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Blog posts from February 2014

Posted on February 27, 2014

Help! My dog is barking!

Help! My dog is barking!

What to do and how to make it stop

Barking is an important form of communication

Dogs bark as way to 'talk' with other dogs and communicate with us. In your house, your dog uses his super-sensitive awareness, hearing, sense of smell...to alert the pack of possible danger. At the same time, barking serves the purpose of telling the intruder they've been noticed.

Excessive barking is a problem

Barking is like crying or yelling in humans – too much barking is a sign of stress or some kind of problem.

A dog who barks all the time is probably not feeling confident. Take the time to understand why your dog is barking and teach him to be calm and relaxed – a Zen Dog!

What to do when your dog is barking

Determine why your dog is barking.

  • Is your dog barking because he is Nervous or Overly Protective?
  • Is your dog barking to Demand Attention or ‘Ask’ for something?
  • Is your dog barking because he's Angry and Upset?

Typical reasons for barking:

  • Barking to Communicate with us (Asking)
  • Barking to Demand Attention
  • Barking out of Fear or Uncertainty
  • Protective Barking or “Acting tough”
  • Alert barking – letting us know they hear something (Warning)
  • Barking when left alone – usually accompanied with howling
  • Barking out of Excitement
  • Frustrated barking
  • Aggressive Barking

With so many different kinds of barking there is no simple solution! In fact, sometimes if you act mad or angry you will only make things worse because your dog needs to feel calm and relaxed. However, you should not let barking go for more than 5-10 seconds!

Have a Training Plan!

Coping Strategy – When you have time to train make it a “training moment”
Interrupt and Manage – When there’s NOT time to train, stop the barking and manage
Refocus – Ideally, you can teach your dog to listen to you during stressful situations

What NOT to do:

  • Do NOT correct or punish your dog if he’s barking because he’s nervous, scared or fearful. You can’t ‘correct’ him for being scared -- you want him to trust you and feel safe.
  • If your dog seems too worked up. Do NOT try to train! He’s probably overwhelmed, quickly but gently get him out of there. (See: Interrupt and Manage)
  • Do NOT to overdo it. The idea is that you should sound self-confident and in control. Repeating commands, sounding angry or talking too much hurts more than it helps.

Need More Help?

If you want to learn more about Coping Strategies, Interrupting and Managing, or Refocusing contact Zen Dog Training.