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How to Train A Puppy Not to Bark
We'll first examine why a puppy barks, taking a look at the instinctual nature of it, before getting into a few training methods on how to train a puppy not to bark that will bring peace to your relationship with your puppy.
Why Dogs Bark
Your puppy could be barking for a variety of reasons and all of them are part of his instincts as a dog. He may be barking to alert you of danger to himself or you, to defend himself or his territory, or out of anxiety or fear. His barking could be a result of boredom, stress, or frustration. If he is a rescued dog, he could bark due to anxiety.
Bottom line, he might be barking to get your attention, but he could be barking just because he likes it.
It is important to say that it's unrealistic to expect your dog to never bark. Dogs are social animals and barking is a dog's way of vocalizing, of "speaking". Some barking is good. After all, we want our dog to alert us if he is in trouble or if there is an intruder.
That being said, excessive or unacceptable barking should be dealt with early on in your dog's development, as barking releases endorphins in his body and can become a self-rewarding behavior that is difficult to stop.
One of the best ways to train your puppy against inappropriate barking is by using positive and negative reinforcement.
Simply put, if your puppy does a behavior you want, then give him a positive consequence. And if he does a behavior that you don't want, then give him a negative consequence.
If your puppy barks just to get a reaction from you, simply ignore him. If he barks to force you to hurry up and take him out, wait until he stops barking before getting his leash to go out. If he correctly barks when a stranger is at the door, reward him with a toy or a treat.
You can also try gently closing your puppy's mouth to the quell bad barking. This is something his doggy mother would do to discourage unwanted behavior.
For anxious dogs, try a calming spray which contains herbs to naturally calm your dog.
If the barking becomes excessive, try startling him by spritzing him with a small jet of water behind the ear using a mini squirt gun. Some extreme cases of die-hard pleasure-barkers can be dealt with using a citronella bark collar or seeing a dog behavior specialist.
These bark collars can be used safely and humanely to help stop your dog's barking. These can be a convenient tool for owners who simply lack the necessary time to invest in bark training, or for those with stubborn dogs.
Things to Consider When Training Your Puppy
- His barking may increase around 6-7 months old because this is when his natural guarding instinct finally kicks in.
- If he is barking at something outside, then close the curtains. By removing what he is barking at, you will remove the stimulus for the behavior.
- If your puppy barks to be let out of his crate, then cover his crate.
- If he is barking due to a fear of people, try socializing him to people. By desensitizing him to what he is afraid of, it eases his anxiety and stops the subsequent barking.
- Teaching your dog to bark on command is the equivalent of controlling his bark.
- A well-exercised dog is prone to less boredom barking.
- Do not yell at a barking dog. He sees this as you joining his game by barking back at him.
- Be patient with your puppy. He is, after all, still learning.
- As a final note, please remember that you can train your dog into an excessive barking habit by simply rewarding the wrong behaviors.
Geller presents us with a loving and gentle way to train and mold our dogs into the pets and pals we need and want. A very useful book to have on the bookshelf of any dog owner. This book is a good reference to have around to keep your dog happy, friendly, and fun.
What are your biggest puppy behavior issues?
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© 2016 Dani