Pull the Trigger? No, Just Identify the Trigger
The current barking dog issue in my home town has triggered me to share some of my thoughts. Let me send a gentle reminder that barking is how dogs communicate. Meowing is for cats, mooing is for cows, neighing is for horses and talking is for people.
If you are fortunate enough to be an animal owner, and your animal is doing a bit too much talking, it is your responsibility to be the first to recognize this, not your neighbor. Your animal is letting you know that something is not right. In my Rocking Canine Companions dog training classes, teams (human and dog) work on building and modifying appreciated behaviors using positive reinforcement. As animals learn a behavior (recreational barking, killing chickens, sitting or fetching) they cannot unlearn that behavior. The good news is you can modify unwanted behaviors and maintain wanted behaviors.
It is your responsibility as the owner to identify the trigger that is setting off your dog to bark. The first question to ask: Is my dog feeling ok on the inside? As it is for people, not all foods on the market are suitable for every dog. Maybe you need to find a food that is gentler on your dog’s system. Other questions you can ask include: Have I physically exercised my dog recently? Have I mentally exercised my dog recently? Is there an unwelcome visitor (deer, skunk, loose dog) near my dogs’ territory? Does my dog have adequate space?
By identifying the triggers that make your dog bark, you will be on the right path to saving yourself a municipal and also saving your dog discomfort from a bark collar. When you see a decrease in speed limit sign (trigger), don’t you usually manage your environment (slow down) to prevent a large fine? As a responsible animal owner, you need to manage your environment for your dog for successful, well-balanced, long-lived partnerships. After all, you chose this animal to live with you in your human life. Imagine if your dog chose you to live in it’s canine life. Wouldn’t you want to be given the opportunity to live a healthy, successful, and fun life?