Barking. Understanding it and dealing with it.
For some owners a good dog is a quiet dog, and the only barking allowed is in a watch dog situation or as an alert someone has arrived.
Dogs use barking for many more reasons. Your dog has a voice,will use it as you do: to communicate something to the people around her.
Barking isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but the language barrier between dogs and humans is pretty wide, which means it’s up to us to use the context, and body language of our dogs, and the circumstances figure out the meaning from a volley of barks.
So why do dogs bark?
Well there’s no easy answer. Let’s start by saying that dogs bark for many reasons. Some barking depends on the breed: some dogs, such as Rottweilers, Dobermans, and German Shepherds were bred as guard dogs and to bark only when a threat is perceived; some sporting breeds use their voices as a tool to raise the alarm when they scent the quarry, and some dogs just like to hear themselves talk!
However, there are some circumstances where just about any dog will bark:
* Stranger alert
* She’s needs to go outside for the toilet
* Another animal intrudes
* She wants to play
If your dog is barking for any of these reasons, it’s really difficult to try to stop her: after all, she’s a dog, and it’s natural for dogs to bark in some situations or at certain times. You should aware of this before you adopting your pet .
Some dogs are capable of manipulation. For example:
You’re lying on the couch reading. Your dog wakes and decides it’s time for a game. She picks up a toy, comes over, and drops it in your lap. You ignore her and continue to read. Next,she nudges your hand and barks once, loudly. You look up – she takes the ‘play-bow’ position and pants. You return to your book. Another loud bark – no response – she barks again. And this time, keeps going. After a minute or two later you give up,put down your book, pick up her toy, and take her outside for a game. All barking stops immediately
To stop this bullying behavior in your dog become part of her way of communicating with you, you need to show her that you can’t be easily manipulated.
The simple way to do this is to ignore her. Taking an active role, and using your body language to show her that she is not worthy of your attention when she acts in such an undesirable manner. This in not passive ignorance, ignoring her to continue with whatever you were doing – you need to take control of the situation.
In this case the best, most effective thing to do is to give her the cold shoulder. When she starts trying to ‘bark you’ into doing something:
Turn your back on her immediately. Get up, avert your eyes and face, and turn around so your back is to her.
Don’t look at her,or talk to her – not even “no”. She’ll probably be confused and bark harder. Especially if her bully-barking has worked in the past. The more times you’ve given in to this behavior, the more persistent she’ll be. In fact, the barking may well get a lot worse before it gets better – after all, it’s worked for her the past, so it’s understandable that she’ll expect it to work again.
Consistency as in all aspects of dog training, is very important. Don’t change your mind halfway through and give in – do so and you’re teaching her to be really, really persistent (“OK, so I’ll have to bark for ten minutes instead of five a game.” is how she’ll see it).
If you’d like more information on unwanted behaviour of your dog, you’ll probably be interested in taking a look at Secrets to Dog Training. A complete, A-Z manual for the dog owner, dealing with just about every problem dog behavior under the sun. You can check out Secrets to Dog Training here.