4 Triggers That Create Bark-a-holism In Dogs. How To Get Your Dog To Zip It!

Definition:  Bark-a-holism- Creates insanity in humans, fights between spouses and neighborhood disputes. A dog’s barking behavior of non-stop machine gun-like barking, yapping at anything and everything. How do you know you need help? If your dog has tuned you out and refuses to listen to the words no, stop, shut up, or zip it. 

photo’s courtesy of Jim Dratfield

Paws For A Minute® Quick Dog Training Helpful Tips: Curbing the Bark-a-holic

Barking is a normal way for a dog to  communicate. Excessive barking is not, and the way to curb this issue quickly becomes a  owner lifestyle issue. Triggers that create bad barking habits are usually lack of boundaries ( no positive training rituals, boredom (listening to endless neighborhood noises all day long), and  territorial-ism (gazing out windows or fences) . The fourth trigger is you. How? A lack of routine, exercise creates the ability to tuning you out!  




  • Create a routine: Exercise ( a must) , leash training ( 10 minutes a day), freedom in the house and hang time with you ( whenever and often), play time ( 1/2 hour, several times a day) along with gating a few hours ( now and then)  will help create a schedule. Especially, if you have a multiple dog household, breaking up the pack helps create a routine and curbs excessive barking at noises. Age related dog chews help curb boredom. Use a baby gate to divide the space and create a bone chewing time for each dog in there own space. Kitchen, hallway or breakfast rooms or good central areas. Occasional gating  takes away the ability to bolt to a window and bark. Dogs LOVE den’s. You just have to create one in your house and reclaim your home to break this pattern.  Hence, the habit of racing to the window to bark slowly dissipates, over time of course. Eventually, no gating is needed. This new ritual helps to desensitize outside noise triggers that creates barking as a pack. It should always be initiated (at first) when your home on the weekend to make sure it’s safe and everyone gets into the groove of denning on your terms.
  • Add Music. Block out daily outdoor or apartment noises when your not home with music. This helps to to set a tone and mutes out car door noises and daily mail delivery.
  • Exercise. Plain and simple, a game of turbo fetch, walk run, or hike on a daily before you leave for the day will help curb barking.
  • Use a fence cover.  If your backyard fence, faces the street and is chain-link or wrought iron cover it with a tarp, tennis netting or bamboo.  Covering your fence will help reduce territorial boredom barking at people, dogs and cars. Use a tarp or fence covering to block the street view. Not seeing people walk by will help barking by 50%.

The Bark-o-holic Apartment Dog. Owner Rehab Tips

ASK INGER/ Barking
Hi Inger,
 3 months ago, we rescued a 2 year old Great Dane who we affectionately named Shortie. (At two years, she’s only 75 pounds, but perfectly healthy and gorgeous. She’s the sweetest, smartest, most amazing dog.) When we first got her, she was afraid to bark. We have been training her every day, including how to “Speak!”
 
She has a beautiful voice and generally does not cause an issue with her barking. Lately, there are certain noises that cause her to bark and howl and become really protective. Examples include the sound of wire hangers, the metal drain plug and bottles of nail polish clinking together. I worry that something related to her unknown past really upsets her, and we’re trying to minimize her stress. Do you have any advice on how to assure her that the noises she hears are safe?
Thanks in advance,
 Lee & Jason
_________________________________________________________________________
Hi Lee and Jason,
Shortie doesn’t sound like a bark-o-holic yet. However, you’ve only had her 3 months! Best to nip the behavior in the bud now, so thanks for your question. She sure is gorgeous and fantastic that you rescued her! Here’s the scoop on barking…
To answer your specific question, fist I must say there are many reasons that dogs bark. In your case, it’s not a question of “safe” to bark for a dog it’s more about territory, age and dominance. I think it’s very important for all owners to understand the nature of the bark. It’s a communication thing and often a misunderstanding. A young puppy can bark out of separation anxiety whereas an older pup could have a barking problem due to a boredom issue.
The occasional communication mixed signal with dog and owner can be the same as dating. Men think one way and women another? Who knew that when he said, I like those jeans, she thought, does he thinks her butt looks fat? Get it? So the reason a dog barks may actually come from a completely different place then what the owner is predicting.
In your case, it sounds like a mixed signal. Barking at noises like hangers, nail polish bottle etc. is really just a lack of socialization not necessarily fear. The reaction con also be compounded by giving Shortie too much initial space in her new home, while you are not at home. This can give a new dog a sort edge to protect and well, not relax.
A great training exercise to do is a bit of leash training in the house. Only for 10 minutes or so a few times a week put Shortie on a leash in the house and walk her around. As she barks at simulated noises, redirect her to sit. The leash help create eye contact and allows you to praise her for sitting. This redirection onto a positive command helps emphasize your prominence as her owner and helps her to psychologically relax. In other words, it translates to… your house, your in charge and she can chill.
Lastly, make sure that when your not at home she does not have access to a front window. Often dogs spend hours looking out the front window and learn to bark at every noise and person. When your dog is home alone, no one is there to correct her behavior and it can become a problem. Music is a great barking reducer too. When you leave your dog at home, put music on to trigger your leaving. The mellow sound of love songs or what I call “spa” music will create a mellow environment to sleep until you come home.
Keep us posted on your progress! 

