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#dogbark #dogbarking #barkingdogBarbara Gazley is a Dog Trainer with Bark Busters Central Valley

One of the #1 reasons people call a dog trainer is because their dog barks too much. By too much, I mean at everyone and everything … passerby’s, other dogs, guests, the mailman, etc. This is called inappropriate barking and is something Bark Busters Central Valley can help with.

Not only do we help you overcome dog barking, but we get to the root of the problem. We must find out the why before we can develop a dog training program of how to overcome this misbehavior.

Dogs bark as a natural means of communication. Here are some of the reasons why:

Nuisance/Reactivity Barking
Does your dog bark or growl at everything outside, from the wind to other dogs? This barking indicates your dog is stressed or on edge. Believe it or not, your dog does not feel safe. Now you’re thinking:” Why doesn’t my dog feel secure when he is safely tucked inside the house?” The answer is he doesn’t know who is in charge. He things it is his job to protect you, to keep any nefarious outside influences at bay. He is looking to you to teach him the rules and boundaries and to let him know he doesn’t have to be on patrol. In other words, to make him feel safe.

Most dogs are not leaders – they are followers. In any pack, there is a dominant or alpha dog.  When an alpha dog perceives a threat, he is calm but alert. Chances are your dog is not an alpha dog, so he begins to bark uncontrollably. It is not in his nature to lead, but he is adopting the role as best as he knows how.

This is where the Bark Busters training excels. I will teach you to be the pack leader and make your dog feel safe and secure. He will look to you to protect him. Together we will go through a series of training exercises to shift the hierarchy of the pack, so your dog doesn’t feel he is in an adrenalized state. Believe it or not your dog doesn’t want to be in control – he is much happier when you are!

Fear-Based Barking
Many dogs bark at other dogs or people. Although this bark may seem aggressive, sometimes it is just a greeting whereas other times it means he is afraid for you or himself. You will begin to teach him that the safest place is right by your side. He will begin to adopt your cues – if you are calm, so too will he be. When I come into your home, we will first begin our exercises on the inside of your home before we move outside where there are more distractions.

Associative Barking
Does your dog bark when you start vacuuming? Or at specific things or people? I had a client whose dog barked at all men. Maybe he had been abused in the past by a man or just had an uncomfortable experience. Either way, a situation or person could trigger a dog to associate a person or place with a bad or fearful experience. As with any type of barking, the key is to make your dog feel safe with you. In some cases, we may teach a re-association protocol where the dog associates the person or place with something different. For instance, whenever the husband appeared, we used treats or activities to dispel the negative association. Before we knew it, whenever the dog saw the husband he was too busy looking for the hidden treat or playing a game to care.

Separation Anxiety
Dogs don’t like to be alone or bored. They are used to being a member of a pack. I have seen dogs with severe cases of separation anxiety who busted down doors or dry wall to get out of their space! You think your dog is acting this way because he feels lonely and you feel bad. I am here to relieve you of your guilt. Separation anxiety is usually a result of your dog not being able to see you, so he is afraid for you. He wants you to come back, so he can keep you safe. Together we’ll teach your dog that you can take care of yourself so there is no reason for him to be afraid for you.

Getting your dog to STOP barking doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience. If you faithfully follow the dog training program I give you, I can assure you your dog will quiet down. Never shout at your dog when he is barking because he will think it is a game and bark even louder! Try and tire your dog out before you leave the house or buy him some interactive toys to keep him occupied.

Don’t let the incessant barking continue or it can progress into aggression. Call me – Barbara Gazley – your Central Valley dog trainer or email me. I’d love to help you have a well-behaved dog.

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