My Secret to Fixing Mealtime Barking
I know you get annoyed at your dog for barking during dinner. Dinner is that time of day when you’re trying to unwind and spend some stress free time with your family.
But the barking ruins a perfectly good meal.
It’s always a good idea when you have a dog behavior issue to step back and see what or if you are or have contributed to the bad behavior.
Take this behavior on barking during mealtime and let’s see just how much attention you gave this behavior.
Assuming your dog doesn’t have to go potty outside, he is more than likely barking at you for attention and to see what else he gets from you if he barks.
If you yelled at your dog with a stern verbal correction like, “Shut up!” or “Quiet!” you probably just reinforced his barking.
Remember, just like kids, even getting yelled at is still attention.
There are 3 ways you can give your dog attention. I call it TLC
- TOUCH (physical contact of any kind)
- LOOK AT (eye contact)
- COMMUNICATE (talk to)
You are probably guilty of giving him attention in at least 2 out of the 3 ways above during his barking at the table.
If he was bold enough to put his paws on your leg as he barked, you more than likely pushed him off (touch).
You looked at him as you said: (eye contact)
“Shut up!” (communication)
Ideas For Your Ill-Mannered Mutt
Try thinking back on what may be missing (that attention) in your relationship with your dog.
Has he received dog training every day? Training gives your dog the attention he needs in a positive and constructive way. It helps you build a strong working relationship with him.
If you train every day, you begin to gain his respect as a strong leader through obedience training. Working on sits and downs can foster discipline in other commands with your dog – like staying on his bed during mealtime.
Are you exercising your dog? Have you ever heard the phrase “A tired dog is a good dog?” A long, brisk walk is another positive and constructive way to give your dog attention.
My Secret Fix for Mealtime Barking
If you’ve read my two ideas above and you’re already doing all of that, it’s time to let you in on my secret fix.
You’ll be surprised at how easy it is.
Here’s my fix: Do absolutely nothing. You heard right. Nothing!
The next time your dog decides to bark at mealtime, don’t do anything.
Remember the three ways we give our dog attention?
- DO NOT touch (push off your dog),
- DO NOT look at (absolutely no eye contact) or
- DO NOT talk to your dog.
Do absolutely nothing. Just eat your dinner.
Here’s the thing about extinguishing this kind of unwanted behavior in this way.
Dogs Do What Works for Them
If the last time your dog barked at you and you gave him TLC in some form or fashion – you just reinforced the barking.
Understand that during your process of “doing nothing” your dog barking to get what he wants, is perfectly natural.
You will then develop the patience you need to wait him out.
Here’s what to expect:
Your dog’s barking will get worse before it gets better
If barking is not working for him, he may try other things to get your attention like jumping up on you.
As you continue to not provide him with any feedback at all, (TLC), the barking for attention will subside and eventually stop altogether.
Be forewarned: he may try barking again a week or so after he’s been quiet just to see if it will work.
Just do nothing. Absolutely nothing. It will finally flat line and go away.
Make sure your dog is getting his attention fix in other positive and constructive ways.
Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog
You got your dog for a reason. You wanted to share your life with a happy and loving dog. But now, your dog has big problems and life is not happy.
I can help you get that happy, well behaved dog back. We’ll work together at your speed and both you and your dog will have fun every step of the way.