Ask the Trainer: Excessive Barking

Posted by: admin | June 5, 2012 | Posted in Ask the Trainer, Dog Behavior, Dog Health, Dog Training

QMy dog barks all the time.  I have tried spray bottles, vinegar, and collars but nothing seems to work in the long run.  What do I do?

A: Dogs bark for many reasons: boredom, stress relief, attention, to scare away bad things, and many more.  I think the one thing all these barky dogs can agree on is that they bark because they’re dogs.  Barking is a totally natural behavior in dogs.  It only becomes a problem when it doesn’t fit into the requirements for human living.  Here are some questions to ask if you are having trouble with barking.

1)  Are all of Fido’s needs being met?  Is your dog getting adequate exercise, attention, mental stimulation, and are their housing and feeding requirements being met?  Remember, your dogs needs are determined by your dog and your dog alone.  An active 2 year old Lab needs more exercise and mental stimulation than a 7 year old Cavalier.  If those needs are not being met, then there’s your barking problem.

2)  Is your dog getting “Doggy Time”?  Dogs have to have an outlet for their doggy behaviors.  They have to dig, bark, chew, play and do zoomies somewhere.  If you don’t give them appropriate outlets for their doggy behaviors, they will find inappropriate ones.

So what do we do now?  15 minutes of hard exercise and 2 minutes of training a day goes a really long way towards making most companion dogs happy.  Putting naughty dog behaviors on cue goes even further.  You can put barking, crazy running, digging, and much more on cue.

  1. Simply say “Bark”
  2. Prompt your dog to bark by ringing the doorbell or doing some other bark-inducing behavior
  3. Tell them what a great ferocious watch dog they are
  4. Get them to “Shush” by prompting them into a sit with a food treat
  5. Praise them for being a wonderful quiet dog

Now you have a happy fulfilled dog that only barks on cue!