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Puppies and dogs, as mentioned, are social creatures. When they don't get the attention they need, then a bark is their method of telling you something. It's your job to figure out the reasons behind the barking and then ease the tension of whatever is causing your puppy or dog to do so. At the same time, you are also teaching him that barking (in certain situations) isn't acceptable behavior. If you do not take such training seriously, you may not get thrown out of the neighborhood, but you may receive a visit from the police regarding animal ordinances!
There are a lot of reasons why your dog might be barking. First, he might be lonely or bored. There are distinctive barks for these feelings. If he barks at random and whines shortly after, this might be the case. Be sure that you give your dog plenty of attention each day. Groom, pet, hug and play games with him too. If there are certain days where you might be too busy, try hiring a dog walker, neighbor or even a doggy daycare clinic to help attend to the needs of your animal.
Your dog could be frustrated. Is there a squirrel that taunts the dog while he's outside or a cat that climbs around the shrubs? If it's something like this, he is simply operating from instinct. When your dog barks, repeat, "NO BARK" and give him a chew toy instead to occupy him until you can take care of the matter.
Is your dog hungry or thirsty? Be sure your dog's basic needs are met. Even humans get grumpy and out of whack when they're hungry and tired. Should you expect any less from your canine? Is your dog requesting you for some other reason?
Your dog could be scared of something. Is there a loud sound in the distance? Your neighbor could be using a chainsaw or other yard machinery that intermittingly causes your dog frustration.
If you cannot get rid of the cause of the bark, you may want to try a couple of other methods for controlling your dog's barking behavior. First, try the squirt bottle method. When your dog barks, immediately squirt him in the face with clean water. It's unpleasant and he'll quickly associate barking with water in the face. Be sure to use the correct timing. If he barks and you squirt him in the face five minutes later, there will be no association and the barking will only continue.
Another method widely use is specialized collar that emits an odor (usually citronella) when the dog barks. This is effective if you're not home during parts of the day or night. Be sure to never use shock collars and never use surgical means (that are available) to 'debark' your dog. Other than that, give your dog toys and keep him indoors when you're not at home. Play games outdoors such as fetch and Frisbee. Be sure to teach him the "QUIET" command.
Try attending obedience classes with your dog. He'll learn to socialize more once the tension from the new environment around other dogs subsides. And, don't forget to neuter (or spay) your pet. This will decrease his territorial desires.
If the barking is still uncontrollable, you might consider talking to your vet. There could be something wrong or irritating your dog, such as the food you're using. Barking is quite natural, but it's your job to teach him when and where is an appropriate time. He is, after all, just trying to communicate something to you, his loveable owner!
About the Author:
Tina Spriggs is an expert dog lover whose lifelong interest in canines provides the motivation for her site. To learn more about dogs or to find gifts and toys for them visit her site at Dog Gifts and Toys for Dog Lovers.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.
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