Winter Warnings! Here in the Northwest winter may come gracefully and slowly or it may descend with wrath. Please be prepared by taking the time to make sure your dog has a warm and cozy place to sleep if he should accidentally be left outside. While we heartily recommend that your dog is a member of the household, living in the home, we realize that is not always possible and sometimes the dog gets accidentally left outside. Make him a warm dry place to get out of the weather and some blankets to curl up in. Take him to the place and spend some time there so if he should need it he will know where it is.
Also in deep winter the temperatures can drop into the low 10's at times and you will not want to leave the dog unprotected outside, as they can die or be injured with frostbite. Make sure his water is thawed or chipped away if he is left out during the day only. The water may not defrost during the day and even though it is cold, your dog can dehydrate.
Enjoy those snowy play days, but again make sure the dog is checked thoroughly for damage to his feet or pads when you are done for the day. Because his feet will get very cold he may not feel and injury. Cut or worn pads take a few weeks to heal and can become infected, so it is better to take precautions up front.
Summer is here! Danger! Danger! Please keep in mind that while it may be cool when you leave home temperatures can rise rapidly and unexpectedly. You may just run in the post office or bank for a minute or two, run into someone you know and it can quickly become a half an hour. And during that half hour the temperatures in your car can become hot enough to kill your dog in less than 15 minutes. Always leave windows cracked for ventilation, try to park in the shade, have water available for it to drink, and be aware of the fact that your precious pet is waiting for you and cannot get out of the heat. I have a friend that uses the alarm on her cell phone to beep at her to alert her to the passing of time when she has pets in the car with her. What a great idea and it can save a broken heart and a peril to your pet! If your pet should get over heated, have water on hand and use it to soak his feet (dogs sweat through their pads), soak his belly, splash it through his gums and lips and call or get the pet to a vet as soon as possible. If there is water near by take the dog and let it stand or lay in the water, if it will, to rehydrate and quickly cool down .
Why do dogs bark?
Barking is one of the most common complaints of dog guardians and their neighbors, but barking is natural. It serves as a territorial warning signal to other dogs and pack members. Dogs may vocalize when separated from their pack or family members. Barking also occurs during times of indecision, anxiety, or frustration. Medical problems can also contribute to vocalization, especially in the older dog.
How can barking problems be prevented?
Socialization and habituation Get puppies used to as many new people, animals, situations and noises as possible. This will minimize the amount or intensity of alarm barking. Barking should only be allowed to alert companion guardians and then be controlled and stopped before the dog becomes agitated and out of control. Companion guardian control, training and leadership are essential.
How can I stop my dog barking when I leave?
Effective crate training techniques when your dog is first obtained, should decrease the dog's anxiety when he is left alone in his crate. Your dog should gradually be taught to spend longer periods of time away from you. Obtaining two dogs will provide company for each other and reduce distress vocalization and departure anxiety.
My dog constantly barks. What does he want?
Attention getting barking can be problematic and is often reinforced by owners giving in to their dog's demands. Allowing a barking dog indoors, or feeding, patting, praising, playing with, giving a toy, or even just going to a barking dog to try and quiet it down, are just a few examples of how a guardian may unknowingly reinforce barking. Never reward barking with any type of attention, even occasionally.
How can I train my dog to be quiet?
Training the dog to a "quiet" command is an invaluable aid for controlling undesirable barking. You must find an effective means of quieting the dog, which should be preceded with a command such as "Quiet." Just loudly telling your pet to "Be quiet," will not be understood.
One of the most practical techniques for teaching a dog to cease barking on command, is to first, be able to command the dog to begin barking on cue. Use a stimulus that will cause the dog to bark and pair it with a "bark" command. Numerous repetitions allow the dog to associate the word "bark" or "speak" with the action. Dogs that bark on command can then be taught to turn off the barking by removing the cue or stimulus, and giving a "hush" or "quiet" command just before the barking subsides. As soon as your dog is quiet, give a favored treat or reward.
