There are many requests for assistance to the ethologists by owners who cannot control their dog’s bark: barking at passers-by, barking to greet, to ask for food, and we have dogs “Ringer”: when someone calls the Bell come out barking like crazy… The repeated question is why and how to control it.
Why barks my dog then?
As Aristotle would say there is a first cause and a last cause:
The first cause is the selection made by the humans of the Canis lupus to canis lupus familiaris. We have been selecting more docile mothers Cubs.
The docility is related to a more childlike character: need for attachment to the owner (as if the parents) ability to sometimes insatiable game and barking for attention. This so called neoteny. Less docile Canids, or less domesticated, already do not bark of adults. This occurs in wolves and so-called primitive dog breeds: Husky, Alaska, Basenji…
The ultimate cause is the need for our dog to our attention. Barking order company, to order food and complain about how gross that is litter mate playing. If we perpetuate this behavior is when barking more than desired for a good coexistence between the dog and his master, and as not, neighbors.
Is it possible to prevent barking? How?
Reflecting on the causes we can clearly detect barking to avoid: don’t positively reinforce the bark. This requires dedication and patience. We must prevent our beloved pet to send us by dint of bark. Which means, no reward when ladra giving what asks:
- Barks when it wants food: do case and not give food until he stops barking. The first days are terrible, but eventually we did.
- Barks when the doorbell rings: not going to open. This is better do it preparing each day a bit of theater, but we will have to annoying visits because we’re not them.
- Barking to play with other dogs. Let it play if not it barks. It must also be prepared and with the help of a trainer. It is a little more complicated.
How can we prevent barking?
Puppy is when we must not reinforce this behavior. It makes us very much when it starts with its first bark, because we must not ever respond to our puppy barking. Who said that educate a dog would be easy?
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