This has to be one of the most common questions I get asked – how do I stop my dog from barking?
The first thing you need know is why is your dog barking?
There are 3 main reasons why your dog will bark.
- Attention – The dog barks at the owner
- Danger – The dog barks at something it sees or hears while at home, on the walk or even the car
- Anxiety – The dog barks all day when the owner is out of site
The fundamental error I find people making is to shout at their dog for barking whether it be when seeing a stranger, detecting something unfamiliar or barking after hearing a noise. The fact is the dog may see these as threats to themselves or those it is protecting. However the wrong reaction shouting, will convince your dog that his fears are completely justified, to the extent that you are joining in the barking, which on some occasions will make the dog bark even more and can add to the whole problem.
Your dog can also bark for your attention, this is a little bit like a child shouting at you, many parents would find this behaviour unacceptable. Again the dog usually gets attention by us talking to the dog when it barks at you, by doing this you are confirming the dog can get attention on its terms and the dog will continue to use this behaviour because it gets him what he wants.
Once you understand what is going on with your dog there is a common theme, that the dog is looking after you so the dog is getting everything on its terms because he can.
If your dog is barking at danger he is protecting you, himself and the den. Instead of shouting at the dog, calmly say thank you to the dog or good dog. It will see from your reaction that you do not perceive any danger and the dog will begin to realise for itself that there is no danger. So before very long your dog will have learnt that the person walking past or the postman is not a cause for concern and it will simply stop reacting in a negative way.
If your dog is barking through separation anxiety please read my post on this subject.
For more help and advice on this subject please contact Liz on:
Areas I cover are: Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Nottighamshire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Manchester, Birmingham.