It’s true. I admit it. In the past, I would often times catch myself barking (hollering) like a dog at my dogs when I heard them barking. But hey, most folks are just as guilty as me for joining in on the barking dog action.
The difference is I should know better, and I do. But, sometimes I just forget – actually I think a better description is that my yelling is often a “knee-jerk” reaction
to my dogs barking because it catches me off guard.
Do you yell at your dog thinking, “I’ll give that dog a piece of my mind!” ? In this case, yelling at your dog just confirms to your dog that you are the “top barking dog” in the pack – and who knows, your dog may, in your absence, begin to vocalize with even more enthusiasm when you are gone!
Some dog owners use punishment in an effort to quiet their dog and gain some peace of mind.
In this case, if the dog settles down, it is probably more because of associating their owner’s tone of voice with a fear of impending punishment –
especially if punishment had been experienced before. Rather than the dog stops because he knows better.
I know if I had been previously whacked with a newspaper for barking, I’d be headed for the next room!
So now you gotta be thinking, “If yelling is not a good way to correct my dog, then what do I do to actually stop my dog from barking?
To stop your dog, there are a couple of things that need to happen that do not involve yelling:
- Your mus stop or seriously curtail the barking
- and second, find and eliminate the cause of the barking.
For example, if the dog is barking in the back yard, keep it inside while you are working on exercises to eliminating this.
Many dogs have been banned to the back yard because of house soiling or destructive issues inside the house. The easy solution for these problems
was to put the dog in the back yard.
But, this just created your barking dog problem. You might find that dealing with the inside problem is often much easier than having to address an outside barking problem.
Here’s a program to fix your barking dog. A Six-Week Program
If your dog barks at something when you are home, quietly call him to you (use a leash or long line if necessary to reinforce the come command) and ask for a sit, then a down and then another sit.
Praise your dog and release your dog to resume normal activities. If he barks again, repeat the exercise.
If at any point you think his barking warrants checking things out, then do so and quietly return to your previous activities.
BUT you must be persistent with this routine for 6 weeks. This is what will stop your dog from constant barking and should provide you with a dog that will bark once or twice and then look to you to check things out. This is the beginnings of creating a good watchdog!
This exercise is presuming you have developed a strong leadership role with your dog and that your dog is good at performing come, sit and down with outside distractions.
We tend to communicate more verbally with our dogs. Words are just noise to dogs and when you add negative emotional energy because you are mad, that tends to complicate their world and create undue stress and anxiety. It is true that dogs can learn command words
Bill Campbell, a noted animal behaviorist, puts it like this:
“In the non-verbal world of dogs, silence means quiet, inaction begets stillness and movement stimulates action. The fact that this obvious facet of non-verbal communication must be written or talked about to gain attention among dog owners further points up the extreme verbal orientation of humans.”
Remember not to yell or scream at your dog as a way to correct. Keep your negative emotions out of the correction.
Instead, be calm and do the exercises mentioned above.
Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as your are the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”