Why Does My Dog Bark?

Barking is your dog’s way of communicating with your family and other dogs. There are a number of things he may be trying to tell you including:

• “There’s someone at the door.”
• “Wanna play?”
• “My bowl is empty.”
• “It’s time for a walk!”
• “I’m bored.”
• “I miss you.”
• “Help! I’m scared!”
• “This bellyrub feels gooooood!”

How to Manage Barking
If you think your dog needs something like exercise or water in his bowl, call him to you. Have him sit, praise him and then do what he’s asking for; otherwise you’ll be rewarding barking, which will only lead to more barking.

If your dog’s needs are met and he’s still barking, try this: 

• Redirect your dog’s attention. Call him. Ask him to “sit” and “stay.” Reinforce with praise– when he obeys.

• If he does not stop barking (and many dogs won’t at first), clip his leash on and call him to you. Back away from whatever he is barking at, and keep calling until he focuses on you. When he does, praise him.

• You can also teach your dog when to bark and to be quiet. Praise desirable barking and use undesirable barking as a training opportunity to teach “Quiet”. As soon as your dogs stops barking say ”quiet” and immediately praise him. Practice this often until your dog learns the command and he should stop barking when asked to be quiet.

• Leave a radio on for your dog if he barks when left alone. This is good company for him and helps drown out outside noises.

Do’s and Don’ts
• DO make sure your family is giving your dog plenty of exercise and training everyday. A bored dog is more likely to bark.

• DO address barking immediately. If you just believe your dog will “give up” barking eventually and then you attend to him after a bout of prolonged barking, you may inadvertently be training him to bark louder and longer.

• DON’T leave your dog alone in the backyard for long periods; that can cause many dogs to bark.

Please remember — any action to stop barking must be made while the dog is barking. After-the-fact attempts at correction will only confuse your dog. Use a calm, firm voice. Avoid yelling, as your dog may think you are just joining in a barking game.

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