Friday, August 20, 2010
What to do about excessive barking?
Many frustrated dog owners find themselves trying to decode the reason for their dog’s excessive barking. It's a lot like decoding the crying of an infant. Breeds such as terriers can make themselves sick from excessive barking, which may even be a part of their nature. Other breeds just bark without apparent hard wiring for it. Often the dog senses danger; is joining in with unseen barking dogs that the human ear doesn't hear; is attempting to capture the owner’s attention; or the dog has a need and the owner is not addressing it.
Familiarizing any breed of dog with the noise environment he or she is likely to encounter routinely can be a long process; yet it’s required if a dog owner wants to get any sleep. Neighbors, neighbors' pets and other animals should become so familiar to your pup that he or she doesn't feel the need to bark when they make known noises. The best way to "desensitize" your dog to safe noises is to take her or him to the source of the noise and praise them when they calm down. Neighbors can help by greeting your dog quietly each time - they don't want her or him barking excessively either! Another way to deal with barking at routine noise is to establish a release word which, when you say it and your dog stops barking, gains him or her a reward.
On the other hand, dogs usually feel threatened by strangers, which is a good thing, for they can alert their owners to potential intruders. These instances should cause you to praise your dog, then say the release word when you want him or her to stop. In additon, barking often signals an attempt to capture your attention in order to engage you in activity or just get some affection. It should be noted that many breeds require more attention than owners are able or willing to provide. For this reason it is suggested you research your breed of choice before purchasing. Owners with children may find this less of a problem if the children regularly engage with the animal.
Some breeds require extensive exercise and activity. An owner may be unaware of the dog’s need to run outside of a confined area, resulting in the dog barking excessively. This is easy to recognize; your dog will run back and forth barking; or try to escape. Owners are advised to provide at lease one hour of exercise daily to ensure that their dog is receiving the exercise he or she requires. Exercise provides a dog with a greatly needed outlet for huge amounts of energy which otherwise would get used through barking.
A last ditch method of controlling barking may be to keep the dog indoors except during exercise and potty times. There is also the option of using an anti-bark collar. However, with these strategies, you run the risk of the dog associating being indoors with barking. Or, in the case of the collar, confusing the dog when he/she wants to bark to alert you to a potential intruder, or to tell you he needs to go out. The best way to solve this problem may be training classes or consultation with an expert of the particular breed.
Content provided by Gary Hamilton of ohmydogsupplies.com, the top ranked store to find unique dog collars online. Redaction and editing by Susan LaDue.
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