Dogs that bark in your home are, without a doubt, the most annoying barkers of all, especially those dogs that have those high-shrill barks. It just echoes off your walls
More likely than not, these what I call, “barking bullies,” have claimed a sense of entitlement about who’s in charge of your home. So this is your cue to train your dog to behave and stop that annoying barking for good. You would agree—right?
But first, you need to understand why your dog is barking to begin with
If your dog has taken over your household, chances are he doesn’t have good manners, has little regard for rules, and is not familiar with any type of structure in your home. If he had these things, then he would easily understands that all this annoying barking is well, just not okay.
Here’s a little quiz if you have a dog that barks.
Let’s see if you can pick out a “main reason or reasons” why your dog is barking. Here’s a list of common reasons in the home – see which one fits your dog’s profile.
- Watchdog or alert barking. Is your dog barking to alert you of “someone” or “something” else outside the house? If so, the he is letting that “someone” or “something” know their presence is known as well.
- Request barking. Your dog might bark just to see what it gets him. Who knows? His barking could score handouts or food from your table. If it’s worked before, it will work again.
- Or maybe barking gets a door opened to go outside to play or potty, game of fetch with their favorite toy or a great belly rub! I’ll bet you don’t see the problem with this. Well, it becomes a problem when you reinforce the barking by giving your dog what he wants and when he wants it and, barking is born! I will again give you my tried and true formula: Your dog should earn everything by doing a sit or down. If you want to give your dog scraps from the table, put them in your dog’s bowl.
- Spooky barking. Or maybe your dog is fearful or very uncomfortable with something near him and will bark to make it go away. Spooky or fearful dogs can also bite to make those scary things go away if barking does not seem to be working. If those scary things are your friends, it is best to tell all visitors not to pet your dog until this problem is resolved or fixed. Then let your dog approach them as you praise and treat your dog.
- Boredom barking. Is your dog compulsively barking due to boredom – not enough social and mental stimulation? In other words, they don’t have enough to do. Make your own check list for your dog. Is he getting walked frequently enough? Are the walks long enough? Does he have enough doggie puzzles to keep him busy?
- Barking to seek relief from social isolation. Your dog may be barking to seek relief from social isolation as a result of some disturbing condition. Your dog may be barking when you leave to go to work leaving him by himself. This kind of social isolation is usually created by tension and anxiety. Barking is just your dog’s way of relieving the tension and stress. You don’t want to create separation anxiety in your dog. So work on some confidence building exercises like down stays in the living room away from you.
- Barking in the crate. This is a biggie isn’t it! You can’t seem to get your dog to stop barking in his crate and you are at your breaking point on the “frustration scale”.
Think about it. You’ve probably done one of three things to create your own barking in the crate issues.
The three biggest causes of crate barking are:
1.) Not desensitizing your dog to the crate properly;
2.) Trying to correct your dog in some way (yelling, banging on the crate, squirting with water, etc.) and;
3.) Letting your dog out after having lost patience with your failed efforts.Am I right?
So tell me, have you found a reason that fits your dog’s profile? If you haven’t, go through the list again. Once you identify the source of your dog’s tension, your next job is to relieve the tension that is causing the frustration that in turn is causing the barking.
Stop The Barking
Here’s the plain and simple of it. Your have a dog that barks—- for a reason. He’s trying to tell you that something in his world is not right. Your JOB is to go back over what I’ve listed and see what is at the core of your dog’s barking. He’s not barking because he’s a bad dog. He’s barking because of what you have or have not provided him to help him be balanced in our human world. He’s depending on you to give him that balance.
If for example, your dog is barking in the back yard (isolation barking) look to the reason he was placed in the back yard to begin with. Many dogs are put in the back yard for a number of reasons like soiling in the house. If you fix the house soiling the dog gets to come back inside and the isolation barking stops. Success!
Obedience training stops barking. If every time your dog starts to bark for attention, you then pleasantly call your dog over and request a sit, then a down, then a sit again. If “doggie push-ups” are done consistently, your dog will eventually stop his barking for attention because he’s not getting the kind of attention he wants.
Limited barking is okay. If your dog is barking out the window, simply call your dog to you after 1-2 barks and have him perform “doggie push-ups” then release him to go play. Should he bark again, simply call him back and repeat the doggie push-ups until he settles down. Use a leash on your dog to get better control in the house.
Don’t be surprised if it takes numerous repetitions over a few days to accomplish your goals. And, if your dog won’t come because he is too distracted, put him on a long line to reinforce coming to you.
Providing rules, boundaries and expectations of what to do and when to do it will go a long way to curtailing your dog’s barking – if you set the rules and reinforce them daily. Isn’t it about time you stopped your dog’s nuisance barking?
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“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that when your dog understands what you expect of him, you empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.