I was recently confronted by someone who was defending his use of confrontation, pain and fear in dealing with his dog’s barking..
“Well, how would YOU stop the barking?!” He gruffed.
“Why is your dog barking?” I said. He hadn’t actually thought about why his dog is barking, just that it annoys him to no end!
Although we usually find this behavior obnoxious, annoying or even embarrassing. There isn’t just one reason dogs bark (see more about this here).
In order to modify this behavior, we have to first identify the underlying reason for the barking response & work to modify the feeling/reason the dog barks. Or in more simple cases, teach them that not barking is more rewarding than barking.
If your dog lunges or barks ferociously on walks, at the door, in the yard or car – I highly recommend you seek the help of a local professional.
If you usually yell or become otherwise animated when Fluffy starts barking, you might actually be engaging her & reinforcing the fact that if she barks, she’ll have your full attention. Try this next time Fluffy starts barking instead:
– Ignore her while she’s barking (utilize the help of earplugs if needed + a good dose of patience)!
– As soon as she stops (even for a split second) say ‘Quiet’ and pop a treat in her mouth.
– Practice this several more times; ignore while barking, ‘quiet’ & treat while she’s silent.
– Pretty soon she’ll be paying close attention you and staying more & more quiet. Good Girl!
– Practice randomly rewarding her when she is being quiet.
Our goal? To teach her that being quiet is more reinforcing than barking.
Good Luck & Happy Training!