This Dog Barking Is Driving Me MAD!
Excessive barking can be both stressful for you, your fur baby and of course your neighbors! Doggy Dan has kindly given us more tips to help with this problem, and let us 2-legged species understand why our babies really need to bark! Enjoy….
Dog Barking (Attention Seeking and Overly Excited)
As you’re well aware, dogs will bark for many different reasons. It could be that they’re stressed when they’re left at home alone, or it may be they’re barking because they’ve just heard a noise outside.
Once we know the WHY we can put in place the solution. And for each different type of barking there’s a slightly different solution.
Let’s take one of the most common types of barking and look at what is really going on in the dog’s mind.
Barking for Attention
This is one of the most frustrating and ear piercing behavioral issues; when your dog is barking right in front of you for attention!
It feels like they’re barking at you! And in a way, they are… Here’s the thing; they want something.
It could be that they want a pat, a cuddle, a walk, their dinner, or the door opened! It may be that they’re telling you that they’re simply demanding your full attention right now. Some people have this problem outside on the walk if they don’t throw the stick fast enough!
I had a great example of this only last week…
I worked with a small Chihuahua named Charlie who had a little toy that they called the “Monster-pig”. It was a small, cuddly toy that made a squeaky “oink” noise. Charlie was a delightful, friendly, high-energy, one-year old dog who loved nothing more than to play with his “Monster-pig”.
His favourite game was to drop it on your foot and your job was to throw it immediately.
Charlie’s owners explained that this game could go on for hours. And that was one of the reasons I was there.
So as you can imagine when I refused to throw “Monster-pig” the barking began. His barking was quite monotone and repetitive. Boring is a good description, which is why it could very quickly get on your nerves…
“Bark – Bark – Bark – Bark!”
If you had to put words to the dog barking it would go something like this…“Hey – Throw it – Hey – Throw it!”
You get the idea. It’s attention seeking barking, demanding that you do something.
Why shouting back won’t work
If you have this issue with your dog then you’re probably already aware that shouting back at your dog does not work!
In fact one of the most common mistakes that we make when we try to get our dogs to be quiet is to shout louder than them!
Have you ever had an argument with somebody when everyone just started raising their voices and nobody listened? Its the same thing with your dog! They won’t listen.
And poor Charlie, what he really wants is attention, and any attention is better than none (including being told to be quiet)!
The simple solution
Firstly, if you want to make things easier for yourself you can actually hide the toy to start with. If it’s an object that your dog may try and sniff out them go outside the room and hide it a long way away so they have no idea which room it’s in!
(Hiding it on top of the cupboard out of reach while they’re watching will only lead to more barking…) You will get the expected response from your dog: “Bark – Bark – Bark – Bark!”
“Bring it down- Bring it down!”
Now, whether you’ve decided to remove the object from view or not, the basic solution is to stay calm (SILENT!), and if your dog is barking at you for attention then simply use time-out, much like you would with a child.
Just take them by the collar, very calmly and walk them down the corridor into a toilet or bathroom which you’ve made safe, and close the door.
You really want to leave them there until they’re quiet, and then let them out again. If you repeat this they will soon get the message not to tell you what to do by barking.
Will your dog “get” it?
The funny thing that I’ve found over the years is how many people doubt that their dog is smart enough to realize that the reason they were put in timeout was because of the barking!
May I suggest that if you are thinking this then you’re seriously underestimating your dog’s intelligence! Dogs are very logical. Far more logical than we humans are.
For example, Charlie responded after the very first time-out, much to his owner’s horror!
When time-out doesn’t work
If your dog keeps on barking when they come out of time-out, like I just mentioned, don’t think that you have a dumb dog. Oh no! Far from it. Your dog understands but is very strong willed and determined and is not happy with the control that you are asserting! However there’s another reason that they’e not playing ball (pardon the pun!) and that is very simply this:
Your dog does not respect you and they do not see you as the pack leader yet!
And because of this they will not accept taking orders from you as they do not see you as the pack leader.
Makes sense really when you see it through your dog’s eyes. Most things are actually pretty straight forward when you understand where they’re coming from.
To turn this around you need to first make sure that everyone puts in place the 5 Golden Rules to becoming the Pack Leader that can be found inside this video website. Then apply the approach explained above and you‘ll see the changes.
So there you have it. One of the main reasons that dogs bark is attention seeking.
Barking is a big deal
Of course there are so many other completely different reasons a dog will bark such as barking
- when they are left alone
- aggressively at other dogs in an unfriendly manner
- around the property when they see something or hear a noise
- excitedly when they’re playing or see other dogs
- inside the car
And all of these issues require a very different approach. We need to understand how our dog is thinking and feeling before we can come up with a solution.
Winning your dog’s respect
It’s through understanding that we gain our dog’s respect. Something that all of us humans long for too. You can’t demand respect with people, or with dogs. When you just use force and aggression they may do as you say, but they only do so out of fear.
For example the poor dog who whines, barks and howls all day when left alone is doing so for a completely different reason to the dog who runs around at the park excitedly barking out of control with other dogs.
In one situation the dog is stressed and we need to understand why they are stressed. Then we can look at removing the cause of their anxiety, showing them there is nothing to worry about when they’re left alone.
With excited dogs racing around, we need to explain clearly to our dog that running around in a happy state is fine, but keep the noise down and don’t start that crazy barking!
Source: The Online Dog Trainer
Picture: Sadie Shih Tzu on Flickr