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Bark Bark Bark.

Excessive barking is a common complaint not only of dog owners, but also of dog neighbors. Barking is completely natural for a dog, but if not trained and kept under control a dog it can aggravate everyone with in earshot. Don’t expect a dog to completely stop barking, as it is a part of who they are. However, if barking is consistent, compulsive, or excessive then this is a behavior that needs to be rectified. The first step is to recognize why your dog is barking. A common reason for barking is to get attention. If a dog is given a treat, food, a walk, or attention, when he barks he’s learning that barking is a great way to get what he wants. Don’t accidentally reward your dog for bad behavior otherwise that behavior will persist. Frequently, persistent barking is due to loneliness or boredom. A dog that is left alone for an extended period of time may start barking and just keep going. A variety of bad behaviors can develop from loneliness; a pet sitter or dog walker can usually help provide your dog some exercise and extra attention in this type of situation. Some dogs seem to bark at everything that moves, the mailman, the neighbors, the neighbor’s cat, a squirrel, or any noise that may they find questionable. This, as well as persistent barking, are situations where one needs to train the dog to stop.

 

Teaching ‘stop’ starts with interrupting the barking streak. There are a variety of methods for this depending on how strong willed the dog. For most puppies during their initial training your voice often will be enough. The next step up is spray from a water bottle, or a noisemaker such as a tin can with coins in it. If your dog has advanced to a top-level barker, a bark collar that either sprays citronella or gives off a static shock may be helpful. However, collars alone will usually not provide enough correction to eliminate barking, but can be useful training devices. Once the barking is interrupted immediately praise your dog for his silence, and continue to reward him at intervals for being calm and quiet. If barking starts again immediately interrupt. Yelling or scolding your dog for barking often is counter-productive as it may be adding to the fear or excitement that has started the barking in the first place. A reward for good behavior is a much stronger incentive. Being consistent is one of the keys in any training, but especially with barking. Don’t expect that your dog can quit barking altogether. Also, deal with issues that may be adding to a barking problem. Often barking problems can be resolved once a dog knows what you want and expect.

 

 


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