VET TIPS: Getting a dog’s barking under control
May 18, 2017
Editor's note: This column was originally published May 2014 by The Union.
Q: My dog barks incessantly when strangers walk by the yard. Is there a way to discourage such behavior?
A: Dogs have a lot to say, and they do it by barking. They bark to go out, come in, to tell you a stranger's in your yard, and at people, cars, and other animals.
Now that summer is here, everyone is outside and dogs can get pretty worked up. Too much barking or barking at inappropriate times can be a problem.
You want to be respectful of your neighbors as well as local laws, so you need to get your dog's barking under control.
If he barks at people or animals passing by the living room window, manage his behavior by closing the curtains or putting your dog in another room.
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If he barks at passersby when he's in the yard, bring him into the house. Never leave your dog outside unsupervised all day and night.
Always remember to keep these tips in mind while training:
Don't yell at your dog to be quiet — it just sounds like you're barking along with him.
Keep your training sessions positive and upbeat.
Be consistent so you don't confuse your dog. Everyone in your family must apply the training methods every time your dog barks inappropriately.
You can't let your dog get away with inappropriate barking sometimes and not others.
Make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration.
Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.
Grass Valley Veterinary Hospital's Mace Dekker, DVM, will answer questions regarding pets. Have a question? Submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org, attention Dr. Dekker.