Monday, December 18, 2017

Dog Training Made Easy with Dog Barking Diagnosis

April 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Non-Member

Is your dog barking now?  Will he be barking again in ten minutes?  At the mailman?  Or the neighbors?  Or when you leave?  And again when company pulls into the driveway?  And during the night, at some sound, smell, or sight that’s a mystery to you?

In order to stop your dog from barking, it’s important to understand that the barking is not the problem.  Sure, when you’re up at three a.m. listening to him chastise a fly on the wall, it might seem like a problem; but in actuality, barking is a symptom.  And as with any symptom, it can be most effectively eliminated when the root of the problem is attended to.

Here are the categories of barkers, as defined by a top dog trainer:

•    The Attention-Seeking Barker:  Why do babies cry when they want attention?  Because they know that Mom will pick them up.  Why do some dogs bark?  Because they know that it will score them a helping of attention.  Even a scolding is viewed as attention, and the attention-getting bark will continue if he gets that.  The best remedy for this type of barking is nothing; ignoring of the barking dog, that is.  Attention should be doled out after the noise has ceased.

•    The Warning Barker:  This barking dog voices his opinion to every Tom, Dick, and Housefly that passes.  He’s protecting his territory, and warning passersby not to challenge his authority over the ranch.  It’s best to start by eliminating this dog’s view of stimulants, and to then move on to rewards for quiet greetings.

•    The Fearful Barker:  This dog barks anxiously when a stranger approaches, or when he’s dropped into an unfamiliar situation.  This dog must be rewarded for confident behavior and an effort should be made to further socialize him.

•    The Bored Barker:  Not much explanation needed here.  For lack of anything better to do, this dog will sound his voice like an unemployed lead singer.  This dog needs to be worn out with exercise, or to be satiated with stimulating chew toys.

•    The Excitement Barker:  Know how you scream on a rollercoaster?  Some dogs bark when they’re highly stimulated.  The excitement barker will need to be calmed in order to stop.  Intense play can resume after he’s cut out the verbal display.

•    The Startled Barker:  The sound of the garbage truck, gunfire, or fire sirens might startle this barker into putting on his own version of a horror movie scream.  Recording the culprit sound and rewarding him when he is calm can help to quell his fears and eliminate barking.

•    The Self-Identification Barker:  Like an egomaniacal radio host who talks just to hear his own voice, this barker wants everyone, and every dog, to know who he is and where he is.  Calming him and rewarding quiet times will help to silence this extrovert.

•    The Lonely Barker:  Often a victim of separation anxiety, this dog will bark when separated from his owner.  The barking leads to more intense anxiety, and the situation compounds until he’s satisfied with a visit.  This can lead to pathologic barking, which is more difficult to resolve than other types.  This dog barking can be remedied by leaving for short periods, providing plenty of entertaining toys, changing departure and homecoming routines, and even treatment with medication.

What type of barker do you own?  Knowing the answer to that question will greatly further your efforts to stop this annoying dog behavior.

Dog obedience training basics teach that reinforcing dog barking is one of the biggest mistakes that down owners make.  For instance, when a dog is barking, don’t stroke him and reassure him that “everything is okay.”  To the dog, this is reinforcement for the barking behavior, and he’ll keep it up until the cows come home; or go away, in the case of an alert barker.

The moral of the dog training story is this:  find the cause of the dog barking and eliminate it.  Reward for quiet behavior; never yell, hit, kick, or otherwise punish; and most importantly, get ready for better sleep, a peaceful home, and the gradual return of your hearing.

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