Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How To Control Your Hunting Dog’s Barking

If your hunting dog has developed a barking habit, getting it to stop is not going to be easy. However, you can speed up the process if you know some fundamental strategies to controlling dog barking. When a dog has been allowed to learn some of the negative habits that contribute to dog barking, getting it to stop is going to require reconditioning it. It should be noted that it is nearly impossible to get a hunting dog to stop barking completely, and this is not even necessary. With the proper training, a hunting dog will be able to stop barking on your command.
Yelling Does Not Work Because Dogs Love It!
One mistake that many owners make is to yell “Quiet!” at the dog when it is barking. This often results in the dog barking even more! This is because hunting dogs bark to communicate a number of different things, and when you scream at the top of your lungs at them, they think you’re just joining the chorus. Dogs simply cannot understand what human words mean, however there are several methods that are far more effective at stopping dog barking.
Consider the reasons why your dog is barking. Understanding the root cause of barking will help you stop the behavior. There are a variety of reasons why dogs bark. They are usually attempting to communicate a particular emotion or response. Here are the most common reasons why dogs bark:
  • Warning – the dog perceives some type of danger or threat. This is often accompanied by growling.
  • Excitement – dogs will often bark with enthusiasm when they are excited by some one or something.
  • Anxiety – dogs that have separation anxiety have a high pitched bark that is like a whine.
  • Boredom – the dog has pent up energy from not being exercised or is bored from a lack of contact with people or other dogs.
  • Attention Seeking – dogs will bark to get attention, this can be a more high pitched bark or a whining as well.
  • Communication – dogs in the neighborhood bark to each other to communicate and this is a common reason why dogs bark while outside.
Try to pinpoint the reasons why the dog is barking so much. Keep it out of the circumstances that are causing barking. Controlling a dog’s environment is almost as important as controlling the dog itself.
Positive Reinforcement Is Proven To Be Effective
Positive reinforcement, or rewarding good behavior, has been shown to be much more effective than shock collars. Shock collars instill can instill fear and anxiety in a dog, especially when they deliver a strong and painful shock. Rewarding a dog with food or a treat immediately after it stops barking on the calm but stern command “Quiet” is one common form of positive reinforcement. The dog will learn to associate the word “Quiet” with not barking if this is done repeatedly. Also, be sure to say the word “Good!” immediately after it stops barking in a higher pitched and friendly tone.
Other Types of Barking Control Methods
Citronella collars are a more humane type of dog behavior control collar that spray a harmless scent that dogs do not like. Although this is a form of negative reinforcement, the benefit is that it is not painful for the dog.
Never pet or reward a dog for barking. This is a sure way to eliminate all the work you put towards controlling its barking. If anything, take a toy or your own attention away from the dog when it barks. Barking in the vast majority of cases is an undesirable behavior, and it must be consistently reinforced this way.
Exercise has been shown to reduce barking behavior. In many cases dogs bark simply because they have so much pent up energy. A long walk every day might be more effective than anything else at reducing barking.
Avoid leaving your dog alone for long periods of time, as this creates separation anxiety and can cause your dog to start learning barking behaviors. Often dogs will bark while their owners are away out of anxiety and attention seeking.
Similarly do not leave your dog outside for a long period of time, as dogs outside will start to bark simply because they hear other dogs barking or because they want to come indoors.

Learn More About Training Your Dog Not To Bark

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