Do You Trust Your Dog? 5 Steps To Success

Do you trust your dog? Achieving trust with your pup is a process and must be developed by you! Do you have a dog that’s not a puppy anymore, but still not housebroken or trustworthy in the house? Are you waiting for your dog to get it? Guess again, it’s you that needs to guide your dog to get it! It’s not about your dog being smart or stupid.

Recently one of our readers, sent in a plea to address this issue. Her dog has the bad habit of busting through the back door, every time they leave the house, and eats all the food off the counters. Also known as, counter surfing! Puppy proofing and not keeping food on counter tops is one issue, the other is the urge to bust down a door is a more complicated behavior and it has to do with the owner, as well as the dog.

I’m talking about separation anxiety, which often results in doggie demolition.  Blocking doors with tables or chairs, or sometimes just  shutting a door on a dog (that doesn’t want to be alone) whether in a room or yard  can create distress. Separation anxiety in dogs can actually be created (albeit unintentionally) by you! Coaxing, pushing you already anxious dog back and shutting a door can induce crazy behavior. Many owners leave their dogs in the yard or locked in a room while they’re gone because they don’t trust their dog loose in the house. The act of pushing a dog back and shutting a door can sometimes create the separation anxiety, especially in a young untrained dog. all behaviors owner and dog can become a vicious circle.

The solution to solving separation anxiety in dogs and creating trust within your lifestyle has many parts.

I know everyone means well, and life does get busy! But sometimes bad dog behaviors and habits such as; barking, destroying things or eating food off the counters can develop from boredom, lack of routine or bad triggers. Bad triggers can develop from owners as they rush out the door to go to work, not knowing how to train their dog to be trustworthy. If trust was not created during puppy training, then as a dog matures bigger problems can occur. If your dog’s destroying things, not housebroken or barking up a storm at every noise then that’s your sign to jump into action and begin asking yourself some questions!

The first question to ask yourself is, are your dogs needs met? Many people think so, but if your dog is barking, digging, and destroying furniture then those signs may indicate your dogs needs are not met. Dogs need to exercise, to be apart of the family, be trained in basic commands on a leash, by you! Also they also need praise, to be guided and fed, to have a chew on a delicious, safe “chew” type bone, and oh, did I say exercise? I did.

One bit of advice I have is to begin creating a new routine. Get your running shoes on and take your dog for a long walk, or to the dog park and tire your pup out! You would be surprised how many owners don’t. Get into a routine of exercising your dog everyday. A tired dog is always a better dog. The main ingredient is to have a new routine. Exercising your dog  will become  a huge part of the solution and the road to recovery. Be aware of when you exercise your dog. Timing is everything. Dog’s are very routine oriented and sometimes varying the time of your outings can be helpful in getting rid of bad habits.

 

The weekend may be the best time to implement this training!

Paws For A Minute® Quick tips: Trust 

Method: How to Feng Shui with Fido.™ Dog+ Home= peace 

1.  Initiate a new routine on the weekend when you’re home. If your dog lives outside all day long, then your yard becomes his den. This con promote digging, barking and possible separation anxiety. Ideally, you want to reverse this concept, and create trust indoors. Look at your individual lifestyle and age, temperament of dog to be sure this concept is right for you. You want the yard to be a place to run and jump, not on you.

