Stop the Excessive Barking Problem With Your Dog
When I was younger, I was quite the barker. I was easily excited by new people, animals, noises, and everything else around me. I wanted to try and communicate with my owner, and so barking seemed like a natural way to do it. She was thrilled when I barked to tell her I needed to go outside to go potty. Each time I would run and yip excitably, she would jump up and immediately run me out. This was a great tool of communication or so I thought.
Once I realized that if I barked, my owner seemed to figure out what I wanted, barking seemed like the way to go. The older I got, the more I barked. After all, I had a lot of things to tell her. I wanted to tell her there were squirrels in the backyard, and one night I wanted to let her know I saw a raccoon! She didn’t look so happy when she got out of bed to see “what all the racket was about.” I barked to let her know I ran out of food in my dinner bowl, and during family dinner, but only once or twice, I barked to have her help me find my toys I misplaced. I was so happy that I had a way to talk to her!
Slowly, she didn’t appear as happy to hear me bark anymore. Then one day I barked to say hi to her, and she squirt me in the face with water! What was that about? I thought she liked the sound of my voice, but since I am Lab, the water wasn’t too bad, and I guessed maybe we could play a game instead. So, I barked, and she squirted. I barked louder, and she squirted more. In the end, she put the water bottle down in disgust and left the room. I guess that was the end of that game.
I wasn’t sure if I should be barking anymore, but I didn’t know how to talk to her. My owner had always seemed so happy when I barked when I was young, and now that I was an adult, she wasn’t. I couldn’t figure out what had changed.
But then my owner started to do something differently. When I barked at her for attention, she ignored me! Can you imagine? She actually would turn her back on me. This hurt my feelings at first, and I thought maybe she didn’t love me. But the moment I got quiet, she threw me a treat and said, “Good quiet, Zoey!” I barked because I got excited, and she turned away from me again. I stopped barking and looked at her quizzically, but that made her give me another treat and that “quiet” word again. Pretty soon, I started to realize that if I barked, she ignored me. She had figured out a way to communicate with me too. Plus, she started to pay attention to me when I was quiet and gave me goodies.
Now, if I start barking, I know if my owner just says the word “quiet” what she wants me to do. This makes me proud to know we can communicate with each other. So even if I bark, I don’t bark as much anymore. My owner seems happy with that, and I’m happy too!