Are you supporting your dog’s barking without even knowing it? – Excessive barking (part 2)
Dogs that have a problem with excessive barking and constant whining are not displaying bad behavior as most dog owners unjustly assume. Instead, these dogs are just reaching out for some attention. Excessive barking is simply an issue that has to do with loneliness. In fact, loneliness is typically the number one reason why a dog will resort to behavioral problems.
If the motivator is loneliness, then you have to understand that the only form of expression a dog has is to bark. And when he barks, it is attention in which the animal is seeking. It does not matter what kind of attention he gets. Dogs were never very adept to understanding the human language anyhow!
Discipline gone wrong
Now if you resort to paddling your dog’s backside in the attempt to fix the barking issue, the only real accomplishment that the dog would learn is to stay out of reach the next time around. And of course, there will be a next time, as soon as the lights are turned off, or when your bedroom door is shut, if the dog is left in the backyard alone, etc.
Another mistake dog owners make is by supporting the very barking behavior in which they are trying to stop in the first place. For example, what if your dog is in the backyard and barking wildly at night, what do you do? Most dog owners, reaching their boiling point with frustration, would pull the dog into the house so that the neighbors do not complain and can get some sleep. However, although such action may be deemed commendable by your thankful neighbors, taking the dog inside will only perpetuate the problem.
In fact, you can guarantee a repeat performance tomorrow night, and every night thereafter, so long as the dog barks, an you come outside and provide attention by bringing him inside the house. And the one thing you can guarantee is that your dog will learn that, by barking, you will show up and give him attention!
Dogs learn by associating their actions with a pleasing or a displeasing result
Many dog owners unwittingly create and instigate certain bad habits that their pets have developed, such as excessive barking problems. For example, one extreme case in point is a man who would put a bowl of food in front of his dog every time it barked. Her reasoning for this action was “My dog can’t bark and be a problem if something is in his mouth”. As you can guess, this repeated action only confirmed in her dog’s mind that barking is a good thing and that tasty treats are the result.
Another example is the family that decided to finally get a dog that the kids have been wanting for years. Instead of buying a young puppy, they decided to adopt an adult dog from the local Humane Society. As soon as the new dog was on the front lawn, a stranger walked by the house and the dog began to bark incessantly.
Of course Dad was elated at how his new dog was such a wonderful guard dog so he showered the animal with kisses and affection. Needless to say, their new “family protector” was instantly taught that barking was good and that he should bark excessively at anything that moves within visual distance. In time, these dogs’ “acts of courage” turn into acts of nuisance to everyone in the neighborhood.