You are just beginning to train you dog, or if you have a dog with already developed habits; it is never too early (or too late) to begin training your dog. As much as it is best to begin training a younger dog, the saying is not true, because you can teach an old dog new tricks!

In the case of addressing your dog and their barking habit, realize first that God created them to bark. Barking is their only way to orally communicate. Dogs are designed to identify their territory by barking, and to communicate with other dogs by barking. They warn of danger by barking, and show exuberance and excitement. Barking is just something that they naturally do, and as much as you may want control when they bark and what they bark at. Try first, however, to put yourself into your dog’s shoes and see why or what is making your dog bark.

There have been two techniques that I would recommend that have immediate and positive effects. There are products on the market that are designed to address the issue of your dog barking, that need to be considered when other methods are not an option.

One thing that I have found to be successful is to remind the dog of the annoyance that their barking causes. Dogs have not always lived inside, and are not designed to understand using their “inside voices” like a child might. A quick reminder to them, and on their level that their barking is loud, and uncalled for, can quickly teach them not to bark inside.

We already know and understand that dogs have excellent hearing. Using this premise, save out a soda can and put 3-5 pennies inside of it and then tape the top shut. Keep this can near you, and when the dog begins to bark, if you’ll just loudly shake the can, the sound will be uncomfortable to your dog. They will soon learn to correlate this uncomfortable sound with their barking. With consistent use, this technique is quite successful and has a satisfactory effect in the home.

There is another technique that I stumbled upon quite by accident. Our dog absolutely hates getting wet! We keep a water gun in the house, and when he barks, we quickly squirt him with the water. He doesn’t seem to be able to understand where this water comes from, but he already equates the water with his barking. Now, when he thinks he needs to bark at something, he’ll look at me instead. I’ll quickly reassure him that everything’s o.k. and then he’ll be fine! Sometimes I’ll think he needs to see for himself, so I’ll take him outside. Sometimes a dog barks out of boredom. Just like a child will sometimes cry for no apparent reason. Give your dog some distraction and something interesting to do, often they merely want interaction.

Both of these techniques I have personally seen work before. I would not recommend them otherwise. But please, try to remember, that barking is natural for your dog, and there are times that you will welcome their barking. So keep up consistently training your dog. You’ll be so happy in a very short time, and you’ll have a well-adjusted dog that will be a companion for years to come!

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