By Claudia Bensimoun
Attention Seeking Barking
Image Credit: Claudia Bensimoun
Our dogs are smart and soon learn which behaviors get reinforced. If your dog barks to demand attention, he’s probably aware that he’s going to get your attention. When your dog does this, any attention from you is regarded as a reward. He may be asking for another treat, going out to play or he may be wanting to engage in play with you this very minute. To change this behavior, you’ll need to do the following:
- Ignore your dog by not looking at him when he barks.
- When he does become quiet for that minute, turn toward him, yet do not interact with him just yet. You’ll need to make sure that he’s settled down, and does not resume barking the minute you reward him.
- When he does settle down, approach him, praise and reward with a high-value liver or beef freeze dried treat.
- You’ll need to practice this a few times a day in short increments of time. Reward each time. Keep training positive, low key and calm until you capture the right behavior. If your dog becomes tired or unfocused, try again later on. Training works best early morning. Consistency, kindness and patience is key!
- Never do this if your dog needs to go potty outside. Take him outdoors immediately.
Tips For Preventing Excess Barking
- Keep your dog well-exercised. An under- exercised dog will bark excessively because it’s a physical activity that provides an outlet for boredom.
- If your dog is not on a scheduled exercise/walk schedule, set one up for him. All dogs, regardless of breed or size need to go for long walks, off -leash hikes, trips to the beach, and have plenty of interaction and socialization with other dogs, people and other pets.
- If you’re not giving your dog regular exercise, you’re setting him up for failure. Young dogs, most especially adolescent dogs need at least an hour or more of exercise daily, as well as free play – off- leash without any form of restriction on movement.
- Make every day in your dog’s life the very best it can be! Plan fun outings to the dog beach, or an exciting hike. Schedule canine playdates at the dog park and most importantly, don’t allow for your dog to become bored!
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