Last Updated on 02/03/2023 by K9 Oil Supplements
Dog barking is your dog talking, but are you listening?
Dog barking is their primary form of communication. While dog barking can be extremely useful, if untrained, dog barking can often become quite an issue. Dogs often bark because they have been trained to do so, or the opposite of the spectrum, have been allowed to bark too much by their parents.
Whether the training has been intentional or inadvertent, dog barking is ultimately due to behavior that is reinforced. When a behavior is reinforced, it tends to be repeated.
For example, puppies often bark while in their crates and the owner lets them out to simply stop the noise (not good). Unruly dog barking happens when their parents are at the dinner table, and those parents respond by giving them food to stop the noise (not good). These are examples of unintentional reinforcement. In these cases, the parents/owners have demonstrated to the dog that yes, in fact, dog barking is effective. This evolves to them learning that dog barking can be a way for them to get what they want.
Dogs often bark to alert us to changes in the environment, including sales people at our door, mail carriers and the like dropping off packages, actual bad guys near by, children playing near or in front of our houses, and of course, the occasional squirrel or rabbit who just happens to be passing by.
Often, dogs become protective of their owners and their homes. They begin to bark when a non-family member appears and are ultimately wondering if you understood them. A good dog is asking “do you hear me alerting you to this situation?”
You have to think of dog barking as a dog having a need for acknowledgement.
When your dog barks, tell them “thank you”. Thank you for alerting us. Thank you for bringing the matter to our attention. If needed, repeat “thank you” followed by issuing a proper command. With your command voice, say their name followed by the command such as “Shush!” or “Quiet!”
Once your dog is quiet, praise them for their behavior.
If your dog won’t stop barking, you must refocus their attention elsewhere. Introduce a dog treat, put it close to their nose where they can sniff it, however, do not give them the treat just yet. If you give them the treat in this situation you have just rewarded them for improper behavior.
It is a well known fact that dogs cannot bark and sniff at the same time. So utilize this to refocus their attention. While your dog is sniffing the treat, they will be quiet. Issue the command again and once the proper behavior of silence is maintained for 10-15 seconds, then praise and reward them for this quiet behavior.
Keep in mind that dogs bark to communicate with us and for many other reasons, including potential life-saving events. It is important for us to listen and acknowledge them. It is up to us humans to train our dogs properly to live a long, healthy and happy life.
Dog Barking is normal dog behavior. Puppies will not grow out of it just on their own. With training and patience, you can take positive steps to reduce dog barking and teach your dog alternative ways to communicate.
There are times when the beginner dog parent can struggle with excessive dog barking. It is the most critical that you, the dog parent, understands what is causing the barking. Talk to other dog parents as a first step.
Sometimes a dog barks to simply express how they’re feeling. When a dog is excited, frustrated, bored or scared, you can almost bet they will bark. If your dog is not feeling well, be sure to see what our K9 Oil Supplements help with. On the other side of the spectrum, puppies and even adult dogs bark and whine when they are first introduced to something new like dog crate training. This is one of those times when you need to ignore the behavior. Ignoring in this case simply teaches them, hey that stuff does not work at all.
There is never a need, nor an excuse for any form of cruelty or physical pain, or extreme discipline when it comes to training your dog. If you find yourself at that level of frustration, a dog may not be for you.