I think I’ll start using “thank you” with our German Shepherd, Thor. He is a big talker and like Ginger, he has different ‘words’ for different things. Whining for ‘I’m lonely’, a higher pitched bark for ‘pay attention to me/play with me’ and his Big Loud Alert/Protection bark.
Unless a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist advises you to do otherwise, never use punishment procedures if your dog is barking out of fear or anxiety. This could make him feel worse and, as a result, his barking might increase.
Other medical problems can also cause excessive barking. For example, a brain disease or a dog who is in chronic pain. Older pets may also develop a form of canine senility that could cause uncontrollable barking. Have your pet checked by a veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions as reasons for excessive vocalizations.
But in most cases, you just tell a dog to hush. Trainers and dog behaviorists say that working with barking dogs is one of their most common requests. If your dog has a vocal problem, here are some tips that might help.
If your dog likes toys, keep a favorite toy near the front door and encourage him to pick up the toy before he greets you or guests. If he learns to hold a toy in his mouth, he’ll be less inclined to bark. (He’ll probably still whine, however).
Call animal control to report abuse. If you believe the barking is a result of neglect or another form of abuse, you have the right to call animal control. If the dog is being severely abused it will be confiscated from the owner, but in most cases animal control won’t take the dog away. Instead, they’ll come to assess the situation and try to educate the owners as to how to properly care for the dog.
You can manage alarm barking by reducing the dog’s exposure to the inciting stimuli. Perhaps you can baby gate him out of the front room, move the sofa away from the windows so he can’t jump up and see out, or close the drapes.
Play: If you’ve ever gotten your dog involved in an intense play session, you’ve probably heard them bark at you. Like kids yelling on a playground, dogs bark to communicate their willingness and excitement to play.
Nancy lives in Portland Maine with her 3 kids, 2 dogs and a revolving door of foster dogs. She owns Gooddogz Training and believes in force free training and having fun with your dogs. Her Mom tells us “Dog” and “horse” were her first words.
With all of these different forms of barking there are a variety of approaches we can take to ensure the barking is for the right reason and we can prevent dog barking when the reason is no longer there. Much of this will come from the confidence the owner shows to his dog in being able to handle different situations. To gain this confidence the owner has to get to know his dog and the situations that create the barking. With this understanding, an owner can demonstrate calm, confident leadership and take control in the right way. The dog responds because he can trust the leader has taken charge. From the very beginning of our dog/owner partnership, we should be building a foundation that allows such trust and confidence. Remember that dog barking is one way the dog communicates to us, so we do not wish to prevent dog barking but we do wish to control barking as required. Learning to read your dog’s signals and means of communicating is incredibly important to your overall relationship.
Instead, use your positive interrupt to invite your dog to you, and calmly put him in another room or on a tether – then greet your visitors. You may want to tape a note to your door advising guests that you are training your dog and it may take you a moment or two to answer the door, so they don’t give up and go away.
Dogs do more than just bark. They whine, they whimper, they grumble and growl, they scream, they howl…and each communication can contain messages that help you understand your dog. When your dog is communicating out loud, take a moment to ﬁgure out what he’s trying to say, and why, and what, if anything, you should do about it.
This is really simple and every single dog owner can teach the dog how to be quiet. If not, a trainer can easily come to your home and help you out with that. The great thing about it is that teaching the dog to be quiet actually reinforces the bond between the owner and the animal.