It can be difficult or impractical to teach a dog to be "quiet" on command if the barking cannot be predicted or "turned on" or if it is too intense.
Another method to teach a quiet command is to wait until your dog is barking, say to a doorbell and while he is barking place a very tasty food treat by his nose. Most dogs will stop barking to sniff the treat. At the same time you must say the word you will use for quiet, such as "Silent", "Hush", etc. When the dog is quiet (as they will be because dogs cannot sniff and bark at the same time) you can praise him, say "Good, quiet" and give the treat. Again, as with all new tasks, numerous repetitions are necessary for lasting learning.
Alternately, distraction or remote punishment devices (see below) can be used to disrupt the barking. One of the most effective means of interrupting barking and ensuring quiet is a remote leash and head halter. A pull on the leash disrupts the dog and closes the mouth. Quiet behavior can then be reinforced first by releasing and then giving a reinforcer such as praise or food if the dog remains quiet.
What are my chances of correcting my dog's barking problem?
Chances are good for most barking problems. But the household situation in which the dog resides may make it extremely difficult to correct completely. Even a small amount of barking could disturb a sleeping baby, or upset neighbors, (particularly in apartments or townhouses). When trying to resolve barking problems, the motivation for the barking behavior is an important component. Some stimuli are so strong that it will be difficult to stop the barking behavior. You need sufficient time to implement the correction training.
What can I do to correct my dog's barking problem?
The treatment program must be based on the type of problem, your household, the immediacy of the situation, and the type and level of control that you require. A good behavioral history is important to determine cause, motivation and potential reinforcing stimuli for the barking behavior. Treatment plans need to consider the following:
1) Ensure that your dog is not being rewarded inadvertently. Some guardians in an attempt to calm their dog down, will actually encourage the barking by giving attention, play, food or affection.
2) Sometimes the home environment can be modified so that the dog is kept away from the stimuli (sounds and sights) that cause barking. Exposure might be minimized by confining the dog to a crate, or room away from doors and windows, or covering windows so that the dog cannot look outside. Additionally, privacy fencing may be helpful for dogs outdoors. Dogs that bark when left alone outdoors, may have to be kept indoors except when the guardian is available to supervise. Trigger sounds such as doorbells or telephones that might have become conditioned stimuli for barking should be altered to change their sound.
3) Until effective control and leadership is established, training programs are unlikely to be successful. Increasing interactive play periods and exercise, crate and confinement training, halter training and obedience classes may need to be implemented before bark control training can begin.
4) Once you have sufficient control and the dog responds to obedience commands and handling, it should be possible to train your dog to cease barking on command. Training the dog to cease barking on command can be accomplished with lure reward techniques, distraction techniques, or halter and leash training. Regardless of the technique, rewards should be given as soon as the barking stops, so that the dog learns that quiet behavior earns rewards. It is most important to associate SILENCE with the command used. Over time the behavior should be shaped so that the dog is required to stay quiet for progressively longer times, before a reward is given.
5) Once you have sufficient control with training and the quiet command, it may then be possible to begin a retraining program in the presence of the stimuli (people, other dogs) that lead to barking. Training with a head halter and leash often provides a tool for implementing the techniques safely and effectively especially indoors or when the guardian is nearby. The stimulus should first be presented to the dog from a distance (e.g. children riding bicycles on the street while the dog stands on his porch), and the dog given a quiet or sit-stay command. Although the halter and leash is generally all that is required to control the dog and achieve the appropriate response, the dog could also be disrupted using a device such as an ultrasonic trainer or shake can. Training sessions are then repeated with progressively more intense stimuli. This type of training can be effective, but progress can be slow and time consuming.
6) Pets that are barking for other reasons (fear, separation anxiety, or compulsive disorders) will require veterinary treatment for the underlying problem.
Should I punish my dog when he keeps barking?
Punishment is seldom effective in the control and correction of barking problems. Excessive levels of punishment can increase anxiety and further aggravate many forms of barking, while mild punishment merely rewards the behavior by providing attention.
