There is little not to love about keeping a dog, including moments when s/he is most excited as we all know, when this is the case, dogs tend to bark. While this is a natural act for a dog, too much or badly-timed barking can be intrusive (especially when aimed at friends or strangers!). Here then are some Wuf tips to cut back on barking when you least want it.
If your friend gets used to barking a lot when a pup, it can be harder to change the habit. Train your dog to respond to your command.
Getting him to respond to a word like ‘quiet’ or ‘hush’ when it starts barking is a key to controlling his barking. Have treats ready while you make a noise (perhaps closing the door loudly), use your fingers to signal. Sometimes dogs respond more quickly to visual ones than to sounds.
Make sure not to shout, keeping as calm and zen-like as you can. Too much movement and noise from you will stimulate him/her to bark even more. Reward with a treat, but make sure he stops barking before you give the reward.
When on guard
When an animal or another person comes into an area that your dog considers its lair, then this can stimulate a lot of barking (e.g. while waiting by the window, eying passers-by or in the garden eying the delivery guy!).
- Ask your dog to do something else. If she starts barking, you can order her to do something that makes barking difficult to do. This all starts in training. Throwing a treat or two will also help!
- Cut down on what is visible, e.g. keep blinds and curtains down, or create more of a built-up fence area in the garden.
- Train to stay in one place when someone comes inside your house.
When home alone
If your dog barks when left alone, this might be because of separation anxiety. Where possible, leave him in a quiet room – somewhere where he isn’t going to be excited by noises and sights outside. When you come back, give it the walk and attention it needs from you.
You could also leave a familiar object to play/be with; something that reminds him of playing with you, whether it be an old rag or a WufWuf dino toy.
In more extreme cases, separation anxiety may cause compulsive barking. You may then need to contact a specialist for advice.