Behavior Tip of the Month
My dog barks and whines all the time, even in the house. I've tried yelling "no bark" but she barks even more. I need some peace and quiet. Can you help me?
Barking is genetically programmed into most dogs. After all, they are descended from wolves who need to alert their pack when danger threatens.
Similar to the wolf pack, most pet owners want their dogs to alert them when strangers approach. However, some dogs take their jobs too seriously and bark all the time. It's our job as responsible dog owners to TEACH them when to bark and when not to bark.
Unfortunately, barking "No Bark!" at your dog is meaningless to her if she hasn't learned what those words mean. You need to teach her the command "HUSH". The best way to do this is to start backwards by putting her barking on cue. Thus, teach her the command "speak" or "alert".
1. Take your dog and some delicious treats to the front door.
2. Ring the doorbell.
3. When your pup barks, instantly say "speak" and pop a food treat in her mouth.
4. Do this every hour until you can say "speak" and your canine will bark without you having to ring the doorbell.
5. Say "speak" in various locations of the house. Always praise and treat when your pup barks on command.
Now on to teaching "Hush".
1. Go back to step 1 above. This time when you say "speak" and your dog barks, hold the food treat in your fist under her nose and say "hushhhhhh". Delay giving her the treat for 1 second. She will stop barking because she is fixated on the treat. After 1 second, give her the treat.
2. Every hour repeat this and extend the interval between "hush" and giving the food. Work up to 10 seconds of quiet.
3. When your pup will "speak" and "hush" on cue, do it in different rooms of the house.
I like to add hand signals since dogs are not verbal animals. They learn best if you use body language.
Start using "Hush" when your dog is barking inappropriately. When she obeys, always reward her with play, petting, praise, walks, an occasional treat or anything she loves.
However, you need to be aware that just knowing the meaning of the command "hush" does not guarantee that all dogs will obey all the time. Next month we will deal with how to get your canine to "hush" consistently even when he doesn't want to.
Until then, keep training and hopefully the bark will stop here.
Best Friend Behavior Counseling and Training
San Diego, Ca.
"Positively teaching pets and their people since 1977"
Do you have a question for Carole? You can reach her at this email address - firstname.lastname@example.org Perhaps she will use it in an upcoming article on this Web site.
The information contained on this site is in no way intended to replace that of proper veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment.
It is meant to provide resource, so that we can better understand canine health related issues.