What anti-barking devices are there and are they effective?
Guardian-Activated Products: These products are most useful for getting the pet's attention (disruption) during quiet command training. Ultrasonic devices (Pet AgreeTM, Easy TrainerTM), audible devices (Barker BreakerTM, rape alarms), water sprayers, or a shake can (an empty peanut or soda can with a few coins or pebbles sealed inside) are often successful. Without concurrent retraining techniques and a guardian with good control, many dogs will soon begin to ignore the devices.
Bark-Activated Products: When barking occurs in the owner's absence, bark activated products (in conjunction with environmental modification and retraining) are often the most practical means of deterring inappropriate barking. Bark-activated products may also be a better choice than guardian-activated devices, since they ensure immediate and accurate timing. Off-collar devices are useful for training the dog to cease barking in selected areas, such as near doorways or windows, (or for dogs that bark in their crate or pen). The Super Barker BreakerTM emits an audible alarm while the Yapper ZapperTM sprays a stream of water each time the dog barks.
Bark-activated collars are useful when barking does not occur in a predictable location. Audible and ultrasonic training collars are occasionally effective but they are neither sufficiently unpleasant nor consistent enough to be a reliable deterrent. The AboistopTM ABS collar emits a spray of citronella each time the dog barks and is sufficiently unpleasant to deter most dogs. Although these devices may be effective in the owner's absence, they have their most lasting effects when the owner is present to supervise and retrain. As soon as the barking ceases, the owner should redirect and encourage the dog to perform an enjoyable alternative behavior (play, tummy rub) as long as the dog remains quiet.
Products that use electronic stimulation (shock collars) are cruel and inhumane. Even shock may not deter a dog that is highly motivated to bark. Since there is the potential for injury with any shock device, these shouldn't be considered.
Most importantly, bark collars only work when they are on the dog. Most dogs will learn to distinguish when the collar is on and when it is off. When they are not wearing the collar, most dogs will bark.
Is debarking surgery effective?
Surgical debarking is drastic, cruel, barbaric, and inhumane. All attempts at behavior modification should be continued to address the underlying motivation for barking and effect a permanent solution.
A barking dog offers protection and makes an excellent burglar alarm, but you do need an on-off switch. When your dog has learned to "speak" on command you will be able not only to control its barking, but also to command it to be quiet. Once the dog knows that barking is only permitted under specific circumstances, it can be trained to bark on command, or on hearing such sounds as smoke alarms or noises outside a window. You should initially train to rewards like food and toys, using verbal praise, too.
1. Attach the dog's lead to a fence or post, and stand about 3 feet away. Tease the dog by showing it a toy, and give a food reward when it barks with frustration. Food is ready to be given at moment of barking.
2. Put the toy away (but visible to the dog), and change the reward from a food treat to a verbal "Good dog" when the dog barks, giving a food treat only occasionally.
3. Give the command "Speak" the moment the dog barks, then give the toy as a reward. Correct timing is essential here, and by observing the dog's body language you can anticipate the bark.
4. Once the dog understands the command "Speak", give the command "Quiet" when the dog is barking. Give the toy reward as soon as the dog stops barking, but put the toy away and command "No" if it continues. Do not give reward to barking dog.
5. After teaching the dog to bark or be quiet when you are near, move a short distance away from it with potential reward visible to the dog. Patiently repeat the exercise from the beginning, until the dog learns to respond to the commands.
6. Return to the dog and reward it with its favorite toy. Continue repeating the exercise until the dog consistently responds to intermittent rewards while secured to the fence. Then release the dog from the fence and continue training.
Try putting a tasty morsel of food on the dog's nose to stop it from barking. Say "Quiet" the moment it stops barking (dog cannot sniff and bark at the same time). If the dog remains silent, give the food treat.
Credit for this article came from and Humane Society Website of unknown origin. If you know where it came from please let me know!
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