Monday, May 30, 2016

How to Silence Dogs

Dogs have a language of their own. It is made up of barking, whining, howling, and growling. Barking is a dog's primary means of communication. Your dog barks to warn you that someone is coming, tell you it is excited or afraid, or communicate with other dogs. Some barking is normal and expected. Excessive barking, however, can be a nuisance for you and for your neighbors. Fortunately, you can teach your dog to be quiet on command.



    Fill a tin can with coins, popcorn kernels, or dried beans. Seal the can with duct tape so that you can shake it without spilling the contents.


    Shake the can when your dog starts to bark. Say the word "quiet" in a firm voice as you do. The sound will interrupt your dog's barking, and it will start to associate the verbal command with the noise.


    Praise your dog by saying "good quiet!" in a happy and excited voice. Do this the instant your dog stops barking and turns its attention to you (or your shaker can). Reward it with a treat as well. It may be helpful to teach your dog to associate a clicker with reward by giving it treats as you click. This will allow you to click as you praise your dog and then give it the treat a few seconds later if your dog is out in the yard.


    Repeat steps 2 and 3 every time your dog starts to bark, gradually eliminating the shaker can and relying only on your verbal command. Require your dog to be silent for longer periods before giving it a reward. Start by rewarding it instantly, then wait for two seconds, then four, then six, and so on until your dog no longer needs a treat to obey your command.

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