How can I stop my Cairn Terrier from barking? May 20, 2021 17:14 1 Comment
Barking is perfectly normal it’s a way of communicating. If the barking is excessive then it’s a problem for you and the neighbours. Firstly, identify why the dog is barking. It may be from fear and anxiety, it may be defending you and your property (poor postman!), it could be for attention or maybe out of boredom.
Currently, our two are barking at the garden fence because next door is having a new patio. They don’t know that, all they know is that our territory may be under attack. That’s why they bark when the postman has the temerity to post things through the door, they think their territory is being invaded also they don’t know that it isn’t a mass murderer at the door when the bell rings.
In these cases, desensitising is the key. Get a friend to buzz the bell or post something. At the same time take control with the command “no!” and offer a treat to your pup when he doesn’t bark. Try a key word, we use “room”, so that when the bell goes they shoot off into the lounge.
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If your dog isn’t treat orientated, try using a toy for distraction and lengthen the time the dog is quiet before you hand over the toy/treat. Using your friend again, get them to ring the bell and then open the door. If the dog barks, close the door and direct the dog to their “room” or bed. Open the door again. If the dog moves, close it. Reward them when they stay in place, that way they associate the reward with being still, not barking.
Try and get hold of a soundtrack of different noises, bells, whistles, fireworks, cement mixers etc. Play the sounds back gradually increasing the volume and again reward dog when he hears the sound but doesn’t go mad. This is a good method because it’s a controlled session.
If pup is barking for attention, ignore him. Don’t look him in the eye and also turn your body away. If you give in and treat them, they know they will get a reward when they bark. Dogs aren’t stupid.
If a dog is barking out of boredom and frustration, make sure he is well exercised and has plenty of stimulating toys. Try training him to do some simple tricks or set up an agility course in the garden. Use what you have available, bamboo poles for weaving or flowerpots holding up a plank of wood for a small jump. Having to concentrate on “working” uses up loads of excess mental and physical energy.
A tired dog is a good dog! (Well, it helps). Practice makes perfect, so if a dog has had its own way in the barking stakes for a long time without being reprimanded, it will take time to sort out. None of these ideas work after just one session. Make your anti-barking rules and stick to them.
Shouting at them to stop barking is daft and we all do it from time to time. Shouting just elevates the energy levels, and they can see it as a good game. It does nothing to help and raises your blood pressure.
Please let us know how you get on!
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