In today’s post we look at what to do about excessive barking. Dogs bark for many reasons and it would be totally unreasonable to expect them never to bark. Common reasons are excitement, boredom, anxiety, noise disturbance or for attention. To reduce the amount of barking your pup or dog does, you will first need to understand why they are barking, and not allow it to become a habit.
As with all positive reinforcement reward-based training, we focus not on the inappropriate behaviour, but on what we would like them to do instead.
For example, if your pup is barking out the window at a neighbour’s cat, then you could just use your ‘recall’ to get them to come to you for a treat, and reward them for continuing to stay with you until the cat has moved on.
In training, this is called training an incompatible behaviour. Training them to do something that means they can’t do the unwanted behaviour. Your pup can’t bark at the window if they are coming back to you and away from the window.
Likewise a pup can’t bark and hold a ball in it’s mouth. In a situation where your dog is likely to bark, for example someone ringing the doorbell, train your dog to pick up it’s toy or ball when the doorbell rings, and hold it until you answer the door.
Be sure to always reward the behaviour you do want with a treat or a game.