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Solving excessive barking

Posted February 19, 2014 in Advice Column, Downtown

One of the biggest complaints I hear from pet owners about their pets is excessive barking. Dogs bark for many reasons. Barking is a dog’s natural response to changes in its environment. A dog should be allowed to bark as long as it’s a reasonable amount. However, it can become a problem when Fido barks at everything and everybody. Then it’s time to take action.

Training is the best way to correct this unacceptable behavior. One of the training methods to curb barking is to teach your pet how to start and stop barking on command. First, train your pooch to “speak” for a treat. Praise him when he responds with a bark. After a few barks, let him know “enough” in a calm, firm voice. Immediately give your dog a treat. It will be hard for your dog to bark with a treat in his mouth. Give your pet praise for being quiet.

You can utilize this training exercise when your pet has barking episodes. For example, let’s say your dog starts barking when someone comes to your front door. First, praise your pooch for alerting you to the door. Then, tell him “enough” and provide him with a treat when he stops. Always make sure to give him lots of praise for barking at the right time and then for stopping when told.

It will take some time for your training to work. Be patient and persistent. It will pay off in the end and result in a happier pooch and quieter household.

Information provided by Carrie Bonnett, owner, Downtown Doggy Daycare, 724 Scott St., Des Moines, 288-0957.

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