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5 TIPS FOR HANDLING NUISANCE BARKING

Remember, barking is natural!  It's an important means of communication for dogs. But sometimes problems can develop.  As the pack leader, it's your job to step in and control excessive barking.

  1. Correct and follow through! Tell your dog to stop barking using a look, a sound, or a physical correction. But don't stop there. Your dog may pause and then go right back to what he was doing. His body relaxed, but his brain was still on alert. Be patient. Wait until your dog completely submits before you go back to what you were doing.
     
  2. Make sure you are calm! Constant barking can be irritating, but you won't be able to correct the problem if you are frustrated. Animals don't follow unbalanced leaders. In fact, your dog will mirror your energy. If you're frustrated, he will be, too! And barking is a great release for that frustrated energy. Take a moment to curb your own internal barking first.
     
  3. Stake your claim! Is your dog barking over and over again at the same object, person, situation, or place? Then you need to step up and claim that stimulus as your own. Use your body, your mind, and your calm-assertive energy to create an invisible wall that your dog is not allowed to cross. Do it with 100% dedication and focus, and the results may surprise you.
     
  4. Give your dog more challenges! Excessive barking is often the result of pent-up energy. If this is the case, the solution is simple: release that energy in more productive ways. Does your dog receive a daily walk? Can you make the walk more challenging with a bicycle, a backpack, or by walking on an incline? Can you provide more mental challenges, such as herding, agility training, or simple obedience games? There are many, many ways to increase the challenges in your dog's life. Find one that you enjoy that your dog can participate in safely.
     
  5. Get professional help. When you brought this dog into your life, you made a commitment to provide the care he needs. This includes calling in a canine professional to help him cope with a behavior issue. Get tips for finding the right professional.

Learn more about Nuisance Barking in the 5th Volume of the Mastering Leadership DVD Series, Common Canine Misbehaviors.