Tuesday, 03 January 2012 00:00
Barking is natural; however, when it becomes disruptive and excessive, it can become a problem for you and those around you. There are many reasons that dogs bark: they feel isolated and want attention, they feel threatened, lack of physical or mental stimulus, and many more. The following tips can help prevent your dog from becoming a problem barker.
Most importantly, you must be clear in communicating to your dog that barking is an unacceptable behavior. If you yell back to your dog or give in to his demand (for example, letting him back inside or out of his crate) you may actually be reinforcing the barking. Keep in mind that there could be several different triggers prompting your dog to bark, hence there may not be a ‘one size fits all solution.’
If you have problems with your dog barking when you are not at home, this could be due to separation anxiety. Try to keep your dog happy by making the most of your time home, keep him physically challenged with exercise, and make for the most comfortable environment for when you are not there with a place to sleep, fresh water and toys.
When you do return home, do not immediately acknowledge your dog until he has settled down. You can also prevent your dog from barking at other animals or people by blocking off windows where he can see outside distractions.
If your dog is barking for attention, you can help correct this with a couple different tricks. Try ignoring your dog. This may take awhile until he realizes the barking is not getting him rewarded. Tell your dog “No!” or “Quiet” after he barks, and reward him with a treat only after he is quiet for awhile.
As with all dog training, consistency is key. You may need to try several tricks to stop your dog from barking, and it will not happen overnight. If you need further help discouraging your dog from barking, consult with a dog trainer for a more tailored approach.