Stop Dog Barking - Humanely
Dogs could bark for a number of reasons. Essentially, this means your dog is upset and demands attention. High-strung dogs may bark more frequently than others, but the fact is just that dog barking is annoying and disturbing. When you want to stop your dog from barking, you have a number of options at your disposal. As a dog-lover, which would you choose? Of course, you'd go for the more humane options - the ones that will do your pet no harm.
Why do dogs bark ceaselessly, in the first place? There are a number of reasons. One of the more common ones is that your pet feels restless or lonely. This commonly happens with puppies. Hyperactive puppies may feel obliged to bark at anything and everything that moves, thinking they are being good guard pets, unaware that dog barking is causing their owners a major inconvenience.
When puppies bark nonstop - and, it seems, without good reason - it's always best to give some sort of warning. This will train them to recognize that they should stop. But for that warning to be non-harmful, you have to be creative and go a little further than the outdated methods. A popular old-fashioned way of stopping a dog from barking is to hit the pet with a rolled-up newspaper, or some other object, which would amount to negative reinforcement. NO! You should never resort to this, no matter what your dog does. There are more humane ways to get your puppy to behave.
One effective method is to create some sort of loud, startling noise every time the puppy barks. Some advocate the use of the "throw can." No, despite its name, it's really not a can that's thrown at your puppy. This is just an empty can with coins or pebbles inside it, which you rattle every time your puppy barks. This will surprise the puppy and make him stop barking for a moment. When he resumes, shake the can again: a few repeat performances, and your puppy is sure to get the hint.
It's still an impulse for pet owners to yell to make their dogs stop barking. Unfortunately, this isn't a very effective method, precisely because pets bark to get their owners' attention... and even angry attention is better than no attention at all. Positive reinforcement for non-barking works even better than yelling. When your puppy starts barking, and you happen to be in the area, have a bag of treats handy. Instruct the dog to keep quiet by saying "Woof" or another quiet sound when the puppy starts to bark. Then when the puppy stops barking, give him a treat. The "treat" system is used by a lot of compassionate owners to teach their dogs all kinds of tricks; stopping dog barking is among them.
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