Dog Barking: Are You Training Your Dog to Bark?

Believe it or not, dogs can be very manipulative. Many times, dogs bark for very selfish reasons: they want to force you to do something in their favor. When this happens, not only is the barking uncalled for; it can become extremely annoying. However, remember this important fact: Dog training occurs each and every time you and your pooch interact. He learns from your reactions to his behavior.

Now, let me give you an example of how your dog can use his voice in order to try to manipulate you. Imagine the following scenario: you’re sitting on your couch, reading the newspaper after a long day of work. All you want to do is relax, but you’re rambunctious pooch wants to play. She picks up her toy, comes beside you, and drops it in your lap. You’re in the middle of reading and pay no attention. After a few seconds of being ignored, your dog is frustrated and gives your hand a nudge with her nose while letting out a loud bark. You glance at her, and she is already in the play-bow stance (she has her elbows close to the floor, bottom in the air, and she is wagging her tail), and is panting. You continue to ignore her and keep reading the paper. She begins to bark again, but this time her barking is continuous and very, very loud. She’s decided that she’s not letting up until she gets her own way. After a few minutes of her noise, you put down the paper, pick up her toy, and take her outside to play. Now that she has gotten your attention and what she wanted (to go outside and play), she has stopped barking.

I think that we all know that respect is a very important aspect of our relationships with our dogs. You respect your dog by taking good care of her even though you may be inconvenienced, giving her healthy and tasty food, and showing her affection. To deserve your respect, however, she must show reverence to you, too. Remember, your dog is not your equal. When you own a dog You are the boss, and your dog is the pet. The roles should never be reversed. Dogs, unlike young children, are most comfortable and best-behaved when they know that you are the leader who is in control. In order to be a pet that is happy, well-adjusted, and well-behaved, your dog must first respect your leadership.

Now, in the example above, the dog was obviously disrespecting her master. She was not trying to kindly persuade her owner to play with her; rather, she was harassing him for his attention. The owner, by caving into his dog’s bad behavior, reinforced her barking. How? Well, by giving his pooch what she wanted (attention and playtime outside) he Rewarded the dog barking. So, what did the dog learn as a result? That it is OK to bark anytime she wants to because, in order to get what she wants, all she must do is make a lot of noise until she achieves her goal.

As a dog owner, reinforcing negative behavior is one of the worse mistakes that you can make. Affection and play-times are necessary; however, they must be given according to Your terms. If you unintentionally teach your dog that she is able to get her own way by barking and being a nuisance, then she will develop a very bad habit. To prevent your pet from developing this, as well as other dog behavior problems, you must show her that it is you who are the boss and that you cannot be manipulated.

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