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Dog Training: The Noisy, Barking Dog
( Originally Published 1943 )
The noisy, barking dog usually reflects unfavorably upon his master. As we stated early in this work, obedience is the foundation of training. The noisy dog is often the disobedient dog.
The dog becomes a public nuisance according to the law if he barks needlessly, incessantly and at all hours. Also the noisy, barking dog irritates neighbors and increases the number of enemies for all dogs. The chronic barker presents a problem.
If the dog is inclined to bark needlessly at night, feed him his big meal of the day in the evening, for dogs quiet themselves and sleep on a full stomach. If quarters are inclosed, do not make an opening or network so that he can look out and about him for when dogs can see what is going on, they are inclined to bark at every opportunity.
When the master is present, even before the first note of a bark, the stern command to be quiet should be given.
The discerning master will find out just what conditions cause the dog to bark. If the dog is inclined to bark at a stranger coming down the street, he should be commanded gently to be quiet; be has noticed the presence of a stranger, which is a proper duty of a useful dog; so the reprimand should be softened with a pat on the head and the remark, "That's all right."
Where there are a group of dogs, usually one is the leader in barking. If he be taken away and properly handled, the amount of barking is reduced considerably.
As a last resort, the dog's mouth can be muzzled with a buckled strap run around the muzzle and fastened in the back of the dog's neck. It can be fastened so that it does not affect his drinking or his breathing. After a few applications of this, the dog likely will understand that it is a punishment and in most cases this method has reduced barking considerably. Barking in the kennel, especially at night, can be lessened by making a noise such as the ringing of a bell or the shaking of a piece of iron against the wall; some kennel owners run a wire or rope from the kennel house to the residence so that a pull on the rope makes the noise which in turn stops the barking.
Some kennels install radio loud speakers which carry the voice; a dog, the barking leader can be called by name and quieted. These communicating sets are useful at all times, especially to talk to the kennelman.
The problem of the intelligent dog, full of keen sensibilities, who likes to express himself in barking, sometimes joyous, sometimes otherwise, presents a problem. Frankly, there is not any secret formula for a cure. Immense vitality may start the undesirable habit so that the dog barks at every passerby, is noisy in the automobile, and barks loudly at the milkman and other visitors.
Overkindness on the part of the master and the absence of intensive training in puppyhood have helped to create the vice.
Try to stop the dog just an instant before he begins to bark; if possible, anticipate the bark and give him the stern command, "no, quiet, quiet!"
If he does bark notwithstanding, go to him but not threateningly; lead him away by the collar; give him a slight shaking; do not speak in a coddling voice; rather, use a firm constant voice. Let the dog understand that he must be quiet, that he must obey or else his head will be shaken vigorously.
There will be some progress but the problem is always a hard one. The spoiled child cannot be corrected permanently over night, and Iikewise the spoiled dog, usually a barking nuisance, cannot be changed within a day's time-the too indulgent owner is paying for his own sins of earlier negligent supervision.