Train Your Dog to Stop Barking
Dogs usually bark because they are bored. Dogs want a lot of attention and they don’t know how to behave when alone. Unfortunately, we have usually set this situation up ourselves. You want your dog to be happy, so you spoil him: you give your dogs treats and pat him whenever you wish. It is entirely normal for you to act this way and entirely normal for your dog to complain when he feels neglected.
You must teach your dog that barking for your attention doesn’t work. If he is unhappy outdoors and he barks and you eventually bring him inside the house, he will learn that barking gets results. If you yell at him when he barks, your dog also sees that as reward. your dog thinks, “I’m bored so maybe I can get my owner to yell at me again.” When you yell at your dog it just doesn’t work. If you use negative reinforcement, it can still be useful. Here is a little story that will help explain what I mean:
Many years ago, I owned a young dog. There were times when this dog barked at night for no apparent reason. My dog was warm and well-fed, and he had plenty of water. His kennel was clean and dry. All he lacked was entertainment, while I sat inside and watched TV to keep me entertained. When I yelled at him to be “quiet”, it made no difference and he kept barking.
Let me tell you what did work:
I put a small amount of water in a plastic cup and quietly stood in front of my dog, without saying a word. When my dog started barking again, I would quickly splash some water in his face. I would then turn around turn around and go back inside and watch TV – all without saying a word. I did this about two or three times during the first night, once or twice during the second night and maybe only once the night after that. After doing this I ended up with peace and quiet.
It is important that you say the word “Quiet” and repeat saying it calmly and clearly once or twice in a normal voice. This will teach your dog to associate the word “Quiet” with water in his face and not with the barking behaviour. What you must do later, in situations where he would normally bark but he stays quiet instead, is you calmly praise him.
Barking and Growling
If you have a dog that barks and growls and shows his teeth in a threatening way, it means he is getting ready to bite you. Please do not squirt water in his face or up his nose and do not threaten him. You should consult with your veterinarian or dog psychologist.
Barking When You Are Not Home
- You need to make sure that you have done the all basic things:
- Make sure that your dog has food and water,
- Make sure he has a comfortable place to relax where he can’t see people or other pets,
- If necessary, bring him indoors.
The chance are high that if your dog is problem barker, he has never learned to be alone. He has become accustomed to your lavish attention without him having to earn it. He thinks he is the center of the world and when he finds himself abandoned he becomes distraught and then he starts barking. This is a natural behaviour for all dogs.
You Should Be a Good Role Model
Your dog only hears, “blah, blah, blah”, when you talk to him. The important thing when communicating with your dog, is the way you say the words and the body language you display when saying the words. If you make a big deal of things by repeatedly reassuring your dog that everything is ok and you’ll be back soon, then you really are making things worse. If you then excitedly greet your dog when you arrive home, it reinforces the idea in your dogs mind, that when he stays alone all day, it really is a big deal.
Only Praise and Pat Your Dog When He Deserves It
This is an important thing that is not easy to do. it is important that you do it and that the whole family follows this rule. In order to train a more obedient dog, you should only touch your dog when he has responded correctly to a command. Teach your dog to sit and when he sits praise him with a simple “good dog” and a pat on the head. You can gradually work up to longer sit times and eventually your dog can be relied upon to sit and stay in all situations. The bonus is that your guests will appreciate this obedient behaviour. You often see dogs jump up to greet their owners. A lot of dog owners believe that since they enjoy this type of greeting then other people enjoy this greeting also. Unfortunately, this is just not true.
How To Practice “Being Out of Touch”
Now that you are not patting, stroking and fondling your dog all the time, he will be learning now that it’s ok to be “out of touch” for a short while. You should get him some good toys he can chew, such as Nylabones and Kongs. You should let your dog become distracted with a chew toy and then calmly and quietly leave the room, closing the door behind you. After a few minutes, preferably before your dog has become distraught about your absence, you can come back into the room and resume what you were doing. You should move calmly and not say anything. If your dog races over to greet you, you should ignore him completely not say a word. Don’t even look at him. You need to teach your dog that your separation was completely unimportant and natural to you. This will then train your dog to think the same way.
Stop Saying Goodbye To Your Dog
When you are about to leave your dog alone for the day, you should start your morning schedule about ten minutes earlier than normal. Make sure your dog as been fed and try to get him settled in with a chew toy. You should get completely ready to walk out the door and then just sit down with the newspaper or a magazine. Make sure you just ignore your dog completely. After you have had several minutes of calm separation you should quietly walk out the door and go to work. Make sure you do not say good bye, to your dog and do not even look at him. Even though you are leaving for the day, you do not want to make this is into a big deal. When you return home later in the day, you must be equally calm and not make a big deal. Just ignore your dog and do not pat him. Do not get excited about greeting him. Go inside and change your clothes or whatever you do when you get home. Once your dog has settled down then you can acknowledge him by telling him to sit. Only after he sits does he get a pat on the head and a simple “good dog”. It is no big deal, you were only away for the day.
Dogs Need Toys While To Play With
If you leave your dog alone during the day, then he is in an unnatural situation. He is all alone with nothing to do. If you want to avoid having a dog that barks and tears up your house, then you need to keep your dog busy.
There are many great toys on the market such as Kong chew toys with hollow and openings at both ends. You can put food or dog treats inside these toys. You can try putting a dog biscuit in there at first, then later you could try packing it with canned food and freeze it, so it takes your dog a long time to get the food out. This is a great way to keep your dog busy while you’re gone and at the same time your dog must work to earn some food. You can buy several Kongs and hide them in different places. In order for this exercise to work, your dog must be feeling hungry.
If your dog is overweight and getting too much food, you can find adjustable feeding balls that also work with dry food. In order for your dog to get to the food, he just roll sthe ball around so that the food falls out through the holes in the toy. You can make sure that getting a full meal takes a long time. Another method you could try, is try leaving the TV on for entertainment while you are away.
Stop Your Dog Barking by Distraction
You need to make something mysterious or unsettling happen or something so puzzling that your dog forgets to bark for a while. If you make a short sharp unidentifiable sound, it should distract your dog. You will have to use your own ingenuity, but here is a suggestion:
Head off to work as you usually do in the morning and calmly ignore your dog. get in your car and drive away then quietly return, approaching from downwind. If your dog barks you should make some sharp noise. You may have to repeat this over several days.
If you are at this point and still having difficulty, a citronella anti-barking collar is probably your best solution.
Geoff Wainwright invites you to quickly learn how to solve your dog barking problems at: http://citronellabarkcollar.com.au/ To instantly get free access to “101 Ways To Improve Your Dogs Behaviour”, valued at $19.95, go to: http://citronellabarkcollar.com.au/ezine
(c) Copyright – Geoff Wainwright. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.