Excessive Barking

Barking is your dog’s method of communication–he’s telling you he’s bored, he’s lonely, he needs to go out, he’s scared of something or he’s alerting you to the presence of another animal or person. Barking is not bad behavior, but if we want to reduce the amount of it we need to get the message our dog is sending. Ask yourself what you think he’s telling you. If he’s been confined for a while or has not had much exercise, he’s probably bored and needs some playtime or he needs to go out to do his business. If he barks while you are gone, he’s probably lonely. Try leaving the radio or tv on so that he will be comforted by human voices, and don’t make a scene saying goodbye when you leave. If he still barks too much, see your trainer, behaviorist or veterinarian. They now have drugs for “separation anxiety” which can be very effective when used with behavior modification. If your dog is scared of something, show him through positive reinforcements and a cheerful attitude and tone of voice that it is really not that scary. If your dog is telling you about the presence of another animal, person or object, try praising him for doing his job, then give a command like “enough” or “quiet”. Praise him and/or give him a treat if he obeys. If he does not, there are various training techniques you can employ, but the basic philosophy is that you must make yourself more interesting and reinforcing to your dog than the distraction so that he will turn his attention to you and stop barking when you command him to do so.

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