Bark, bark, bark! How is a person supposed to work?

Bark, bark, bark! How is a person supposed to work?

by Dr. Debra F. Horwitz | Behavior Bits

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Remember dogs bark for different reasons, but one of the most common types of barking is alarm barking out windows or behind fences. This type of barking can be annoying when you are home working and may be difficult to stop. Why? Alarm barking is easily reinforced. The dog barks because they see something that upsets them and as they continue to bark the object usually goes away. The dog quickly learns (and assumes) that barking made that thing go away. When that thing lingers, they bark louder, deeper and add in other “go away” attempts, jumping on windows, tearing down window treatments and even biting window sills.

Now that you are home, you can change things up and teach new tasks to decrease this behavior. This includes covering windows and luring the dog to your side by offering a treat when barking begins while saying a key phrase: “quiet”, “stay by me” or anything you wish to use. Praise the dog for being quiet. Then of course, you need to do this over and over until you can call the dog from another room with your phrase and they come to you for a reward. Gradually decrease the food reward to where you eventually use praise only.

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About the Author

Dr. Debra Horwitz is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists as well as an author, editor and co-editor of several books; including Decoding Your Dog and Decoding Your Cat.


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