Positive Training For Your Barking Dog
By: Jenny Styles
They say 'a barking dog doesn't bite' but I am yet to meet anyone who hasn't been convinced otherwise every time some fine specimen of the canine family has bared its fangs and snarled and yelped. Dogs and barking dogs, if you ask my opinion, are two different species all together and while the first can be petted and cuddled and given biscuits to the latter can only be run away from.
Most barking dogs are quiet the activity master, every time they open their mouth they make something happen, either your mailman leaves, or your neighbor shuts his window and oh yes, yells out something nasty or your head splits into a thousand aching pieces, like I said they are quite the activist. Unfortunately for them though activism isn't as a rule appreciated by the average idle individual, to survive amongst humans you are expected to be as on leash as themselves. Thus all barking dogs need to be quieted and difficult though that task is it needs to be done.
Now, for starters, recognize the fact that barking in itself is not a problem. Dogs bark, just like cats mew and people make promises....it's just something they do when they want something done. For instance they bark to tell you that they are hungry at dinnertime or to let you know that there is someone at the door etc. and on all these occasions barking is fine and in fact appreciated. It begins to become a problem however when your dog refuses to stop barking despite your telling him to. Thus the job in hand is not to shut your dog up completely but to teach him to shut up when you ask him to.
So begin your training with a simple command like 'speak' or 'bark' and pat him and give him a cookie when he woofs a bit. Now tell him 'enough' or 'that's it' as soon as his woofing increases and immediately plop a cookie into his mouth, he won't have a choice but to stop, food has often made the best of men seal their lips so what's a dog! Now that that routine is final repeat it a couple of times. Next time he barks to let you know the mailman's at your door praise him heartily and then sternly ask him to shut up with a 'enough' or 'that's it' (remember to use the same command to avoid confusing him) and give him a cookie.
Once this regime settles in your dog will soon pick up what "enough" or "that's it" means. In case he doesn't and continues to bark despite your command give a sharp tug on his collar and say "Enough" in a rebuking, no-nonsense voice. He will soon learn that that's his cue to stop. Now this training will take a good number of weeks to really start working. However make sure you don't give up mid way. A few dogs are by nature a little fond of barking and making noise so these will take more doing than the others.
While training consider if his misbehavior has anything to do with his feeling depressed or left out. Dogs are very sensitive psychologically and little things which you might not even notice might affect them. See if you are leaving your dog alone too long, or if he is going hungry, if you keep him outside in his kennel at night bring him to sleep indoors for a few days and see if there is any change in his attitude.
Barking dogs are in many ways like cranky crying babies (except the fangs and teeth part though) and they need proper attitude training to bring them back to acceptable track, but they also need good time and attention and loving, so make sure your training is a right mix of all of these.
Read about how to find a dog obedience school and learn about how to stop dog chewing problems permanently at The Dog Trainer.
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