Rescue Dog Training – How to Control Your Dog’s Barking by Bob Hunsicker

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Interestingly, the domesticated dog barks far more frequently than their ancestors. Possibly because many breeds have been taught to bark to better perform the various tasks for which they were bred – protection, shepherding, tracking.

Today, your dog will find lots of reasons to bark even if he isn’t relegated to protecting the back 40 acres from poachers, or corralling the sheep and goats in the family room. He may bark to assert dominance; to defend his territory; from loneliness; out of frustration if he cannot get his way; pent-up energy; noises; excessive confinement; or strangers in the house. Also, some dogs are far more predisposed to barking than others. The small, high string breeds – Yorkies, Schnauzers, Beagles – are well known for the persistent barking; while Newfoundlands, Bloodhounds, Greyhounds and Rottweilers seldom bark.

Naturally, since many rescue dogs are of the mutt variety, you just can’t be sure what genes your dog is packing.

While it’s not realistic, or even necessary to expect your dog to cease from barking entirely, you should look forward to eventually having control over incessant, annoying barking. Before you begin your training program, make sure you are not at least partially responsible for your dog’s barking problem.

Do you jump up and take your dog for a walk when he barks at the door? If he barks at the box of biscuits sitting on the counter, do you give him one? Does he bark when you leave the room, causing you to forget the trip to the refrigerator and scurry back to the couch to keep the peace? In short, don’t reward him in any fashion when he barks for what he wants.

But whatever the root causes of your dog’s barking, there are well-proven behavioral techniques that can be used to teach him not to bark unless requested by you to do so.

First, from the 10,000 foot level, a well-exercised, healthy dog who has had socialization training will probably be less inclined to be a frenzied, constant barker. So, be sure those bases are covered.

Invariably however, there will still be cases when the problem needs to be nipped in the cold, wet snout, so to speak.

Naturally, like all corrective training, it is necessary to scold your dog while in the act. Otherwise your action will only cause confusion in your dog’s “live for the moment” mind. And of course, always be prepared to reward for the proper behavior with petting, treats and praise. Be sure to use the phrase you use with all of your other training sessions – if he isn’t barking, “good dog – yes – no bark” is a phrase I learned to use from the training resource referenced below.

Of course, commands alone aren’t always enough. So conditioning is required. For example, if your dog commences to bark as soon as you leave, try standing outside the door. As soon as the first bark is released, open the door with a firm, “no bark” or “quiet”. Do this repeatedly until your dog manages silence for five minutes or more at a stretch. Then deliver your “good dog – yes – no bark” with a tasty treat. Like all training, patience and persistence will be required. Hopefully you won’t have to replace the hinges on your door before you achieve success.

If your dog is the type that barks commands at you all day while you’re relaxing in your easy chair, try the old “I’m going to ignore you” tactic. If you’ve been married as long as I have, you should be good at this already. Simply turn your head or, even get up and walk away, out of sight until the barking ceases. If he follows, don’t give him any attention or even eye contact unless the barking stops – then praise him appropriately.

If these techniques fail, move on to some slightly more drastic measures, such as a dog whistle, a simple spray of water in his face, or a loud clap inches from his snout until he associates the barking with the “punishment”. Praise when he begins to get it. Hopefully, your dog, unlike your children, will not have to go though his entire adolescence before he understands what behavior you expect from him.

There are also several “band-aids” you can employ to keep your sanity as you progress through this training.

If he scurries away as you are attempting to correct him, put him on leash so he’ll be close enough to associate the scolding with the bad behavior. If you discover that loud sounds outside seem to trigger a barking frenzy, play music, or leave a radio or TV on. If he is stimulated by activity outside, close the curtains. Again, I like to think of these as temporary measures until the training works. It’s not a good thing when you have to alter your lifestyle to keep your dog calm and well-adjusted.

Once you have succeeded in ceasing the barking on command, you would be wise to go the distance by employing the two-prong training technique – SPEAK & QUIET. This too was explained for me in an eBook available from the resource I reference below.

Step 1 – Teach your dog to bark on command. This requires a bunch of treats, plenty of praise and that old one-two punch of patience and persistence. The command is “SPEAK”. When a bark immediately follows, reward with a treat. Alternate the treat with lavish praise since there will be times when you are plum all out of dog treats on your person. Give the praise immediately after the first bark so your dog doesn’t go back to his old ways of relentless barking. Once you and your buddy have mastered this step, go on to…

Step 2 — Teach your dog to be quiet on command. This is the critical, albeit tricky part of the training. Again, with a pocketful of treats, give the command your dog learned means to bark – SPEAK. But this time, allow your dog to continue barking by withholding the treat. Then, start repeating the word QUIET, until the barking stops. Then immediately give the treat or praise.

You will need to work on the two-part technique each day for ten to fifteen minute sessions. But do not go longer than your dog can pay attention. Soon, your efforts will pay handsome dividends with a dog that knows when to speak and knows when to listen.

About The Author

Having adopted several rescue dogs, Bob often references a few resources that provide training techniques to correct any negative behavior a dog with an unknown history could exhibit – from timidity and anxiety to aggression. One such resource is the Do-It-Yourself Do-It-Yourself Dog Training Manual at http://butdogsrpeople2.blogspot.com/2009/05/easy-dyi-dog-training-for-well-behaved.html

 

Click Here to learn all the secrets to dog training you will ever need to know

 

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