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Barking: How and When to Make it Stop - By Dawn Watson, ABC Mentor Trainer & Owner of Brother of the Wolf LLC

Saturday, January 30, 2010 : 12:07:57 PM
Updated Thursday, August 18, 2011 : 9:58:57 AM
Some folks think that barking dogs are a nuisance. Others ignore the noise to the dismay of their neighbors. But however you feel about Mans’ Best Friend’s verbal greetings there are a few simple ways to make those howling noises stop on cue! First and foremost dogs should not be left alone in a yard to bark at everyone and everything! There are noise ordinances out there and they cover everything from singing Josh Grobin at 6 AM, to shouting out in the ‘hood after a visit to a friendly tavern, to the aforementioned endless barking of your dog. But how do you know when to make the dog stop howling? My suggestion is to make him stop before the cops come knocking at your door! Seriously, after the first few “Woofs”, tell your dog, “QUIET!” He will look at you as if you’re a maniac but he will stop barking! Quickly praise him by saying, “Good quiet!” You’ll be amazed at how easily he will learn what you mean. Another way is to teach him to ‘speak’ by saying, “Speak!” followed quickly by your interpretation of his bark: ‘WOOF’. The exercise will go like this: You: Speak! Woof! Speak! Woof! Speak! Woof!
Fido: (head tilted to the side) Err?? Soon, Fido will be wagging his tail and thinking you’re his best buddy but eventually he will respond with a happy, ‘WOOF!’ Now we’re getting somewhere! Try this part of the exercise 5 or 6 times until Fido responds every time you say, “Speak”. When this part of the exercise is perfected go back to making him stop barking. If he barks without your cue, tell him, “QUIET!” Soon, he will begin to associate the two and will speak only when told to speak! Be consistent and patient. Dogs respond very well to positive reinforcement so keep those biscuits handy. Never hit or “pop the leash” on your dog. It doesn’t work and aggression breeds aggression. Eventually your dog will fight back and that’s how shelter dogs are created! If you are overwhelmed or feel you are not making progress please give me a call or drop me an email; there is never a charge for a phone or email consultation at Brother of the Wolf!

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