Helping Families Raise Happy and Reliable Dogs

Al's Dog Training Tips

Are You Rewarding Your Dog For Barking?

Rewarding your dog for barking. I can’t begin to tell you how many people reach out to me for help in getting their dogs to stop barking. It probably makes sense that people are inadvertently rewarding their dogs for barking when they don’t want them to.  So you may be confused today because I’m going to to reward your dog for just that. It makes sense that a lot of us get dogs because they do provide some form of security.

Obviously there are dogs that can actually bite people and protect you. It’s just as good if your small little dog can also bark at people and get them to go away. Nobody wants a dog that just barks out of control all of the time.

I’m going to tell you that maybe rewarding your dog for barking when they’re doing the right thing is good. So here’s a couple of circumstances that you probably already know. I actually reward my dogs whenever they bark at something that’s outside my front door. When barking at people from the window I reward them and I tell them what a good dog they are. I ask them to control themselves using some of the skills I’ve taught them over the years.

It’s underestimated how much power there is in reinforcing the dog for doing something that comes naturally. It’s genetics and then having the dog do something that you’ve trained it to do. You’ve made all the right associations for the dog to understand. They don’t have to worry about the threat anymore. They’ve done your job now it’s time for you to become calm.

So I want you guys this week to really think about rewarding your dogs when they are actually barking. Then use your leash, and a place bed, maybe even heel position and get the dogs into those places. Once they’re in control of themselves and the leash is loose. You begin to reward them and tell them what a good dog they are.

A game you can play is you don’t have to actually wait for that distraction. What I mean by that is you don’t have to wait for somebody to ring the doorbell or be walking by for your dog to already be barking. See if you can get your dog barking just in play and then start playing with them. They’re barking their little heads off and you’re telling them how proud you are.

During this game, have a leash on them and put them on their bed and ask them to become calm. Be careful at first. Don’t reward because you need to give them a few seconds to see if they can become calm. Then once they are calm, nicely and calmly pet them and praise them for doing that. Then release them from their stay and get them to play and bark again.

Playing a game like this and adapting it to the reality of your life can make a difference.

I just want to encourage you to reward your dog for the behaviors that they do give you. Then teach them how to control it by having them going to a place or into a down or stay.

Have a great day and happy training.

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