurs, shake the can and allow the objects inside the can to roll and make a noise. This noise startles the dog and disrupts the current behavior of the dog. This can be used for other trainings such as house training, biting, etc. This is good when you are present for the behavior your wish to correct. Once your dog stops and looks at you to find out where the noise came from, then say:? No Bark/Speak?. Be consistent and work with your pet changing their behaviors.

What if I don?t want the Dog to Bark?

If you don?t want to have the dog bark you might try substituting one form of behavior for another. When the dog barks say: ?Lie Down.? This is harder to do and requires more patience and practice for both you and your dog .If every noise sets your dog to barking, repeat firmly: ?Lie Down?, when the dog starts to bark. When your dog does lies down give a big reward and a lot of praise. Repeat this process every time he barks at a noise, stranger, or other sounds.

Put Your Pal in a Crate

If you have used a crate to first train your pet then it will be easier to put your dog in a crate for this behavior modification. Create a safe and comfortable environment in your dog?s crate. Provide a cushion, a water bottle and safe toys. Then cover the crate by placing a blanket or sheet over the top half of the crate. This will prevent your dog from seeing things outside his immediate area and crate a safe den.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

If all else fails then remove the issues that stimulate the barking behaviors! Make sure your dog can not see out of windows or doors. What the dog does not see, will help restrict barking. If is there are other animals that disturb the dog then separate them or remove them from the dog?s vision. You might need to move the dog so that he has nothing to bark at. Put him in a quiet space far from temptation and noises. Change the usual location where the dog is in your home while you are gone.

Anti-Bark Collars

If none of these idea help control the nuisance barking of your pet, then you might consider an electronic or citronella anti-bark collar. These humane collars emit sounds, sprays or light electrical stimulus when the unwanted barking behavior starts. These startle your dog and bring attention this behavior. The dog learns not to bark. If this still does not work, then one- one sessions with a professional trainer might be what is called. The very last resort is surgery. This can be an expensive solution but is an alternative to giving up your pet. Talk to your vet about this option after you have tried everything here.



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