Do you wonder why your dog barks at everything he/she sees? Here are two reasons why, and how to stop the barking.
#1 The Fearful Barker
The fearful barker barks at everything he sees and hears because he has no confidence. He is a firm believer that the best offense is a good defense!
So, if in doubt, he will bark and try to scare it away. Often his ears go back, tail tucks and he may run up to threaten and then back up to get away. If this behavior is allowed, it becomes his coping mechanism. And, honestly, he thinks this behavior is working.
He may threaten the mailman or the squirrel running up the tree outside and once he is done with his “display”, many of these distractions or “triggers” are gone. He thinks he has done his job and frightened them away, but the truth is that most triggers leave on their own after a period of time.
The bad thing is that this belief rewards and conditions the behavior. Meaning, it will continue and get worse unless it is put in check. This dog needs to have his confidence raised, by teaching him to work through his fears.
A confident dog is a good dog! And, even if you will never have a dog that is confident enough to conquer everything and all environments, you will end up with a better dog that has more coping mechanisms.
#2 The Dominant Barker
This dog will probably look a lot like the above dog, except for body language.
A fearful dog that barks at a falling leaf will look nervous and the pitch of his bark is likely higher. The dominant dog that barks at the falling leaf will be stiff and forward facing with erect ears and tail and he will be lunging toward the noise. Neither is optimal.
I have never known anyone that was killed by a leaf. Nor do I want a dog that thinks I am incapable of taking care of myself and him. In my house, I AM IN CHARGE.
First off, if I owned a dog like this I would want control of his mouth. I teach all of my dogs to bark and be quiet on command, so I can request that whenever I want. This is the ultimate way to get your dog to be quiet.
I mean, if you can’t ask your dog to be quiet, how are you going to deal with most situations.
Obedience is the key.
Simply put, I am not going to allow you to bark at everything.
If you can’t handle leaves falling and squirrels running up the trees, or you are trying to hurl yourself through the window at passers-by, then you aren’t going to have much access to the window. I will put you on leash, and you will follow me wherever I go.
You will also learn some boot camp type of obedience. You WILL learn to sit and lay down on command, and you WILL learn to focus on me when I tell you to! No longer will you be allowed to run around the house and dominate anyone and everyone, including me.
And, if you bark…you lose a privilege. You may go outside, in a crate, or do a long down stay on your “place” or bed.
The world should not be controlled by the sound of your voice. And, just like the dog in the first example, this dog is also rewarded for his own barking. The same things happen; the mailman goes away, the squirrels disappear, the leaf in the air is gone.
The dog is rewarding himself with negative behavior. And, that reward needs to be taken away.
This isn’t going to be easy.
Sticking to your old regimen and not being consistent will set you both up for failure.
But, keeping your furry companion with you and teaching him obedience and how to control himself will teach him that he can also be in control of his impulse to bark and run his mouth!
As always, be consistent. If the dog makes a mistake, it must be immediately addressed so old habits can be broken and new habits forged.
With some time and effort, you can stop your dog’s barking at EVERYTHING!
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