How to Stop Your Dog's Problem Barking

List: Posted: 03/28/11

When you first get a dog, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the world.  But now is also the time to train your new pet, either by yourself of through regular dog obedience classes.  Many people put up with behaviors such as excessive barking in new pets because they attribute it to nervousness or think it will go away with time.  Bad news.  Barking can quickly become problem behavior in any dog, and putting a stop to it from the word go is important.

One key to stopping excessive barking in your dog is to learn why the behavior is taking place.  Is your pet lonely, bored, or filled with too much energy?  If so, taking him or her for a long walk each night can often help to alleviate the problem. 

 

If your pet is lonely, consider the use of a doggie daycare when you are going to be away for long periods, or even a couple of times a week while you are at work.  Dogs are very social creatures, and they require companionship.  If left alone, they will become obsessed with looking outside the window - any window - and barking at everything that goes past, whether it be another dog, shoppers, or even cars and planes.  Pulling the curtains or shutting them in the kitchen won't help.  Most dogs have great hearing and will bark at the tiniest noise coming in from outside.

One of the most important tips if you want your dog to stop problem barking is to not reward the behavior.  This means that when your dog is barking like crazy, the only thing you should do is ignore it entirely.  This may not be possible if it's 3am and the dog's barking is disturbing the neighbors, but it is an important thing to do at all other times. 

 

Giving your dog attention, even in the form of scolding, encourages the dog to repeat the behavior.  Remember that attention in any form is a reward - even a squirt of water or a thrown shoe. By ignoring the barking, you can teach your pet that it offers no reward.  Once this lesson has been learned, your barking problem should be easier to bring back under control.

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