Barking and Your Puppy
When dogs bark it makes them feel powerful and in control of the things that surround them. However, as we all know, barking can be a nuisance that must be controlled in order to keep a happy dog, a happy household, and a happy community. By training your puppy to ‘speak’ on command they will be much less likely to bark without being instructed to do so. Barking can be viewed as a dog’s warning system, so they will bark when they are in need of something such as to be let out to potty, to eat, or to warn your of a disturbance. This behavior should be rewarded, provided the barking is minimal and appropriate. This will teach your dog that barking once or twice to warn you will get them affection, but excessive barking will be ignored.
Dogs should never be left outside unattended. You might think that this is a viable solution while you are away at work or running errands, but the truth is that even leaving your dog alone in a fenced yard will make them feel anxious. Anxiety in this situation may cause your dog to bark excessively or develop other behaviors such as digging or finding other ways to escape the yard.
An easy way to manage dog barking is to understand why the barking is taking place to begin with. Most people experience the problem of a dog barking whenever someone walks by the front window or door. This occurs because dogs are inherently territorial. When a dog barks at someone approaching your window or door, they are simply trying to scare the ‘intruder’ away. Any person walking by your house will continue to walk because they are obviously not scared of a barking dog when the dog is inside a house or fence. However, your dog will not understand this concept. The dog will think that because the person walked away, they must have been scared of their barking. In your dog’s mind, this only reinforces the idea that barking works, so the behavior will continue.
The best way to manage barking behavior is to teach the puppy that baring does NOT work. You will need the help of your friends who your dog is not familiar with in order to teach him not to bark when strangers approach. To accomplish this, simply have these people walk by your house when the dog is looking. When the dog starts barking they should stop in their tracks and simply stand in front of the house. Your dog will realize that the barking is not scaring the ‘intruder’ away, but also that someone standing on the sidewalk is not a threat.
Training a dog not to bark can be tricky and difficult, especially since dogs are generally a great warning system to announce uninvited intruders. There is a very fine line between teaching your dog to behave, yet allowing the dog to remain protective of you and your home. When the puppy exhibits behaviors that are meant to protect you, your family and your home. When your puppy exhibits protective behaviors you should reward them. They will quickly learn the difference between unwanted behavior and allowed protective behavior.
Now that you have taken the time and spent the money to get a new puppy, you must take the time to train them. A well trained dog makes a happy home. You should note that your dog doesn’t have to know a bunch of tricks nor do they have to be perfect. You are probably not training a show dog or a service guide dog, so there is no reason to stress out about making them behave perfectly.
You should try to focus your energy on key behaviors such as housebreaking, walking on leash, and responding to standard commands such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’ and ‘down.’ As you get to know your dog you will quickly find out what their strengths are and will be able to expand on those behaviors along with managing the unwanted behaviors.
Most puppy training can and should be done on your own inside your home. There are dog training classes that you can take to help you get started, however they are only the beginning of the training process. Training requires continued attention and behavior in order for you to train the best possible dog for you, your new puppy and your family.