Excess barking from your dog can cause a real problem in your life. If you’ve ever been stuck in a small room or car with a dog that doesn’t want to stop barking, you know the frustration it causes, as a dog barking is one of the most stressful sounds for a human to hear.
Training your dog not to bark too much has obvious benefits. You are spared the annoyance and stress that your dog barking can cause, and your neighbors will like you a lot more. Your relationship with your dog will improve significantly, and you can take your dog out in public without worrying about people glaring at you.
In order for barking prevention training to work, all the members of your family (the people your dog lives around) must participate in the training. If your dog receives different cues from different people, he or she will grow confused and “default” to the regular behavior of barking.
The training can take place anywhere, and in fact has to do so. Wherever your dog barks is an appropriate place to train him or her, as you want to reinforce the fact that the problem is linked to barking, not anything else.
The first thing you should do is look at the cause of the excess barking. Dogs will bark too much when they are distressed, so make sure there are no environmental factors contributing to the barking, like being confined too long, kept in too small an enclosure, on too short a leash, etc. Make sure they have a doghouse for shelter if they are barking outside, as they may simply be distressed at having no shelter.
Be sure they aren’t hungry or thirsty, and there are no other dogs within earshot or visual range, and strangers don’t have access to the dog’s “territory” or range. If they have sufficient room to exercise, nothing external is threatening them, and all their needs are met, you can move on to attempting to correct the barking behaviour.
If nothing external could be causing the barking, there may be a genetic predisposition for your dog to bark. This doesn’t mean you should give up, however. Never yell at your dog, but using a firm reprimand like, “No!” with a simultaneous tug on your dog’s leash while the dog is barking may, over time, train your dog out of it. When the dog stops barking, give him or her a reward to reinforce the positive value of not barking as well as the negative repercussions of barking.
Sometimes this method of training fails, and if this is the case, you may need to try another method. You can get a product like Bark Off that will automatically emit an ultrasonic sound to interrupt the barking pattern. The product looks like a small remote and can be easily carried in your hand or pocket and used indoors or outdoors. Because the tone is inaudible to humans, many people prefer this training method to any other.
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