Now that you have a dog, you know that there are many different problem behaviors that a dog may present; one of the most irritating is a dog barking problem. Dogs bark for a variety of reasons and the first step to resolving the “problem” is to understand why dogs bark in the first place. The barking is always triggered by something going on in his environment or for something personal like communicating he’s got to go outside or do it on the floor!
Regarding the environment, the dog might be trying to assert dominance over another dog or animal that it is around (my Chewie especially barks when Raccoons come around). It may be trying to stake out its territory or it may be just barking for the fun of it (kind of like singing). There are many dogs that have a barking issue because they are not socialized to other dogs, and many dogs that are barking to get what they want from their owner.
Here Are Some Easy Steps To Fixing Your Dog Barking Problem
Did you know that quite often dog owners are the culprits and escalate the barking problem by rewarding it in some way. You have to make sure that the dog understands that barking is not acceptable behavior and will never be rewarded by the owner (this is the key…no rewards). When the owner yells at the dog for the problem barking, this is called negative reinforcement of the behavior by “giving it attention.” If the dog is outside barking away and the owner lets it in, this is also reinforcing the negative behavior and it will continue and escalate (I know, this happened to me until I learned…). If the dog is comforted when it barks or given a treat to “calm him down,” this is also reinforcing the dog barking problem and it will continue….
Here’s the good news… There are several methods to training a dog to correct problem barking behavior (yeaaaahh). One of these is to not react when there is a barking issue, such as the dog barking at the phone ringing or the doorbell. If the phone rings or the doorbell rings, the owner should sit there and not react to it, thus showing the dog that there is not anything to be stressed out about or alert to when those sounds occur. It is helpful to ring the doorbell or the phone regularly when training the dog to get used to the noise so that he can see that there is not a reaction needed when those sounds are heard. You do the same for when he barks to come into the house or when he sees something strange. Same training works.
When a dog barks at people or other animals excessively, socialization training is in order. Take him for walks and get him used to people ad other animals. Consider taking him to dog parks and even obedience training for the socialization aspect.
If the dog barking problem occurs when the owner is not in the home (people let you know…sometimes its the authorities…), there are also ways to prevent barking. One is to make sure that the dog gets enough exercise and has enough things to play with so that he is not bored or stressed out (this worked real well for my Lab). If the dog has been barking when the owner is away, he should not be greeted when getting home right away, wait until he calms down. When the dog is not barking, that is when he should be praised, and when he is barking, there should be a negative association created with the barking, such as a loud noise or a bark collar.