Barking Dog: The Curse and The Cure
Dogs bark to communicate – that’s natural but come on, barking dogs can be a down right nuisance and an embarrassment at the front door and at other times as well – for the owner. Nuisance barking is just hard on everyone.
Curb the barking sooner than later because the longer you wait, sometimes the harder it is to stop. I’ve had a number of dog problems lately where I’ve needed to focus on barking dogs and I wanted to share a technique that I’ve used and got good results with over my dog training years.
You can actually put your dogs on a cue so that when they hear a whistle, they quit barking and they come to you. This technique to stop barking dogs, is deceptively easy. You will find, if you use this, that you will be yelling a lot less at your dogs. In fact, you’ll probably not have to yell at all. What a concept!
If you can’t whistle loudly, buy a whistle at Academy with a lanyard and practice with a soft whistle at first – two soft blasts = food treats. No Milk Bone cookies here- yummy treats!. The whistle should mean a “high value” dog food treat is coming quickly! I like to use either my Lamb Loaf sausage or chicken. Either one of these really gets my dogs attention.
First step: Begin by building value to the whistle. Start off with two soft blasts followed by, “Here doggies!” then drop a jackpot of food treats(the valuable item) at their feet (make sure they don’t fight over food.) Do this multiple times. Later on when you are in another room, repeat the exercise – “double whistle” then, “Here doggies!” to see if your dogs find you. If they do, drop a jackpot of high value food treats in front of them. Your dogs will really love this game! You’ll be the coolest Mom or Dad on the planet!
Repeat the exercise many times during the evening and on weekends. If you practice before mealtimes, they will be even more motivated! In multiple dog households, you might find it more productive to work one or two dogs at a time.
I’d even use the whistle to call them in from playing in the back yard! Those of you who have always had trouble getting their dogs in from the back yard – this is your big opportunity!
Think of as many other distractions that you can to whistle them off of – like if they are behind the driveway gate barking at people/dogs passing by. Some dogs like upstairs sitting in a window barking at people/dogs going by. These are built in distractions that, if you’ve done your homework, your dogs should be more than willing to break away from their alert-barking activities for some of your great grilled chicken.
Once you have conditioned your dog(s), now is the time to begin your real life set ups with the doorbell. You will need a friend or family member to assist with the doorbell ring. The idea is that the doorbell rings, you whistle twice – you say, “Here doggies!” and your dogs get conditioned to ignore the door bell and come to you knowing they will get a high value “jackpot” of food treats! The whistle can be blown as loud as you need to interrupt the barking.
So not only have you solved a barking issue at the front door, but you are also developing a really good come command as well!
Please comment below and tell us about your barking dog problem. We’re happy to answer your questions.
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Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000 clients. Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years. One of his clients says it best: There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant. Jane Wagner
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