Solutions to Problematic Dog Barking

Experts offer solutions for excessive barking.

By | Posted: Mon Sep 23 00:00:00 PDT 2002

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Attention Seeking
These dogs have discovered they get attention (positive or negative) from their owners if they continue barking. Instead of picking up a dog, petting it or yelling at it to stop barking, ignore the barking and refocus the dog's attention, possibly by startling it.

The key is to avoid paying attention to the dog while it is barking. Avoid eye contact. When it stops barking, give the dog a treat or some other reward, praising it for being quiet.

In all cases, spend at least a half-hour to an hour each day walking and playing with your dog, Kovary said. "They need stimulating environments and to have time with their owners."

Sometimes, training doesn't work. Whether the reason is the dog's personality (some dogs are more prone to bark), or the owner's inability to provide consistent instruction, other methods are available:

Citronella Collars
A citrus-like spray is suddenly spritzed under the dog's chin when it barks. "It monopolizes the dog's senses," Kovary said. "It hears the spritz sound, sees some of the spray and smells the odor." Many owners who work outside the home use this method.

Shock Collars
The dog receives a small, harmless shock when it barks. Typically the dog stops barking after only a couple of shocks.

Debarking
This surgical procedure removes the dog's vocal chords. The dog is left with a whispery-sounding bark. Most trainers, veterinarians and owners see this method as a last resort.

Medication
Certain breeds, such as terriers and Toy Poodles, tend to be naturally anxious. While working on changing their behavior, Virga suggested treating the dog with an anxiety medication such as Clomicalm or Comfort Zone with D.A.P. "The medication is a supporter during treatment," he said. "The goal is to get the dog weaned after it learns to function without such anxiety-provoked responses as excessive barking."

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Bernadine   Tehachapi, CA

4/19/2009 2:45:07 PM

I liked pages 1 & 2 but page 3 is harsh in my opinion. Pages 1 & 2 are informative, thanks.

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