November 20, 2009, Newsletter Issue #314: Expectations: Barking

Tip of the Week

EVERY dog will bark - it is their natural job to do so.
We humans have expectations in regards to barking and dogs... and believe they frequently bark when they are not supposed to.  Many of the frequencies of sound are above (or below) the human ear to hear.  For example - electronic garage door openers, key locks on cars, some radio band frequencies commonly used, etc.  So just because you can't hear the sound, that doesn't mean your dog can't!
If you notice persistent, unwanted barking observe what is going on around your dog when it occurs.  Is the garage door opener used by a neighbor as they pull into their driveway?  Does your dog bark a few seconds before you hear that garage door being raised?  Is the speaker on your TV or HDTV sound system sitting on the floor, vibrating in on your dog's level as they lay by your feet asleep, causing them to wake up and start barking without warning?  These are all things to look for, discover and remove prior to blaming the dog for 'unneeded barking' and becoming a problem.
If you can find no reason for unnecessary barking (and there is a difference between alert barking - there is someone at the door barking - and unnecessary barking), use a trick from us dog trainers.  Fill several squirt bottles with water and position them around your house in easy reach.  The second your dog starts this type of barking, squirt them in the hindquarters with a sharp "NO BARK" command (hopefully he already knows the NO command).  It will startle them, not hurt them physically, but re-channel the behavior.  With repitition, dogs quickly learn when they bark for this reason, they will get wet and startled from behind.
But what happens when you are not at home and in easy reach of this training tool?  Citronella collars are readily available on the Internet and in most reputable pet stores.  Attached to the neck, the mechanism lies beneath the dog's throat and when vibrated by the sound of the bark, shoots a small stream of citronella spray outwards.  It achieves the same goal - when a dog barks, they smell a scent they don't like.   I recommend this collars only in extreme cases however and they should not be used 24/7 for a dog as they lose their effectiveness as a training tool otherwise.
The best advice is to become a 'pet detective' and figure out why your dog is barking first, then to be a great pet owner and eliminate the barking trigger; finally to work via training and re-train the reaction to the sound.  Allow times for your dog to bark (and bark on command), for this is their natural way.
In the end, TOGETHER, you and your dog can overcome an unnecessary barking habit with just a bit of work!  And it will be MUCH quieter too!

About LifeTips

Now one of the top on-line publishers in the world, LifeTips offers tips to millions of monthly visitors. Our mission mission is to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Expert writers earn dough for what they know. And exclusive sponsors in each niche topic help us make-it-all happen.

Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Dog Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Jolyn Wells-Moran