How do I teach my puppy to stop barking? It's all too common of a question, and the first thing to note is YOU'RE NOT ALONE! Dogs bark, that's a fact, and we should never forget that humans actually taught dogs to bark more than their wild cousins.
How did we teach them to bark? When dogs were first domesticated, it's most likely that dogs who were better at alerting their human counterparts to threats were considered more desirable and therefore more likely to be chosen for breeding. Today, however, we teach our dogs to bark because we don't communicate correctly with them.
Dogs are pragmatic; they "deal with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations." For this reason if a dog receives a certain response when he presents a behavior, he'll keep presenting that behavior in the future in anticipation of receiving the same response, ultimately creating a habit. For example, dog barks and you fill her food bowl, dog barks and you get her leash, dog barks and you open the door to let her back inside...etc, etc, etc. We have to shift our thinking from expecting our dogs to tell us what they want to a mindset of telling our dogs what we want.
There is a widely accepted theory that one of the reasons domestic dogs bark is because they have been bred to remain in a more juvenile state. If this is true, then is your dog really mature enough to run the household or do they need some guidance from you, the adult.
Ok, so enough about why dogs bark; you wanted to know how to make it stop, right?
As outlined in the 7 Facts about Canine Communication there are four main categories of methods used to stop barking: 1. Collars/Devices, 2. Desensitization/Counterconditioning, 3. Psychotropic drugs, 4. Surgical debarking. I would NEVER recommend surgical debarking, and it is indeed illegal in most states. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers also takes a firm stance against surgical debarking.
Ask your vet if you want to know more about psychotropic drugs like buspirone, clomipramine and amitriptylene, and don't go doing a Google search about them either. Since psychotropic drugs can have side effects, be sure to also ask your vet about homeopathic remedies like Problem Pet Solution or Rescue Remedy for Pets You can also talk to your vet about collars and devices, or you can talk to a certified dog trainer, and guess who I suggest can give you the best recommendation...YOUR VET :-)
The first thing to keep in mind is that change takes time! Don't rush your dog, and remain patient. It might also be a good idea to tell your neighbors about how you're working with your dog. I advise all my new puppy clients to slide a letter under the door of each neighbor on their floor to invite them to reach out if the puppy is barking. What's that saying? Oh yeah, "it takes a village."
I am a strong believer that Step 1 to solving your dog's barking problem is to give your dog an appropriate level of exercise, obedience training and time for enrichment. Working your dog's mind is guaranteed to tire him out. Why else do you think kindergarten children require nap time when they're only in school for half a day? And you'd be amazed what an extra 30 minute walk can do for your dog's overall happiness.
Step 2 to solving your dog's barking is to be consistent when you are around. If your dog barks in the crate while you're home, wait to take him out of the crate until he is quiet...even if you have to wait for an hour. If your dog stares out the window barking at dogs who walk past, tell him "No", and if he doesn't stop then close the blinds for 30 minutes. If he goes right back to barking at the window when you re-open the blinds, then close them again for 30 minutes and keep doing that until he realizes that the his barking removes his fun view of outside. Oh, and don't forget to tell him "Good boy" when he stops barking; it's even more important that you praise your dog for good behavior even if that good behavior is the act of stopping bad behavior.
To summarize it all: Try to think like your dog. If someone "barked" at you to make them dinner, would you? Or would you correct them for being rude and wait for them to ask nicely? If your mom gave you a piece of candy every time you set the table without her asking, I bet you would have set the table a lot more, but if she gave you a piece of candy when you yelled "where's dinner!?!" then please don't ever let anyone in my family go on a date with
For more detailed information, I recommend reading:
Barking: How to Get Your Dog to Quiet Down by The Humane Society of the United States
Dog & Puppy Barking Training Info by PerfectPaws.com
Since it's impossible for me to pick just one Get Pet pup to be the cutest, I thought I'd let everyone else decide with a fun friendly Cutest Puppy Photo Contest!
Post your puppy photos on our Facebook Page or Tweet your cute puppy photos using the hashtag #GetPet and you could win some cool prizes. Plus the winning dog will receive a featured Valentine's Day blog post to tell the world all about why they are so cute and loveable, and their picture will be added to some clothing items that will be available for sale in the Get Pet Shop.
Photos must be posted before Sunday February 5th and voting will take place from February 6th through the 12th.
Not sure what a cute puppy looks like? Here are some examples :-)
I'm super excited to announce the newest weekly installment for my blog. I'm calling it "Tricks and Treats" because you (the humans) can win treats (aka prizes) when the pups perform tricks. For our first week 13-week-old Metro, a Danish-Swedish Farm dog, is donating the footage from his very first "sit" lesson.
Here's how it works:
1. Watch the video
2. Show some love
3. Be entered in a drawing
4. Tune in next week to see if you won
How do you show some love, you ask? It's easy. You can either:
- post a comment here on the blog about the video
- post a comment on the Get Pet Facebook page with a link back to this blog
- send a Tweet to @GetPetChicago with a link to this blog
- post a comment or "Like" the video directly on the Get Pet YouTube channel
And you can earn up to one entry for each form of love for a possible total of 4 entries.
Prizes will range from credits to use in the new Get Pet Shop to Gift certificates for awesome Chicago businesses.
Enjoy Metro's video and be sure to show some love before next Wednesday, February 1st for your chance to win.
Growing up in the country in Pennsylvania gave me tons of experience with animals from a very early age. I later pursued a career in horseback riding and also have experience as a veterinary technician. I have a strong passion for animals and have an uncanny ability to connect with all sorts of furry friends.