Let’s be honest about it …. a barking dog can be a big annoyance especially if it is somebody else’s dog and you want to take a Sunday afternoon nap. But what if it is your dog that is making you the most unpopular person in the neighborhood? How do you address it?
Here are some pointers:
- Approach your neighbors and let them know you are working on the problem. If you are at work the whole day, ask your neighbors when the barking starts and when it stops.
- Start training while your dog is still a puppy. To get an old dog to change his behavior can be very hard, as his barking has become a habit. Shih Tzu puppy training is important so that your dog can develop proper social skills; and not irritating people with his barking are part of these skills.
- Determine the cause of your Shih Tzu’s excess barking. Dogs bark for the following reasons: boredom, separation anxiety, protecting their territory and possessions, seeking attention, and fear.
- Young puppies will wine and bark excessively when they want attention. It is important not to give in to your dog when he shows this behavior, as he will keep on barking if he sees he gets his way every time he barks.
- When your dog barks out of boredom you need to introduce enough stimulation into his world to stop his bad behavior. Take the dog for regular walks, teach him new tricks or buy toys for your dog. Boredom can occur when the dog has to stay alone at home for long periods of time. If he is the only dog you may want to get him a companion.
- Take your dog to a trainer specializing in behavior problems. His trained eye may notice something that you did not see before.
- Ensure your dog receives enough exercise. You will find that a tired dog barks much less than a dog full of energy.
- See whether you can find any trigger for his barking. Let’ say you find that he barks every time the telephone rings. Wait until your dog is hungry and get his favorite treats. Show the dog his treats and ask your husband or a friend to phone. If the dog barks say “No!” and answer the phone. Ask your husband or friend to phone again. If the dog barks again say No!, ignore him and answer the phone. Repeat this process a few times. After a while the dog will lose interest in the phone. If the phone rings and he does not bark reward him with the treat. If you repeat this process every day your dog will eventually realize that he only gets his treat when the phone rings and he is quiet.
- Always use positive re-enforcement. When you have asked the dog to be quiet and he obeyed, you should reward his good behavior. You should on the other hand never reward bad behavior. This includes patting him on the back to calm him down if he is barking. He will associate the patting with his barking and keep on barking in the future. Only reward when he is quiet, as he will associate being quiet with the reward.
- If children playing in the street are his trigger you can take the dog to an area where he cannot see the children. Another option is to close the windows if your dog stays inside.
- Get your dog a Citronella dog collar. Every time he barks the collar will release a fragrance that the dog can’t stand.
- As a last resort you can take your dog to the vet who will surgically remove his vocal cords. The dog’s bark will be much softer, but keep in mind that it does not remove the underlying cause for your dog’s barking. It is always best to try all other procedures before resorting to these drastic measures.
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