Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why Does YOUR Dog Bark? Train Away Barking by Recognizing its Cause

All dogs can bark. Even the “barkless” dog, the Basenji, lets out a yodel-like howl that could put some barking dogs to shame. Regardless of when and where it happens, most pet owners are keen to put a stop to repetitive barking. In this case, training is more about controlling and stopping a behavior than it is teaching the dog to do something new.

Controlling your pet’s barking involves a lot more than just teaching your dog a “quiet” command. Our sister facility Morris K9 Campus, and professional dog trainer Christine Hibbard, delve into the different causes and types of barking on their blogs, “A Dog’s Life” and “Behind the Behavior.” The first step in training this behavior, they both agree, is to figure out what triggers the barking. Once you figure out what category your dog fits into, you can proceed to train them around that particular type of barking.

Alert Barking: Say your dog sees something out the window or hears a knock at the door and starts to bark. This is your dog’s way of alerting you to something out of the ordinary that they see or hear. This type of barking is often the least frowned-upon by pet owners; we all want our dogs to let us know when someone is approaching, right? Instead of scolding your dog, you can thank them for the initial bark but reward them for quietly coming to your side afterwards. Christine Hibbard elaborates on her blog with more on this type of alert barking training.

“Give Me That” Demand Barking: Whether they want you to play, feed them or take them for a walk, some dogs try to get your attention by barking. Responding to this at all, even with a punishment, actually enforces the idea that barking for attention works. Instead, you can ignore your dog’s barking or give them attention before or after barking starts and stops. Read more on “Give Me That” Barking on the Morris K9 Campus blog.

Separation Anxiety/Distress Barking: If your dog barks when left home alone, they could be experiencing a type of separation anxiety. The first thing to do is set up a camera or webcam to record and watch your dog’s exact behavior. Then you can try using a puzzle toy to feed them while you are away instead of feeding them in a dish when you get home. This may prove a distraction for your dog, as would many other toys, like a treat-stuffed Kong.

Fear Barking/Conflict Behavior Barking: Dogs will bark in an uncomfortable situation when they are confused or unsure. Whether the cause is a person, strange environment or other dog, move away from whatever it is that caused the reaction. This helps teach your dog that they don’t have to respond in an emotional or angry way in order to get their point across.

Frustration Barking: A squirrel, a neighbor’s dog or a car driving innocently down the street can all set a dog off. More than out of distress, this type of barking is how your dog expresses frustration at their inability to “get” the thing that they can see. This type of barking is best addressed once you know the exact cause. Training at a facility like Morris K9 Campus can pinpoint your dog’s frustration and help teach them to turn away from the stimuli if you give them a command.
We also have manners training here at Morris Animal Inn to help reinforce commands like sit, down and stay. A well trained dog will respond best to all of the barking training methods, and will lead to a peaceful, nearly “barkless” home!


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  2. Great post on the different kinds of barking! One of ours has a problem with overly zealous alert barking, in other words, she goes ballistic when she sees something outside the window (a person, another dog, a cat, a rabbit... whatever). She also has a problem with demand barking. It's sometimes difficult to play with her and our other dog at the same time, because even though she'll have her own toy, she'll bark wildly at us to give her his toy too. We wanted to teach him fetch, but it's impossible, because she barks the whole time and it distracts him.
    They both have a number of issues for which we could use help with training, but those are the main two related with barking.

    1. Sounds like your doggie has some high energy! Thank you for sharing your story, Pam.

  3. If your dog barks at people or animals passing by the living room window, manage his behavior by closing the curtains or putting your dog in another room.

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  5. The point when instructing a dog another summon, it is vital to be patient. Yelling or disciplining the dog by hitting them will just serve to befuddle and alarm the creature. Assuming that a possessor can feel their quietness slipping, the time it now, opportunity to end the dog training session.

  6. The first step in obtaining peace and quiet is to realize that lots of barking is caused by the dog being lonely, bored, frustrated or frightened. These are all situations that you can help to alleviate. A well-exercised, happy dog is more likely to sleep all day while you are not home. Spend time playing with, training and exercising your dog..

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