I live in the ‘burbs. I have a modest house in a neighborhood full of modest houses. I have some yard to mow and a small vegetable garden. I like it there. I have a screened-in porch that is a favorite spot in the summer. I can sit outside and (bark) listen to the sounds of nature and birds (bark, yip, bark) and other peaceful suburban sounds like children playing and . . . (bark BARK, yip, BARK bark BARK, woof WOOF, yip, WOOF) . . . OH, COME ON!
One of the things my comfy little neighborhood seems to struggle with is barking dogs. About 50% of the homes that I can see from my property have dogs. I speculate that number holds true for the houses within earshot as well because occasionally, when the timing is just right, I can hear dogs talking to each other all over the block. Now, I am not opposed to dogs barking, it’s natural for them. But when they bark and bark and bark and bark . . . and bark, it is probable that they are not trained very well and/or their owners are not being as attentive as they should be.
Let’s look at the training aspect of this first. As Dave likes to say: “your dog’s barking is not the problem, him not stopping when you tell him to is the problem.” As a general rule, a dog will only bark “uncontrollably” if he has a reason for example, if he is feeling threatened in some way, or someone or something is invading his space. But this is where training is vital. He should stop when you tell him to stop. Dogs are often confused, and without a deep trust and comfort in their owner, a dog will feel that he needs to fend for himself. With the proper training, confusion turns into clarity. He should come to understand deeply and completely that you are in charge. You will feed him, shelter him and keep him safe from all threats; that’s your job. His job is just to be a dog, a happy, stable and safe dog. Once he truly gets it, he will stop barking when he is told.
Now, while it’s very important for the health and stability of a dog, all the dog training in the world won’t do much good if an owner is inattentive. If a dog is allowed to slip into old habits and routines after he’s trained, the benefits of training will quickly slip away. Caring for your dog’s wellbeing is a full time job, especially his psychological wellbeing. While it may not seem like a big deal to let him bark outside for a while, it’s important to remember that he’s barking for a reason. If you are not there to take control of the situation, he will lose confidence in you as his leader.
Not to mention, after 15 or 20 minutes of barking, your neighbors will probably lose confidence in you as well.
Try barking up the right tree – call our office at 610.337.0800!
Dave Cugno is the premier dog trainer in the Philadelphia area. He serves the Mid-Atlantic region including Southeastern PA and the Philadelphia area, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Maryland, and Virginia.