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Stop barking: a story of patience and understanding

Once upon a time there was a dog named Max. Max had a powerful voice and he loved using it. He would bark every time he saw a bird, a squirrel, another dog, or even a leaf falling from a tree. Its owners were distraught. They loved Max, but they didn't know how to keep him quiet. This is where I come in. Here's how I helped Max learn not to bark anymore.

Understand why Max barks

The first thing to understand is that dogs bark for a multitude of reasons. They may bark because they are excited, nervous, uncertain, protective, or territorial. Max, for example, often barked out of excitement or boredom. It was important to understand this in order to help him.

The importance of exercise

The first thing I did was make sure Max was getting enough exercise. Exercise is the perfect remedy for barking that occurs out of excitement, boredom or frustration. If you have a particularly energetic dog, like Max, you may need to play fetch with him often or go on long hikes regularly.

Get Max's attention

The next step was to get Max's attention away from whatever was making him bark and towards me. To do this, I used a powerful “currency”: food. A nice piece of turkey did the trick. I communicated to Max, "Look, I have this turkey here. I know you want it and I'll give it to you, but you need to be quiet for a moment."

Gradually raise expectations

At first, I rewarded Max generously for every little moment of silence. But once I had his initial attention, I started to raise my expectations. I asked Max to sit, and once he looked at me or sat, I praised and rewarded him.

Managing difficult situations

For some dogs, like Max when he was particularly excited, using food or toys doesn't work. In these cases, you have to go back to the last situation where the behavior was acceptable. This might mean turning around if they bark at another dog in the street, or even picking them up to calm them down for a moment.

Preventing Barking Before It Happens

The best time to correct unwanted barking is right before it happens. If you spend time with your dog, you'll probably know when he's about to bark. This is a great time to step in, encourage them to look at you, and reward them handsomely for their compliance.

What to do when you're not at home?

There are no humane methods that I know of that allow you to teach your dog when you are not present. However, you can do things like exercise them before leaving the house, which is often the main reason for the barking. You might also consider hiring a doggy daycare if you don't have time to work with them, or having someone come take them out or play a little fetch with them.

What if I want my dog ​​to bark?

I know many of you are thinking, "But I like my dog ​​to bark. What do I do if someone tries to break into my house or if someone is on my property? I want to be alerted." This is quite understandable. In this case, you would do the same thing, but you would let your dog bark a few times before correcting him, as if to say, "Okay, thanks for warning me. I'm okay with some barking. D 'Okay, that's enough now.' And reward them when they are quiet.

In summary

The best way to correct unwanted barking is to:

  1. Bring their attention to you, ideally by correcting the behavior before it happens.
  2. Reward them generously, even for brief moments of compliance.
  3. Demonstrate a lot of patience, time and consistency.

And that's how I helped Max learn not to bark anymore. It took time, patience and consistency, but in the end Max became a much calmer dog and his owners were delighted. And you know what ? You can do the same thing with your dog. All it takes is a little patience and understanding.

Romeo - Dog Educator

Partner Tao-K9

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