"How can I stop dog barking???" I hear this question all the time! As humans, we have little patience for nuisance barking in dogs, and so it should be. Some people reply that "dogs should be allowed to be dogs". I have difficulty in agreeing completely with that statement!
So you now ask, then what side DO you take? Both and neither, if you can wrap your mind around that! You see, humans really are funny sometimes.
We've brought these wild dogs into our lives, into our cities and into our homes. We see how they can be wonderful pets and friends. We've domesticated them, and now we expect them to be born knowing the difference between right and wrong! How strange...
On the one hand, you want your dog to stop barking and be a "good", quiet family pet. You don't want him to bite, you don't want him to bark, you don't want him to chew things. And for good reason!
But on the other hand, you look down on people who correct their dog for barking, for chewing, for nipping at their hands. Dogs should be allowed to be dogs, right? They should be allowed to "let go a little". Weeell, here's what I think...
Dogs are dogs. Humans are humans. Dogs are NOT humans trapped in fur, or children. Yes, we have domesticated the dog, but they are not born, like humans, with the knowledge of right and wrong. We need to teach them this difference. For example, I want my dog to bark when someone is at the door, but not so much that I can't even open the door for fear he's going to run out and take down the mailman.
What do I do? I teach her that it's OK to bark once, but no more. Once
she understands this, I will correct her (humanely!) for barking more
than once. With her leash and collar on, I'm ready to correct any
situation that arises. Mid-woof or no less than 1.5 seconds after,
loosen the leash, give a fast, firm pop vertically, and loosen the leash
If every time I tell her to be quiet, I correct her for barking and praise her when she's quiet, she'll quickly learn to go where the advantage lies. Dogs aren't stupid! They just need consistency. This is called dog barking control.
Likewise, I don't let my dog nuisance bark. Dogs need clear lines - no grey areas. You confuse your dog when you are angry when they bark for no apparent reason (to you), but encourage them to bark when they see a squirrel, cat, etc. ("Spike, a squirrel, look!").
Let's go back to our original example of nuisance dog barking. You can't see anything that is causing him to bark - no animals around, he's fed, has water, doesn't have to pee. So you get upset. But wait a minute! There is a reason for this barking!
What! How can this be? Likely, your dog is bored. Even more likely, he's under-exercised because you don't walk him enough. When a dog isn't given proper exercise, and enough of it for his temperament and breed in a day, he will become restless, agitated and bored. All of which spells trouble for you!
So what's a great remedy to stop dog barking? Exercise, exercise, exercise. The more, the better. Always keep in mind - a tired dog is a happy dog, and happy dogs don't nuisance bark.
You should give your pooch at the very minimum 40 minutes of exercise a day (and no, I don't mean let the dog into the backyard a few times). Some breeds especially (border collies, Shepherds) need a lot of burning off steam, or it will turn into bad habits. Like what? Chewing, digging, barking, whining, mouthing your hands, jumping... and so on.
To wrap it up, I agree that nuisance barking should not be allowed. A dog should be allowed to bark when someone is approaching the house, but not out of control barking. In this respect I also agree that dogs should be dogs, but up to a point.
If your definition of being a dog is out of control barking, pulling you down the street for a "walk", and destroying your property - you are heading for a big surprise when Fido becomes "the owner". When you stop dog barking, you are simply being the leader of your home!
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