2. Exercise your dog at the proper time. Sometimes people exercise their dogs at the wrong times. For example, I recently had a client who had a similar issue. Her dog was walked and exercised early in the morning and then basically spent the rest of the day barking and sleeping in the yard! Pay attention to the time your exercise your dog and if your not then do so! Sometimes a quick game of turbo fetch and potty is a better use of time, leaving the longer walk for later.

3.  Get the right chew bones for your dog to enjoy! Make sure you have “chew time” coincide with a new added routine! Young dogs LOVE to chew and it’s a function not a behavior, they must. Chewing also tires a young dog out and gives them a hobby. Ask your vet what would be right for your dog. Use this chewing hobby to your advantage by introducing the concept indoors as apart of the new training.  A special, new “chew bone” could be given in a gated area creating a “new space.” * Note: Always ask your local vet what type of dog chew is best for your dog!

Choose a gating area for a (20 minute period of time) while YOU are home. This teaches your dog to be gated in an area and learn to be mellow in the house. The gates allows him to see what’s going on yet still be apart of things. This is a temporary training exercise only meant to be applied for an hour here and an hour there, while your home! This will psychologically create a new “den space” for your dog and develop a trust. Absolutely, allow your dog free time loose in the house with you after a walk, this will reinforce mellow behavior.

Occasionally, guide your dog into the space on a leash, say sit, WAIT and then put up the baby gate. Always take off the leash while your dog is gated for safety and give the proper chew type toy or bone that’s safe for your dog to chew. Dogs are den animals and LOVE small spaces, if introduce correctly. The baby gate allows them to see out and be apart of the household without being completely loose all of the time. They love being apart of the family. Begin training with a little patience and always while you are home. This will help you to be able to correct any anxiety. Remember, gate in a central part of the house for best results.

4. Put music on while your dog is gated. This triggers a comforting feeling and trigger a mellow behavior and help to mute out other sounds.  This may also help get your dog of the pattern of going to the door, window or back door waiting for the next sound. All of these tips together will work together over time to help curb the barking or anxiety. You must be in the room your dog is gated during this training process. At least for the first week. You need to build on a new routine.

5. Stop the madness. While your dogs gated, and you are in the room or near by, if your dog continues to bark, you can give a correction. If your dogs needs are met and you know that he’s been to the bathroom, exercised, loved, fed and has water then correcting him to waittTake a coffee can, empty it and then put a hand full of pennies in the can and make sure the lid on the can is on tight. Make sure your dog has gone to the bathroom and had plenty of exercise. If the barking gets excessive, shake the can once, from out of sight, only while your dog is gated. Being out of sight is key! The noise of the can acts just like a siren does of a police car pulling you over for blowing a red light. It’s a sanction, a growl or just plain NO! This can help break the barking pattern.

Remember, it’s important to keep this gating exercise to a short amount of time, slowly building up to an hour over a few days.  I do not suggest you leave your dog gated in the house alone when you have to go out! This new pattern may take months of application before  a new pattern is set. 

Yes, I know dogs can jump over gates and get through most barriers, if the process is initiated incorrectly. This new routine is only meant to be implemented for short periods of time, while your home, only! All of the steps must be in place in order for this concept to become effective. Slowly, you and your dog will learn to trust and eventually the old pattern of anxiety will dissipate.

It’s really important to do all of steps together! Increase exercise, apply short increments of time gated, only while you are home. Remember, gating your dog for “short” periods while your home, can be done several times a day! This creates a pleasant chew bone “chewing” experience and music triggers a new positive pattern of waiting! Often shutting a door on a untrained dog can sometimes create massive anxiety. You may have to leave your dog at home (the way you used to) until a new pattern is formed for a while. Add these new steps indoors, slowly over several weeks or even a month adding the new routine slowly, and before long a healthy trustworthy behavior will develop.

In extreme cases:  ALWAYS seek out a professional dog trainer in your local area. Always ask your local veterinarian what type of  ”dog chew” is best for your dog, 

Ask Inger: The Barking Dog Syndrome. How Do I Get It To Stop?

I have a dog named Romeo about 2 years ago. He’s been great and I love him very much, however my roommate does not. Unfortunately, Romeo has a barking problem, whenever anyone gets close to our apartment door, or enters / exits our apartment Romeo barks uncontrollably and it is very loud and piercing. Admittedly I find it annoying as well, but I can deal with it, my roommate can not and it is causing a riff.

