Ask Dr Dolamore |

Ask Dr Dolamore

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Dear Dr Dolamore, My dog, a terrier, barks a lot when she is in our yard. She barks in the usual situations, like when we come home, at chipmunks and people, but doesn’t seem to be able to stop. The neighbors are complaining and she really is getting on our nerves. Otherwise she is a sweet dog with no other behavior issues. Help!

J.F., Keystone

Some breeds bark more than others such as terriers, beagles, some herding breeds, and huskies. Barking is natural but complex behavior. Some examples of appropriate barking are: alarm, warning, protection, excitement or stimulation, attention, anxiety, and communication. Based on the information in your question, your dog’s barking can be considered

to stem from excitement. Your dog is easily stimulated. To control and reduce this type of nuisance barking

1. Try and identify the stimulus and see if you can eliminate or reduce your dog’s access to it. If she barks at people, keep her in when the neighborhood is busy.

2. Give a cease command to let her know you have heard the alarm. Use a word like Enough or off. Only when she stops and gives you eye contact should you reward her

3. Redirect her attention if possible to a rawhide or ball or chew toy.

4. Be sure she is getting lots of exercise.

5. Start a training regimen. Go back to basics, like getting a good name response, and eye contact. Practice sit ,stay, play ball with her.

6. Find a professional – a veterinary behaviorist, or trainer that works with problem behaviors.

7. Remember, behavior changes take time.

8. Finally, consider a citronella collar. Used appropriately along with behavior-modification techniques above, this collar can be very effective. When your dog barks, it sprays out a lemon scent that dogs dislike. It can work quickly to stop the excessive barking.

Be sure to let your neighbor know you are working hard to reduce the barking. They will appreciate your effort and communication.

Please send your pet health and wellness questions to: Dr Dolamore sees patients at Buffalo Mountain Animal Hospital and Frisco Animal Hospital

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