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Dogs Must Communicate - But You Can Control Their Bark

Aug 17, 2007
Dogs communicate with barks, and if your dog is barking, there is usually a reason for it. Dogs may hear something that we can't, or they may just bark out of boredom, he may bark just to stay busy!

If you give your dog lots of exercise, toys, attention and have made your yard very interesting teaching him not to bark should be fairly simple.

Start his training with his collar and leash. If he barks, pull on the leash with a sharp jerk, and a firm 'no' will show him that his barking is wrong.

Graduate to the more advanced methods of training if it is necessary. Gradually a firm 'no' will be the only correction that is needed, and your neighbors will be lots happier!

If he barks only when you are not home, try leaving your radio on a chat station, this may convince him that you are there and keep him quiet.

If this fails, tape a normal family discussion one evening, (you will need a continuous play record to use this method). Every once in a while, throw in the word 'no'.

When you leave, play the recording, it will remind him that there is always someone around, and that he isn't supposed to bark.

If all else fails, pretend you are leaving the house for the time. Be very precise with your actions, even jingling the keys to make him think you have locked the door.

You will need to be a really good actor as dogs are very perceptive, and will pick up on it if you aren't.

Have a cut lemon handy, when he begins to bark, open the door and say a sharp 'no', then put a drop of lemon or some other bitter liquid on his tongue. This will have to be done numerous times to get the point across to him. It takes time, but is well worth the effort.

A barking dog is a superb protection and an outstanding burglar alarm, but you need the ability to control the barking.

If you do not train your dog to bark only at the appropriate times (fire alarms, noise from the window and when approached by strangers), your neighbors are likely to resent your best friend, and you because you fail to control your dog.

If you are training your dog to be protection for you, teach him the guard command rather than speak. An intruder or someone who is threatening you will not know exactly how much your dog knows about protection and it is an excellent deterrent.

This skill does not mean that your dog will actually attack someone, but the barking can be an effective prevention for your safety both inside and outside your home.

To teach your dog to guard or speak, tie his lead to a fence or some other immovable item. Stand about 3 feet away and tease him with a toy or food, when he begins to bark, give him the reward.

Now put the food and toy away and change the treat to verbal praise when he begins to bark. The command guard or speak should be given as soon as the dog barks, the timing is essential here. By watching his body language, you can tell when he is ready to bark.

Once he becomes aware of the guard command, give the quiet command when he is barking; give the reward as soon as he is stops barking. If the barking continues, give the no command.

When he has successfully learned the command, move further away and continue the training, he needs to know and respond to these commands from any distance.

Once this training is successful, untie him from the fence and train him the commands guard and quiet.

You and your neighbors will appreciate this training when they have a peaceful night, and they will learn that if he is barking, there is something wrong.
About the Author
Garland Choate (GR) is a retired Airline Captain who now publishes articles from the USVI. Find many great articles on dog training at http://www.dogtraining.wahwarriors.com
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