Excessive barking is the plague of dog owners everywhere. While it's natural for dogs to bark under certain circumstances, some dogs are a bit overzealous with this vocalization. It is extremely sad and one of the main reasons that alot of dogs get left along at animal shelters.
Stopping bad barking behaviors is actually quite easy to accomplish. First of all, it's key that you remember that you'll never stop your dog from barking completely. Nature has already harwired your dog so that this comes naturally. If you never want to hear a dog bark, then another pet would be a better fit for you. Certain situations such as being frightened, scared or meeting other dogs will cause your dog to bark. These types of behaviors should not be discouraged.
Some owners attempt this through the use of shock or spray collars. These are totally unnatural and really quite nasty for a dog. Your dog will be given a quick shock as soon as it begins barking. While the manufacturers will tell you that the shock is comparable to that of a static spark that you'd get from walking across carpet and touching a metal surface, this is not true. It has been shown that such collars go wrong and indiscriminate cause shocks to dogs which can leave nasty burns and scarring.
A much more effective way to stop bad barking behaviors is through simple distraction. As an example, a new person to them is in your house and they will not stop barking at them, let them know this is unacceptable by saying “no” then redirect their behavior on to something else like one of their toys. Under no circumstances should you physically or verbally punish your dog when it barks. This can be very confusing for them. You must be consistent. At every occurrence of your dog barking when you do not want it to you should give the same reprimand following by the same distraction.
Praise them when they play with their toy instead of barking, in a light and excited tone of voice. Instinctively your dog will pick up what is required of it and become calmer and quieter whilst waiting for your affectionate praise, which it craves. Continue on with the reward and reprimand until your dog forms a habit of knowing when barking is acceptable and when you do not want it.
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