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How Do I Stop Nuisance Barking?

Having a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. However, there are times when your best friend becomes your neighbors' and your worst enemy. Nuisance barking can turn a neighborhood into a war zone with neighbor fighting with neighbor. Everyone has the right to live in peace without the ominous sounds of barking resonating throughout a neighborhood. The owners of the offending noisemaker are at a loss because they have not been given the proper tools to either stop this problem from happening at the onset or what to do when it becomes a full-blown problem. Then abuse sets in. Not knowing what to do they chain the dog up, yell at him/her, hit and do other things that only make the problem worse. I would like to give you some suggestions on why it happens and how to correct it.

Nuisance barking usually has many causes. These causes are never the dog's fault. He is only reacting to the environment that he/she has been taught to live in. Now that we have concluded that it is not his/her fault, I shall direct the causes to the humans in his/her life, which prompts this obnoxious behavior. The following three causes are the most common and the easiest to fix when your using the proper tools and methodology.

The most common cause of nuisance barking is the lack or proper amount of exercise the dog receives. Many people are under the assumption that if they have a backyard, a dog run or large acreage property and when the dog is put out in these areas this constitutes exercise. This is a popular misconception. A dog must receive proper exercise. When he/she does not receive the proper exercise he/she becomes bored and develops bad habits. Habits such as pacing, nervousness, agitation, running around in circles, and of course the most offending and most blatant - nuisance barking.

The second most common cause of nuisance barking is the lack of mental exercise a dog is given. When a dog is not allowed to use his mind, he becomes a vegetable. The dog knowing something is wrong with this lack
of mental stimulation reacts the only way he/she knows how to and that is by barking. The barking acts as stimulation for the mind because the dog is now pretending environmental activity is happening and he is a part of it. He is answering this environmental activity (whether real or imagined) with the overt act of barking.

Boredom is right up there with the causes one and two. Toys that are placed in a yard soon become passé and a dreary reminder of the lack of no other games to play except with the same old toys. Out of frustration to find other items to keep himself/herself mentally stimulated the dog invents his/her own games. Barking, pulling up roots, digging holes, tearing up flowerbeds and the list goes on and on. Each dog exhibits their own flavor of neurotic behaviors but they all boil down to one fact, BOREDOM.

I have developed a surefire way to solve the problem. Due to space requirements, I will try to succinctly summarize the solutions for you.

STEP 1 - Depending on the size of the dog, make a long lead out o rope. For dogs fifty pounds or less, use a 50' rope. For dogs over 50 pounds, use a 100' rope. Pick yourself up a pair of those cheap brown gloves sold in a hardware store. The gloves are used so when the rope-lead goes through your hands, if at a specific instant the dog decides to run and play you will not get a rope burn.

STEP 2 - Every day, for ten days straight, take your dog to a field and let him be a dog. Attach him to the lead and let him investigate, run, and be himself in that field. Set the time aside so he can exhaust himself mentally checking out his new surroundings and physically by running. While you are doing this, over the days, you will see a major decrease in the nuisance barking and the destructive behaviors. In fact, your dog because he is now being stimulated mentally and physically will have a healthier outlook on his environment. You will know when to leave the field by the fact that your dog is physically exhausted and he will show you this by lying down. Do not remove him from the field after the first lay down. Encourage him to get up and play more. Do this also on the second lay down. On the third time, your dog is ready to go home. By the way never take your dog anywhere without an adequate supply of water and a bowl.

STEP 3 - After ten days do not take him to the field. In fact, he should not go back into that field until you start to see some of the old neurotic behaviors surface again. As soon as you see an inkling of the old behaviors come back you know it is time to go back to the field again. For example, if it takes two days for the original behaviors to surface you know that every second day your dog must be taken to that field for the proper amount of exercise. He has now indicated to you that his body and mind must be refreshed every two days. Once you have established his baseline, do not let the field become another backyard. Find different fields and keep alternating them for your dog's day out. This way he will not become bored, again. This system which is guaranteed to work and it will not only stop the nuisance barking, stop the destructive behaviors, but will allow your dog to be happier because he is now experiencing a better lifestyle. More active physically and mentally which stops the bad behaviors and your dog will be calmer and easier to live with. In addition, most importantly, your dog will be happier.

Written by Neal Seaman

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