Sibei Jialat… My Dog Keeps Barking, How Ah?
STORY: Amanda Lee
28 December 2020
This is a common problem that many of us pawrents face. But is barking really a problem? First and foremost, we need to understand that dogs bark to communicate. Asking them not to bark at all is like asking a person not to speak. So instead of stopping them from barking, let’s look at how we can manage their barking:
Lots of exercise and enrichment
One of the reasons your dog could be barking a lot is because of boredom or restlessness. When that happens, barking at something could be the highlight of their day. Hence, lots of exercise and enrichment is needful for your dog to burn out all that stored energy.
Try walking your dog twice or thrice a day or try sending them for doggy day care where your dog will be able to meet and socialise with other dogs in a safe environment.
Check out Pawsitivemind, where the doggy day care teacher is also a dog trainer, so rest assured that your furkid will be in safe hands.
If you don’t feel like you want to commit to once-a-week doggy day care, why not try the once-a-month doggy outing then! This would be a great opportunity for your dog to go out and explore Singapore with other furry friends.
Change your cues
If your dog barks when you pick up their harness, immediately put the harness back to where it was and sit back down. Only when they stop barking do you pick the harness back up and put it on them. Your dog will learn to calm down and not bark too much out of excitement when it’s walking time.
While this process takes a lot of patience, it will be very rewarding when the behaviour is learnt. Remember, no verbal words are being communicated in this process. No need for “sit”, “stop!”, “quiet”. Your dog will watch your body language and movements. Body language itself communicates much more.
Ignore and then reward when quiet
Frankly speaking, this will be difficult. Training your dog is very much training yourself too. When your dog is barking, ignore them and continue doing so until they stop barking. Only then should you reward your dog – when they are quiet. Keep reinforcing that behaviour and your dog will eventually learn that they will get your attention and rewards when they are quiet.
Create safe spaces
It is common for dogs to bark when the postman or delivery man comes, or simply when people walk-by or stop outside your house. Those situations are hard to control. What you can control is the area within your house. Create safe spaces for your dog that will discourage such behaviour.
If you know that your dog tends to bark at passers-by, move your dog to an area where they will not be able to constantly look out the door. By continuing to leave your dog in a spot where they can see passers-by, you are unconsciously encouraging the behaviour of barking at passers-by.
If you know that the postman usually comes in the evenings on weekdays, try to bring your dog out for their walk during that period. Don’t let your dog stand there and bark at the postman until he goes away. This shows your dog that barking non-stop will make things they do not like go away eventually.
Barking because of anxiety? Get help from a qualified trainer
Some dogs suffer from anxiety worse than others. If your furkid does suffer from separation anxiety, seek help for some behaviour modification protocols. (Check out Puppylove Dog Training, for example.) Imagine crying and whining for hours straight – that is not the quality of life we want for our furkids.
Adaptil’s dog collar that provides “temporary calming on-the-go”
Mother dogs send “comforting messages” to their puppies by releasing pheromones into the air to help their puppies feel calm and secure. Adaptil has found a way to make these same pheromones synthetically so that your dog can feel that same sense of calm and security in stressful situations.
There are different products such as the Adaptil on-the-go collar, Adaptil transport spray and the Adaptil home diffuser.
I cannot guarantee that the methods listed here will work for your dog because each dog is made with a different DNA. Each dog has gone through different life experiences, resulting in certain habits and behaviour peculiar to them. Always remember, it is about taking a journey with your dog, never about how fast you get to that destination.
Patience, patience, lots of patience!