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It goes without saying that getting a new puppy is very exciting and the more excitement there is in the home, the more chance a new little friend will want to join in the fun. Some puppies get a bit scared when things get too loud and prefer to hide away until things calm down while others really get too boisterous and what typically goes hand-in-in with lots of excitement is a lot of yapping!
The trouble is that puppies get into the habit of yapping very quickly because they are at a very impressionable age. They begin to like the sound of their own voices which can become quite a nuisance especially when they start barking at the slightest sound they hear. Puppies soon learn that barking gets them noticed although older dogs will bark for a reason which could be because they think something bad is about to happen or to warn an owner that something unusual is going on.
All dogs bark with the exception of the Basenji, and some breeds tend to be a lot more vocal than others. Then there are breeds which are encouraged to bark because they have a job to do as guard dogs. However, while puppies are still learning the ropes, it's a time when they are looking for things to do and one job they often believe is theirs is to guard and look after their owners. It would also be fair to say that most new things a puppy comes across are seen as threats or enemies, which includes the door bell, letters coming through the door and dogs that are barking in the distance down the road. As a result, puppy feels they need to warn you of these impending dangers and they do so by barking!
When it comes to teaching them not to bark, there are two main ways of doing this which is through training and by using gentle deterrents because the last thing you want to do is frighten them. Both of these techniques work hand-in-hand and are the best way of teaching a puppy that barking at everything is not really necessary.
By far the best deterrent is to make sure puppy does not get too bored because all too often, they bark in order to relieve the fact they are bored. Being left on their own for long periods of time is never very good because puppies and younger dogs need to interact and have contact with people or other animals to keep them stimulated and to tire them out. If you are at work most of the day you need to organise a dog sitter who would be able to keep your puppy company while you are not around. Another option is to take your puppy along to a doggy day care centre, but they would only be allowed to join a group if they are old enough and have therefore had all their shots!
Always leave lots of good quality interactive toys around the house for puppy to play with when you are not at home. Playing with their toys will keep puppy busy and out of trouble which includes getting into the habit of barking when they're feeling bored. The more a puppy plays, the more tired they get which means they will spend more time sleeping when you are not around.
It's also a good idea to leave the curtains closed or blinds down if your pup has started to bark at sounds and things they see outside. If they can't see shadows, this will reduce the risk of them barking although they may still want to bark at any sort of sound they hear coming from outside the home.
Education is the key to sharing your home with a well-balanced, happy puppy and one that does not like the sound of their own voices. One of the first things puppy has to learn is who is boss which means you have to establish the fact you are the “alpha dog” in the home and it all starts with obedience training with the first two commands being “sit” and “no”.
Some people think that training a puppy to bark on cue actually helps stop them from barking incessantly at other things. This type of training involves teaching them to “speak” on command which can be achieved using lots of healthy, tasty treats. You then train your pup to bark quietly by teaching them the “whisper” command.
Once, puppy has learnt the “speak” and the “whisper” command, the next stage of their training is learning the “quiet” command. The majority of puppies find this part of their education great fun and enjoy the learning experience. In short, they learn the three commands very quickly. The key to successfully training any puppy or dog is to make sure you reward and praise them every time they get it right.
Sadly, a lot of dogs end up in rescue centres because of their excessive barking which has become an issue. The sad thing is that this type of behaviour problem can easily be corrected with a little time and patience.
Getting a new puppy is a very exciting time, but with this comes huge responsibility. Not only do you have to make sure they are well cared for, but you need to start their training really early so they get to grips with all the rules. Knowing what is expected of them, puppies become well-balanced characters and as such there's less chance of them developing unwanted behavioural problems, one of which is excessive barking!
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