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Barking

Dog BarkingAs we all know, barking is a natural behavior for our canines and is one way they communicate and express themselves.  (I know some humans that bark as well).  Excessive barking, however, can be considered a behavioral problem and can drive your family (and your neighbors) nuts.  Dogs don’t bark just because they want to or because it’s fun to annoy their human family.  They bark to warn us, to play with us, and to gain our attention.  They can also bark from anxiety or boredom or at the sight of another dog.  The last thing you want to do is to train your dog to not bark – that’s like taking away your own voice (and imagine if you couldn’t speak).  But with a little devotion and constancy, you can teach your chronic barker to be quiet on command.  If she’s barking because someone is approaching your home, she’s just protecting herself, her family and her territory and this should not be corrected.  We want her to bark in this situation and should not scold the dog for doing so.  But if she’s barking at every little sound and every leaf that falls on your lawn, you may want to put a stop to such behavior.  When she barks, check for the source (go to the dog and look out the window to see where the barking is directed).  Once you determine that there’s nothing or no one there, ask the dog to sit and introduce her to the word “Quiet.”  Reinforce her with a treat when she is focused on you.  Each time the dog barks for no apparent reason, you should repeat this procedure…..Sit, Focus, Quiet.  Training your barker to learn the “Quiet” command, like any other directive, will take time, patience and consistency, but should provide you with a much more “peaceful” world…….and maybe your neighbors will start talking to you again (that is, if you really want them to).  (Note:  I am not a fan of using the “No Bark” collars that emit a squirt of citronella spray when barking is detected as I believe this can provide the wrong lesson to the dog).

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