If you have a dog that barks all the time, it can cause huge problems. Sometimes severe measures need to happen. For example, debarking the dog (removing his vocal cords in a surgical procedure) is one way to stop the sound from happening. He still barks but you don’t hear the sound. Most people hate this idea but it happens more often than vets would ever admit.
Today’s average dog leads a fairly non–stimulating lifestyle at home; sleeping, eating twice each day, lounging on the couch and going for the odd walk now and then. Dogs that have been bred to work will get bored with such a life and find that barking can ease the boredom.
There are numerous reasons for a dog to bark including: sounding an alarm, being excited, being anxious or hearing or seeing a person or animal in close vicinity. The ideal way to stop the barking is to give the dog more exercise and also extra mental stimulus. This will refocus and tire him out, inevitably reducing the amount of barking that has been happening.
Types of Barking
Before fixing a problem with barking, you need to be certain it is a problem. Sometimes it may be because the owner has a short fuse and what may seem like too much barking is really a normal amount. For example, if the doorbell rings or there’s someone knocking at the door, it’s natural for the dog to bark. However, if the dog is left to keep barking, it can get out of hand. The next stage is to work out the reason for the barking and what type of barking it is. There are a few different sorts of barking problems.
Barking for Attention
If your dog barks because he wants attention or wants something specific, ignore him until he stops. This might be difficult but if you’re patient, it should work. He may keep barking to be persistent but remain patient.
If he goes quiet, wait for five seconds and then give him a treat as a reward. Repeat these steps as many times as necessary. Your dog should learn that barking does nothing but being quiet is good and gets more attention.
The Excitable Bark
People vocalise when they’re excited and so do dogs. It’s normal to bark before being taken for a walk or while waiting for food to be dished up. Barking in these scenarios can be hard to break because there are special patterns of behaviour for both tasks. Your dog will bark because he’s excited because he knows what’s about to happen.
To change your dog’s behaviour, alter the visual cues. If you get his leash and he barks, put it back and go and sit down again. If he stops barking, try again. Don’t put the leash on while he is barking. If you get the leash on and open the door but he barks again, close the door and sit down until he stops. Once there’s quiet, then try again.
This technique demands a lot of patience but it will be rewarded eventually with the right behaviour, silence. So your will learn that he needs to be silent or he won’t get food or walks. These techniques need no spoken words, just the right actions. Body language will train your dog the right way, if you’re persistent. Dogs are very smart and will soon learn what you want to teach them.
Many dogs hate being alone and suffer from anxiety when you leave the house. It’s common for your dog to bark if anxious so you need to use the right behaviour modification methods.
Barking is your dog’s way of releasing some of the anxiety and trying to make contact again. Patience and time is necessary to train your dog out of this behaviour. If he does demonstrate this problem, you should get help from an expert positive reinforcement dog trainer to help you control your dog’s anxiety.
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