Barking, how do you stop your dog?
Barking is for most owners one of the most irritating behaviors of their dog. But one bark is not the other. There are several reasons why a dog barks. And with that there are also various ways in which you, as owner, can ensure that the barking does not occur or is much less common.
Why is a dog barking now?
The answer is not that simple, especially if you know that there are at least ten * (and perhaps more) possible reasons:
1. To get attention or feed
2. in defense (of territory, feed, toy, berth)
3. in a conflict or out of fear
4. separation anxiety
7. play and other social situations
8. group behavior
9. empowered behavior
10. medical (eg cognitive dysfunction or pain / discomfort)
Management is essential to reduce barking. This means that you as an owner must take measures that lead to the dog having less reason to bark. In order to be able to implement the most effective measures, it is useful if you first have a clear understanding of what things (stimuli) your dog is actually responding to. You can think: “he barks at EVERYTHING”, but often that is your feeling …
By clearly writing down for yourself what your dog actually barks to (and not to), it also becomes clearer where you can train in the future. And if you know exactly what your dog barks to, it is also easier to devise management measures so that your dog is exposed to these stimuli as little as possible.
A little dog jumping on the couch (standing in front of the window) when he sees someone or traffic passing through the window that runs to the ground. He then barks at a stretch and is no longer available for the owner. If that touches him, the dog tries to bite the owner.
From the diary that the owners have kept for a week, it appears that the dog does not bark to “everyone and everything”, but especially to children and cyclists. Adults and other traffic than cyclists do not cause his behavior. In order to ensure that the dog does not see the children and the cyclists or not so easily, the owners stick the foil against the low window. The light is still coming in but the stimuli are less visible. In addition, they move the bank so that the dog can not jump on it anymore and can no longer stand in the window sill.
Is that the problem solved?
No not really. The body language of the dog shows that he is afraid of children and cyclists (and that is also apparent from the dog’s behavior on the street). So there has to be trained so that the dog is no longer afraid of children and cyclists. But by taking these management measures, two important things are achieved:
– more rest and less frustration and stress which makes dog (and owner) better able to learn good behavior
– the dog does not learn – ten times a day that barking ensures that what he finds scary, actually disappears (so that his behavior is maintained)
One of the most frequently asked questions from dog owners is: how can I teach my dog ??that he is barking? The answer is actually relatively simple. Teach him that being quiet gives much more (read: is more fun) than barking. If you want to address the problem by correcting your dog for barking, there is very little chance that the behavior will change in the long term (especially if he does it if you are not there!).
Research shows that 86% of the dogs who were punished with a water pistol for barking at the fence, had started barking again after three months. If you choose to work with a correction (certainly not my recommendation!), Then it is good to know that the effect is much better if you immediately reward after the correction, when the dog is silent, with something that the dog likes. Research shows that after only 90 days only four percent has started barking again.
The longer a dog has the habit of barking in certain situations, the more difficult it becomes to keep him quiet in those situations. Prevention is therefore very important:
– never reward the owner as a barking, for example by giving a toy, attention, play or food.
– let young dogs / pups build up a positive association with sounds, situations and people to prevent barking out of fear
– Learn basic commands (including “barking” and “silent”) to gain more control
– Take management measures as soon as possible and start training if your dog barks or barks too much in some situations