Dogs bark, some more than others. The issue is not that your dog barks, the issue is why he is barking and how to get him to stop barking.
Who Goes There?
If your dog barks when someone comes on his property, this is called territorial barking. They bark to let you know someone is there and to warn intruders not to come any further. Unfortunately, this type of barking is necessary. An intruder is not going to risk your little dog nipping him and leaving his DNA in your home; it’s just easier to go to your neighbor who doesn’t have a dog.
You can’t teach your dog not to bark, but you can teach him a command to stop the barking. I use the word “quiet”; basically it means, I heard you, now let me take over. So, I’m getting pizza delivered and my dog barks, here are the steps I use to stop the barking:
- I command “quiet”.
- I then give my dog an alternate command, something to do instead of bark. I usually use the command Sit because I love to answer the door and have the big German Shepherd there staring at the intruder/pizza delivery guy.
- Should my dog break the command to ‘sit’, then I do a leash correction (yes, the leash should be on, you ordered the pizza you know it’s coming be prepared!) This way the dog realizes he is being corrected for breaking a command not for protecting my home.
Obviously, you need a great sit/stay in order to do this when you are getting pizza delivered. Best bet is to recreate the situation and teach the dog what is expected prior to the ‘pizza test’. Act it out so the dog knows what is expected when the door bell rings. Dogs are creatures of habit so if you have practiced this enough times before you order pizza; the actual ‘pizza test’ should go smooth.
Yes, sometimes they like to hear themselves speak. If you have been neglectful in exercise and training, time to step up your game. Sitting in your home 24 hours a day is not enough socialization or stimulation. Sign up for a training class; put your dog in daycare a few days a week. You are obligated to make sure your dog’s mental and physical needs are met; if he is bored, you have to find a way for him to enjoy himself.
Attention Seeking Barking:
This usually starts when you are housebreaking your puppy. He barks to go out and then realizes you jump to attention when he demands it; so he starts to bark for everything. I handle attention barking just like I do barking for the ‘pizza guy’. If your dog is demanding your attention give it to him. Give him a command and correct for disobedience. Don’t hug, kiss, or treat him; then he wins. Place him in a down/stay and enforce it. Guaranteed that will cure any more barking issues.
Separation Anxiety is a horrible problem to have with your dog. Start educational training with your dog because mental stimulation is important to all dogs In addition, I also recommend doggie daycare for 5 days per week, and then slowly, decrease one day until the anxiety is manageable. Your dog has to be ok being away from you, with humans and dogs they don’t know before he can be ok being alone. Dogs are pack animals and some dogs can’t handle being alone. Doggie Daycare teaches him it’s ok to be away from home and gives the dog enough mental and physical stimulation that he is tired when you do come home but have to leave for awhile. Exercise is used in humans for all forms of anxiety.
Your dogs bark means something, but it all comes down to knowing why your dog barks and having the key to ‘turn the bark off’. The key is Training. Training your dog is an obligation; to your dog, your family, your children, neighbors and society.