Barking as an Attempt to Communicate
This natural behavior is what dogs use to relate to their pack.
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To be fair to the dog, if he enjoys retrieving, he should be given ample opportunities to play fetch with you at your convenience. Once he understands that you'll play the fetch game with him, he'll be a lot less likely to pester you when it's not convenient for you to play with him.
For the very stubborn dog who will not give up, you can always give him some time out in his crate, say five or ten minutes. Once released from time out, praise him lightly and return to your previous activity as you ignore the dog. Sooner or later, he will learn that getting you to do something he wants does not come without a price. He either obeys your commands or finds himself in time out, neither of which he cares to do.
As time goes by and with proper responses to his behavior, he'll develop habits that suit you and satisfy him as well. Playing a game of fetch with a toy is fun when you are the one who initiates the game or when the dog brings you his toy and sits quietly until you can play with him. For sure, he'll learn that barking unnecessarily gets him nowhere.
Next step: Barking Out of Excitement
Reprinted from Better Dog Behavior © 2004. Permission granted by Kennel Club Books, an imprint of BowTie Press.
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