Help With a Barking Dog
things in life can send dog owners and neighbors
over the edge quicker than a dog who simply
won’t stop barking. But barking is an instinct
for dogs, not a means to annoy their owners.
It’s a trait that was bred into many lines for
a specific purpose. Those instincts still
prevail, but the conditions of modern life have
changed. Dogs now more often warn their masters
that the phone is ringing rather than alerting
them to an intruder.
Nature or Nurture?
Schultz, director of companion-animal services
for the American Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), says that
understanding why a dog barks makes it easier
for owners to control barking. The instinct to
impossible to break, but the behavior can be
modified. Some breeds come by barking
naturally—hunting dogs and guard dogs, for
example—but other breeds may acquire the habit
of excessive barking. Sporting and working dogs
were bred to work all day long. Chasing around a
few toys while waiting for the family to come
home just doesn’t fulfill their need for
exercise. That’s when boredom—and
barking—set in. Many of these breeds need two
or more 20-minute periods of rigorous exercise
per day, preferably before everyone leaves for
work or school
isn’t possible, exercise these dogs as much as
possible early on, then break up their day with
a lunchtime visit and a short walk. Leaving them
outside during the day won’t cut it—they
need interaction and routine. After all, they
were bred to work with man, not alone. Many
people who want dogs for protection get
frustrated when their dogs bark at the doorbell.
Protective and territorial dogs (guard dogs) are
going to announce the arrival of strangers.
These breeds were developed to highlight this
trait. The barking should be controllable,
though, and your dog should be able to be
Some individual dogs are just naturally fearful.
Others have a history of abuse or neglect.
Gradually introducing them to what they see as a
dangerous situation and proving that it’s safe
will reduce their fear and, along with it,
dog who was afraid of leaves blowing outside the
dining-room window learned to be brave when a
leaf was brought in and the owner gently coaxed
the dog toward it. After learning to play with
this one leaf, the dog was led outside and
gradually introduced to more and more leaves.
After several days, he learned that the leaves
weren’t dangerous. His fear abated, and the
barking stopped. Finally, dogs often develop
their own quirky barking habits. The owner’s
task is to figure them out, then come up with a
solution to the problem. One pup earned the
nickname "Herald" because he barked
when his master came down the stairs or entered
a room, much like the court heralds of old. The
solution? The owner now walks down the steps or
enters a doorway and calls out the dog’s name
before stepping into the room, beating the dog
to the punch. By tracking and identifying the
pattern of barking, the owner was able to break
that pattern.10 Tips to Control Barking Give the
command "bark" when your dog barks,
then follow with praise. Once he understands
this connection and barks on command, add a
"no" command. When he stops, praise
him. Repeat this exercise until he understands
your dog’s attention by placing 12 pennies
in an empty can and taping it shut. Toss the
can near (not at) the dog to startle him, or
just shake it and put it on the floor to
distract him. Give your dog the
"down/stay" command. Few dogs like
the feel of their chest reverberating against
the floor when they bark. Reduce the dog’s
area of influence. With less space to guard,
he may be quieter. Make sure territorial and
social barkers have a limited view. Treat
windows with heavy drapes or a blanket to
muffle both sight and sound. If your dog
runs the fence line barking at other dogs or
people, install a privacy fence that he
can’t see through. Provide "white
noise." Many families have either a
television or a radio playing whenever
they’re home, but turn it off when they
leave. The silence can be deafening to a dog.
For a dog who barks when you leave home, give
him an "only-when-I’m-gone" toy
with your scent on it. He’ll soon learn that
you will return when you give him this toy.
Establish a "five free barks" policy
that lets your dog bark only five times before
you give a no-bark command. This will satisfy
his urge to bark but curtail nonstop woofing.
Copyright © 1998 The I'ams Company. All
rights reserved worldwide.
else fails, please contact me as I know of
several Vets that do debarkings.
is not cruel!!
It is as simple as a tonsilectomy. Your dog can still bark but
it is a softer bark.
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