Why Does My Dog Bark?
All dogs bark. It is one of the ways they communicate. Some bark to alert, initiate play, or tell you they are stressed. What triggers your dog to bark? Are you OK with one bark as long as they stop when told? Is your dog barking excessively?
Before you can stop the barking, you need to decipher why your dog barks in the first place. Your job is to figure out why he does it and if it is bothersome, do something about it! If you know what motivates your dog to bark, be creative and think of ways to change that motivation. By preventing the barking, you no longer have an unwanted behavior to work on. Instead, you have shaped your dog into giving you the behavior you like - nice quiet behavior.
I don't mind if my dog barks to alert me someone is at my house. I actually appreciate it. I don't however like my dog to continually bark. One bark is enough. So I taught him the "QUIET" cue.
To teach "QUIET", use your puppies trigger to get him to bark, such as ringing the door bell or knocking on the door, etc. or telling your puppy to "SPEAK" if he knows that cute. As soon as he barks say, "QUIET" and wave a yummy treat in front of his nose to capture his attention and divert it off the barking trigger. Wait for two seconds of silence then mark, "YES" and give a treat. Finally, repeat but wait for 10 seconds of silence before marking, "YES" and treating. We want to make sure your puppy gets rewarded for the silence cue and he knows it. Repeat several times at each interval before pushing to the next, being sure your puppy is successful quiet for the given amount of time desired! Work up to a minute of silence! Pairing the prevention/management with the training is a powerful combination.
For more training tips check out Baxter & Bella's online puppy school by clicking here.