So I was thinking about getting Romeo a bark collar, but they are kind of expensive and I want to know what is what before I purchase anything. I’m thinking preferably to get one that emits a sound humans can’t hear but dogs can, does something like that exist? I really don’t want one that shocks him, unless you think it’s not a big deal and I can use one like that.

The other kind I see all over are the citronella ones, but they seem so bulky and he’s a tiny dog so I don’t see that working out.

Anyway, what are you thoughts? What should I do / buy to start correcting this problem?

                                                        Paul

 

Hi Paul, Thanks for your question! It’s a common one.  Remember behaviors take time to develop and they also take a little time to go away. There are various issues that contribute to barking and why dogs bark. Some barking is due to boredom, triggers, lack of training, separation anxiety, lack of exercise and so on… Owners can play a huge part too. Yelling “NO” constantly at your dog puts you both into the looney camp. Bark collars are not the answer. Look into your daily life and make a list of the times your dog barks. It will help isolate where you need to focus. Here are a few tips to get you started on the road to recovery.

 

Paws For A Minute® Lifestyle Dog Training

Tips To Help Barking At The Front Door

 

Everyone should note:  If your dog is barking his head off all day long, that is what’s called boredom barking and it’s up to you, as owners, to make sure all exercise needs are met!

 

So before you do any corrections get on your running shoes  and warm up your throwing arm. Ultimately, a tired dog is a good dog! Hello, get off the couch! Therefore, if you have exercised your dog daily and barking is still an annoying sound effect, the below may help. 

 

 

1. One option is to create a bone chewing time by using a baby gate. This can help in creating a new pattern. Gate one or two of the dogs in a kitchen or hallway for bone chewing time. For multiple dogs breaking up the pack can stop the trigger of one dog instigating the barking. Doing so will help train your dog over time out of the pattern of scouting for the person, noise or action to bark at. Music is key, to soothe the beast during this peaceful time. Remember, this is NOT meant to be a punishment place! AND implementing this 20 minute space a few times a day should be done when you are home. It helps break up the barking pattern.

 

2. Another option is to know when the barking happens is to put music on in advance. Sounds crazy, but this will really break up the pattern of being alert to outside noises. It also sets a tone and a completely different atmosphere to your house. Much less trigger oriented. Not meant to be a cure, but it will help.

 

3. A third option is to correct this barking with a shake of a penny can from out of sight! Your dog should not see you shake the can.

 

This next tip is not for every dog or owner. So really assess your circumstance carefully. Use your common sense! Not all dogs can handle a loud noise and others can and will respond no problem.

 

The trick  is to not let your dog see you shake the can. It’s just really about the sudden, quick sound. This correction is not meant to scare, just make as clear communication that no barking allowed. You should think of this correction more like a police siren pulling a car over for speeding. Know that not all dog temperaments are right for this type of correction. Note: Very timid dogs will respond well to a firm no, that should ban the barking and do the trick. If your dog has a really strong, confident personality the penny can “shake” can be tolerated and send the right signal to zip it.

 

Take a coffee can, empty it,  then put a handful of pennies in it and the lid back on. As your dogs begin to bark, shake the can once and say “No!” This loud abrupt noise will represent the same boundary as the siren of a police care pulling you over for running a red light. Then back up this quick correction by redirecting your dogs in a positive way!  Ask them to “come” to you in a really happy, nice voice. Finish the command by having your dog sit. Then praise, love and maybe even a treat!

 

If you haven’t guessed already I’m really training you to be a little smarter than your dog, have a little foresight to your circumstance then the bad dog behavior will go away. Dogs love to please, they just don’t know how unless you guide them.then put a handful of pennies in it and the lid back on. As your dogs begin to bark, shake the can once and say “No!” This loud abrupt noise will represent the same boundary as the siren of a police care pulling you over for running a red light. Then back up this “quick” correction by redirecting your dogs in a positive way!  Ask them to “come” to you in a really happy, nice voice. Finish the command by having your dog sit.

 

Add praise, love and maybe even a treat! If you haven’t guessed already I’m really training you to be a little smarter than your dog, have foresight to your circumstance and the bad dog behavior will go away. By the way, a tired dog is always a better dog. So exercise is always a great routine to help barking problems. Dogs love to please, they just don’t know how unless you guide them!