Breaking bad dog habits
Posted by John Dalton

Breaking bad dog habits

Kicking Bad Habits

Excessive Barking
Before I get into stopping excessive barking, you should know why dogs bark:
  1. To express needs
  2. Some dogs are bred to bark
  3. Alerting others of danger
  4. Staking out territory
  5. Excitement
  6. At other animals
  7. Separation anxiety
  8. Trapped
  9. Expressing dominance
  10. Boredom or stress
  11. For attention
  12. Just for fun

If your dog barks, don't yell at it, because you'll just excite it more. However, you shouldn't cuddle or pet the dog, since that makes the dog think that you like when it barks. If your dog is barking its head off outside, don't let it inside until it stops barking, since that would also send a message to the dogs brain to bark a lot.

Barking at the Phone or Doorbell
If your dog barks a lot to a ringing phone or doorbell, you need to get your dog desensitized to it. Your dog may be barking at those noises because it's scared of them. If your dog gets really used to them, however, it'll hardly notice when the phone does start ringing or when someone knocks on the door. How to desensitize the dog is this: You have someone call your phone or ring your doorbell many times. While they're ringing and your dog is going wild, just stay calm and ignore the noises and the dog. If you do this multiple times repeatedly, your dog will realize that those strange noises are nothing to be scared of. If the phone or doorbell ring and your dog is quiet, reward them. If none of this works and your dog is still barking, try changing the type or volume of your phone and/or doorbell.

Dog Barking While your Not at home

If you know that your dog has separation anxiety while your away, you can try the following:

  1. Make sure your dog has fresh water, is well exercised, and has a comfortable place to sleep
  2. If you know your dog has been barking while you were away, try ignoring them for a while when you get home. This will be thought of as punishment in the dog's head.
  3. A Citronella No Bark collar; it sprays citronella in the air when the dog barks. We humans can't really smell citronella, but dogs can, and they don't like it. This can stop your dog's barking too. Don't use it for more than one dog.
bark_dog_collars.jpg <--Citronella No-Bark collar
Dogs Barking for Attention
If your dog is barking for attention, that may mean that you aren't paying enough attention to it. If that's not the case and your dog is just a barker, here's what you can do: When your dog is barking, take a treat and hold it in your hand, and say "Quiet." Keep saying it if they aren't quiet. If they are quiet for a couple seconds, give them the treat and keep reinforcing. This'll let your dog know that you like it better when they're quiet rather then when they're barking. After a lot of practice, you may be able to just say "Quiet" and your dog would be silent.