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Healthy Dogs

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Why Dogs Bark and Curbing Excessive Barking

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How to Treat Excessive Barking continued...

Once your pet is doing this reliably, start opening the door while he’s in his spot.

Once you can open the door and your dog will stay in his spot, have someone actually come in the door. Of course your dog will break from the spot at first, but with time and practice, he’ll learn to stay in his spot when the door opens and guests come in.

Never reward your dog for barking at you when you come home. Do not pet him or even make eye contact until your dog stops barking and sits quietly. Then acknowledge him and praise him.

Attention seeking: Never reward barking. If your dog barks when he wants water, and you fill the dish, you’ve taught him to bark to get what he wants. If he barks to go outside, it’s the same. So teach him to ring a bell you tied to the door handle to go out. Bang the water dish before filling it, and maybe he’ll start pushing it with his nose to make the same noise. Find ways for your dog to communicate without barking.

If he barks and you see his dish is empty, wait a few minutes, go do something else, then fill it, so he won’t know his barking was effective.

Remember not to scold your pet. For a dog, that’s still considered attention. The key is to ignore your dog and what he wants, until he stops barking.

Separation Anxiety/Compulsive Barking: Separation anxiety and compulsive barking are both difficult to treat and should be handled with the help of a veterinary behaviorist or a certified applied animal behaviorist. Dogs with these problems often need drug therapy to help them cope while learning new, more acceptable behaviors.

Bark Collars. Should you use one?

There are a number of products on the market that promise to stop barking quickly. Collars that go on your dog can deliver audible or ultrasonic corrections to your dog, but they aren’t effective on all dogs. Citronella-spraying collars often work, but some dogs learn they can run them out of spray and then bark at will.

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