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.
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.
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.
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.
by Neal Seaman