QUIET THAT POOCH!!!

There is nothing worse than trying to get some sleep and hearing a neighbor’s dog barking.  And now that the weather is going to start cooling off at night, people are going to be keeping windows open instead of leaving the air conditioning on.

So what do you do?  I can tell you from experience there is nothing more irritating than a barking dog – especially when it’s MINE!

So I did some research on the whys and how to stop this annoying habit.   First, we need to go into WHY pooch barks.  Well, it can be boredom, people walking by, a squirrel in the yard, strange noises, loneliness, alarm sounding, senility or just for attention.  What ever the reason is, there are ways to stop it.

 

First, try and find out WHY your dog barks – what triggers the response.  If your dog is, say, barking at something out the window, going up to it and saying “it’s ok” will mean very different things to you and your dog.  To you, it means “it’s ok – you don’t have to be upset and bark”… To your dog it means “it’s ok to bark your head off, I’ll come running and give you attention”… Comforting or giving attention to your dog while it’s barking is only going to be interpreted as a positive thing by your dog.  “If I bark, my person comes running and I get attention!”

 

Ok – so you know what triggers the barking – now let’s try and stop it.  One of my dogs barks every time she hears someone walk by.  I have learned that yelling at her does nothing.  Taking her by the collar and moving her away does nothing. BUT calling her over and distracting her – actually disrupting the stimulus, DOES work!  She forgets why she was upset in the first place and it seems to break the issue.

 

Exposing your dog to a variety of experiences can break the dog’s anxiety over a situation.  If your dog, for instance, barks at people in a crowd, exposing the dog to people in crowds can actually help!  I knew someone who had a dog who was fearful of people and would bark at them when she walked the dog.  She actually carried a pouch of dog treats (the REALLY good ones) and when she came upon someone, would ask them to give her dog a treat.  She would have the dog sit by her side and only when the dog was quiet would she allow the treat to be given.  The message? People carry treats but only when I don’t bark at them!

 

If your dog goes nuts when someone comes over, start having a friend over to help work on changing this behavior.  It’s going to have to be repeated over time, so make sure your friend is on board!  Have your friend come over and ring the bell or knock.  Only when your dog can stop barking and sit can they come in and give the pooch a treat.  This takes a bit to do but it can be done!

 

The thing to remember here is that your dog is SUPPOSED to bark – He’s SUPPOSED to alert you to potentially dangerous situations, including strangers coming into your home, fire, etc., so to try and completely stop your dog from barking will be more stressful than it will be a good idea.  Allowing your dog to alert you for a few seconds is a good thing – really!

 

There are numerous products out there (like bark collars, citronella collars, etc) that claim to help stop a dog from excessive barking but I have to say, there is NOTHING like good old fashioned training.  Behaviorists are wonderful at helping solve issues such as barking.  Ask your veterinarian for the name of a behaviorist.  You will be amazed at the results!!!

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One Response

  1. I have 3 dogs that bark at everything. A car coming in the driveway, someone at the door, even if my son or daughter walks down the hallway. All heck breaks loose. Our first was a LLasa, who always barked ( I was told they were bred to warn of intruders), then we got a Maltese and a Silky. They just followed in the foot steps of the Llasa. We really have no idea how to stop it. One thing for sure…no one will get into my house without us knowing it.

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