I hate to give away my secrets, but these techniques really do work when you give them a little time. Dogs aren’t mind readers and we certainly can be stubborn, but you just have to be a little more stubborn.
#1. Stop Yelling At Me!
When you yell at me for barking it’s like you’re barking right back at me. And when you do that, I’ve gotten exactly what I want (well, 99% of the time) - and that is your attention.
What you’ll actually want to do is completely ignore me until I take a quick break. Then use that brief moment to distract me and reward me for being quiet. If I start barking again, back away and stop with the treats.
Whatever you do, avoid the urge to yell because that will just fuel the fire. Do your best to ignore me (go in the other room if you have to) even though I’m driving you nuts.
As soon as I’m quiet again, call me over and give me positive attention again. If you don’t happen to have pocketful of treats, I’ll happily accept some ear rubs with a whole lotta “good boy” praises!
#2. Teach Me to Bark!
Seriously… Teach me how to bark on command, and it will be SO much easier to teach me when to be quiet! This “trick” only takes a few minutes to start learning and works best with hand signals. Make sure to pick hand signals that will be easy for both of us to remember.
Now, get excited because we’re about to do something great here! Pick a hand signal, say “speak!” and encourage me to bark. As soon as I bark, give me a treat and praise. Repeat this several few times until I seem to have the hang of it. The goal is for me to wait to bark until you tell me to speak.
Now do the exact opposite. While I’m barking say “Quiet,” then treat & praise once I stop. Practice this often and stay consistent - very soon you’ll have one quiet pooch on your hands. My people learned this trick in one of those fancy-schmancy dog schools. It’s actually pretty fun!
#3. Let’s Get Moving!
You probably won’t want to hear this, but we both need more exercise. We don’t need a 10-mile marathon run - a relaxed walk around the neighborhood will do nicely. And on top of the physical activity, the mental stimulation is absolutely divine! This gives me a chance to check up on the neighborhood and investigate any exciting new smells.
Even a short walk every day will help keep me from behaving badly because I have something to look forward to. Like your kids, us canines thrive on daily routines.
A good old fashioned game of fetch or tug is great too. I know I have 100 toys laying around the house, but they aren’t much fun when I’m home alone. I want you to play with me!
There are a million things that can make us bark, but most likely we just need a little entertainment. A bored dog will be a naughty dog, but a tired dog is a good dog! It’s a win-win for everyone.