Why does my dog bark at me?

asked 2017-05-28 15:53:43 -0500

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dogs bark to communicate a need, ( food, outside) a fear ( strangers, sounds) a warning, or simply a message. Your dog can have multiple barks meaning different things. Pay attention to the tone, energy and body language with each bark. You will see patterns and be able to respond appropriately

Nancy M.'s profile image Nancy M.  ( 2017-06-01 08:25:43 -0500 ) edit

3 Answers

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answered 2017-06-02 10:32:31 -0500

I think Fannie is spot-on. I will add some conditioning tips.

I find with dogs who are very set in their ways, using a water bottle like they use in salons to spritz the barking with can help let the dog know that barking is not cool. When the dogs barks at you, also look at the ceiling. Let the dog know that barking is going to have the opposite effect...he will be shunned. If he gently sets his chin on your lap or foot. that gets petting.

Some exercises that can help:

(I wrote this in a note on building confidence in dogs, but it can also apply to leadership)

  1. Teach Dismissal

We spend a lot of time teaching dogs to “come”. But teaching them to “go” is really important, too. This is a thing that seems like the exact opposite of what a needy, insecure dog requires, but the payoff is big.

(I’m going to use the needy girlfriend analogy again, and don’t get mad, because I was once one of these myself.) It goes kind of like this: “OMG, since this morning I have called him like 10 times, and texted, and I left him messages, and I left some muffins at his desk where he works, and I have not heard from him!!! He must not love me! Maybe I should have left coffee. In a thermos. Or the muffins in a warmer. I mean, it’s 9 am already!” If your dog is always following you around, rolling around on the floor in front of you, pawing at you, climbing on you, rubbing against you like a cat, bringing you toys, licking your skin off, etc, then that’s the dog version. Your dog feels that if she does not work to get your attention, you will never see her.

Step one in ending this cycle is not to reward the texts and phone calls with texts and phone calls. At least, not with a dog. Step one is to get her to give you some space. Ask her to “back off” and “go lie down” or “go be a dog”. This must be said with a flat affect. You must look at the ceiling or into the far distance - anywhere but the dog. You must wave your hand in her general direction, like a wagging tail as you walk off. You must be very calm and committed to it. If this sounds like a disdainful monarch on a throne dismissing a peasant, yeah, it’s kind of like that. But it’s okay. She is a dog.

She will try to get into your line of vision, rub against your hand or legs. Be firm in denying her existence. It can take as long as 4 minutes, but usually won’t. This is actually how dogs communicate with each other: “Not now” You can raise your upper lip a little if you want (again with the disdainful monarch, but same thing ... (more)

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answered 2017-06-02 07:37:30 -0500

If the bark is not an aggressive bark and all of your dog's need are met, it is simply your dog demanding stuff and should not be allowed. I am not talking about a dog letting you know he wants to go outside or that someone is at the door but rather a dog vocalizing when he wants something. If you respond to these sort of barks, you are telling the dog he can demand things and he will get them, making for a very annoying spoiled brat of a dog. This might sound a tad harsh but a dog should not think he rules the house, decides when and how he gets attention from you, when it is time to play or be relaxed, he should know you are the one in charge. It only makes for a more pleasant well mannered and mentally stable dog and a much more pleasant household.

In positive reinforcement training, we use all that the dog wants or need as training tools. If your dog wants affection, he must pay fro it with a behavior. For example, if your dog barks at you or nudges your hand with his nose to let you know he wants attention or affection, you ask for a sit or a down and then reward him with attention. If the dog wants to go outside, he must sit nicely by the door and wait for you to decide it is time. Again, this goes for all of what he wants and needs. Instead of spoiling your dog, use these things to train him or he will train you in no time.

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answered 2017-06-01 22:07:28 -0500

Different barks can mean different things. A dog can bark while playing or to give you a warning. Or maybe he wants to go outside. There can be many different reasons. Pay attention to his body language. After you spend a lot of time with your dog and get to know him, you will know what he needs before he lets you know.

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