Barking PDF Print E-mail
2006-08-01

 

Barking...it's an issue for many Dachshund owners.  People try pennies in cans, citronella collars, and even shock collars.  Me included, in the past.  But those gimmicky things don't work as soon as you aren't there with the can or the collar is off.  These gimmicks teach the dog not to bark only when xxx is on or in the vicinity. And in the case of electric shock bark collars, improperly used, they can erode or destroy your dog's trust in you.  Most people do not have the first clue what they are doing with electronic shock collars and shouldn't go anywhere near one.  Lack of trust in you will make any problem with your dog worse.

Two things to remember - first, we talk.  Dogs bark.  I don't think it's realistic to expect any dog to NEVER bark or rarely bark.  Unless, of course, he just happens to be a dog who is born that way.  They exist.  But they are not the norm.  Second, as Sarah says below, really try to figure out WHY your dog is barking.  That's half the battle, people.

A special note about "de-barking":  De-barking is much misunderstood.  As a person who breeds for Dachshunds who voice on game, de-barking is not my first choice and I don't recommend it without really trying Sarah's method first.  "De-barking" is truly a bark reduction.  Portions of the vocal folds (not the entire vocal cord, as Sarah describes below, somewhat tongue in cheek) are removed.  Dogs can still bark, just not as loudly.  People have the idea that de-barking is cruel, but it is simply an elective surgery done under sedation - just like a spay or neuter surgery!  We certainly wouldn't ever label those surgeries as "cruel".  For people who don't have the patience to train their dogs not to bark or who have found that training just isn't working (and there ARE those kinds of dogs), bark reduction surgery is much better than being angry with the dog most of the time or having the dog ending up at the pound.  However, this surgery doesn't eliminate barking.  It simply reduces it.  Tania is de-barked and, in my opinion, her raspy bark is just as annoying as any other dog barking.  However, generally the neighbors don't hear her.  For some people & dogs, in some situations, bark reduction surgery is just the ticket.

Sarah Stremming BS, CPDT-KA is wonderful, knowlegable dog trainer based in Fort Collins, CO.  She gives private lessons and you can find her training classes at Come-Play-Stay! at South Mesa Veterinary Hospital.  You can find her dog training blog at http://sarahstremming.wordpress.com/.  She wrote this at my request to help a friend of mine who has two Dachshund puppies - one of whom barks incessantly and one who does not, but 99% of it is applicable to anyone with a problem barker.

Barky Bark Bark

If you want to stop barking, you have to get at the root of it, in other words WHY is the dog barking to solve the problem. Dogs bark. The only way to make them not ever bark is by surgically removing the vocal cords (NOT recommending that, just saying). So, you have to understand why they are barking and tackle that problem. Most small dogs bark due to startle. Their ears flatten, with their lips pulled tight into a "fear grimace", and they might back away or tuck their tails as they bark if this is the case. If they charge ahead, lips pursed, ears and tails forward, piloerected (hackles up) they are on "offense" which is also stemming from fear or threat. These are the most common reasons for barking "at things." If they are barking "at things" teach them a more appropriate response to the things they are barking at. The "look at that" game as described in Leslie McDevitt's book "Control Unleashed" is a good way to do this. If they are just barking to be barking they are bored, and this is remedied by more mental stimulation in the environment. Making sure they either work for their meals in quick and fun training sessions or eat their meals out of toys (Kongs if you feed raw or wet, buster cube or tug-a-jug if you feed kibble) is a great way to get that done. Also, make sure these two pups spend some quality time APART. The more dogs you have together, the more barking will occur, plain and simple. They should learn how to hang out alone, and learn how to be quiet while alone or together. If it is chronic backyard barking, classically condition your dogs to come to the sound of the back door opening. This is achieved by pairing the sound with a treat, over and over, to create a conditioned emotional response (CER) to this sound. This is more powerful than plain old recall training because a CER is a response the dog has no control over (this is why clicker training is so powerful, and why whistle recall training has been popular for so long). This way when you open the back door, the dogs will come rushing in for a cookie. You didn't reinforce the barking, you reinforced the recall, problem solved. If barking gets continually interrupted by the door opening, barking will decrease.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 April 2010 18:28