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Barking Remedy

The following tip is taken from canine behavior expert William E. Campbell's book, "The New Better Behavior in Dogs."

Sneak 'n Peek

(This approach can also be adapted for use with dogs who engaged in destructive behavior such as chewing furniture when the owner is away from home.)

This correction is called sneak 'n peek. Use the setups by leaving or coming home earlier than your usual time on work days as well as on your days off. Make all your usual preparations for going to work, then:

1. Sit down quietly for at least five minutes in the area that you usually leave the dog.

2. Pay no attention to him. Don't even make eye contact or speak.

3. Get up and leave without a word.

4. Start the car and drive off down the street -- do whatever makes the dog think you are really gone.

5. Then sneak back to an area adjacent to the dog, but out of his sight and scenting ability (if outside, stay downwind). The instant the dog displays any sign that he may start barking, such as pacing or whining, or if he does start barking, apply a noise as a "distracter." The distracter must be some sound other than your voice. The sounds must be quick -- less than a second in duration -- in order to be successful. A single rap on the window, door, fence, etc., interrupts the dog's attention from the barking but avoids revealing where the distracter came from. If possible, move your observation point behind the dog when his attention is on his usual target. When the barking stops, do not praise the dog. Remain silent and repeat the distracter if the barking starts again or if you see or hear the dog getting ready to bark.

6. Continue this routine until the dog settles down. This may take between a few minutes to an hour, but it must be done.

If you must leave for work before total success is achieved, don't worry -- complete correction will take a little longer, but eventually you will win. You will know you are making headway when the following happens: A sound occurs that used to cause barking; the dog alerts to it but settles down or just whines or sniffs in the direction of the sound.


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Partnership for Animal Welfare, Inc. P.O. Box 1074, Greenbelt, MD 20768


Last Updated: July 21, 2013 (LET) PawSupport