Dog barking is normal when someone passes in front of the house, when the dog is playing or when it feels threatened, but when a dog barks excessively, it can disturb our peace and our neighbor’s. Genetically, some dogs are prone to bark more than others, but, unknowingly, we constantly use positive reinforcement to train our dogs to bark.
Why dogs bark excessively:
- Boredom. When a dog lacks exercise or attention, it channels its energies in the most natural ways they know. That is either by biting, trying to escape or barking.
- Lack of routine. As routine animals, dogs expect their food and their walks at certain times every day. If your dog recently started barking excessively, it is very likely that there has been a changes in his life. Maybe you started a new job, change in furniture, moved house, divorce, a new member in the family, etc.
- Instinct. There are breeds of dogs that bark more than others. For example, some herding dogs such as the Shetland Sheepdogs and some small dogs like the Maltese tend to be more vocal than others.
- Habit. Many times we use positive reinforcement to train our dogs to bark excessively, without realizing it. For example, when he is a puppy, every time we enter through the door we receive him with great emotion, a sharp tone of voice and some of us even dance to our dogs. In return, the dog barks and jumps us, complementing our great party very well. This is nice when it comes to a puppy, but when it turns to an adult dog and we lose control over the situation, it stops being funny.
Possible Solutions to Dog Barking:
- Exercise. It is advisable to take him out for daily walks several times a day and practice basic obedience exercises during the walk. You should also take time to play with him every day.
- Routine. Evaluate your personal situation and your pet’s needs, and establish a routine that you can stick to.
- Daycare. Daycare is a good option for some dogs with owners that work long hours.
- Training. Every time your dog barks excessively, distracts him by sending him to sit or lie down. Then congratulate him when he has stopped barking.
- Ignore It. When you enter the door, you will not pay attention to your pet. Even if it is difficult for you because of the desire to hug him, ignore him completely. When he calms down, you will calmly sob him with a soft voice that does not disturb him much.
- Teach him Bark and Quiet. First, start telling him bark when he is barking and praise him. Once he has bark on command, start telling him quiet and praise him when he stops barking. Make sure not to praise him when he barks unless you asked him to. This command may take a few weeks
Remember, if your dog barks do not yell at him this will only aggravate the situation.
Author: Mariel Calderon
For Dog Training classes or more information, visit: www.luckypetusa.com.