Dog Behaviour Advice - Dog Advice Articles
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Barking and jumping up at people
We know that all dogs bark as part of their language and yet we try to make them mute, as we consider this annoying. The problem is this is an important part of their meeting ritual as they were once wolves some 13,000 years ago and yet retain many of their ancestral traits.
Take for instance an owner shouting at their dogs because they are barking at the gate at someone or their dog. From the dog’s point of view, the owner is only barking as well, so reinforcing what it is doing is correct. The numbers of times owners have complained that the louder they shout at them to shut up, the louder their dogs become. Is it any wonder?
We seem to think that our dogs would naturally understand Shut up or be quiet, but they do not. They need to learn those commands. We use to teach dogs, Speak and Cease on Command by exciting them enough to bark on the command of Speak. Once we had them barking, we would say Cease or Finish, change our body stance, whilst offering a food treat or a toy. Of course, they become quiet. Practising with your dog, it soon knows what Finish means when you want it to be quiet.
Another method is using a clicker to call your dog to you for food treats.
It does not take long to train them that when you click the clicker continuously, it will come to you. The use of the continuous clicking should stop it thinking about changing its mind and do something else. Once you teach this then when your dog barks, you can use the clicker and normally it will stop barking and your dog will come to you. Dogs are not good at multitasking as they can only think of one thing at a time.
Some problems can occur if the timing is wrong. The dog can then learn to bark at you or the people passing by, just in order to obtain a treat. Even walking to heel using a food treat, some dogs will stop and sit. This is understandable, as you are holding a tit bit. How often do you tell your dog to sit before it receives it? Dogs are very clever.
We do have harmless compressed air citronella collars. Some are bark activated whilst some are remote controlled. These are not like the Taser type electric collars that give the dog different levels of electric pain, so please do not use these.
You should only use automatic Citronella collars as a training aid. Therefore, if you know when your dog is going to bark you can praise him following the release of the compressed air and when the dog stops.
The remote controlled ones are where you can tell your dog to be Quiet and if not, you can release the citronella spray by using the buttons on the remote hand held fob.
We also have The Pet Corrector that is just harmless compressed air in a can. Just the sound of releasing the compressed air will distract many dogs enough to stop barking and when it does, you can praise it, so it knows it has been good.
Dogs jumping up,
This too, is a wolf trait where the cubs would jump up and start licking the jaws of the hunters in a request to make them regurgitate food.
As the cubs grow, this licking and jumping up becomes more of a ritualised greeting. You will often see when dogs meet they will lick each other’s faces. Often dogs do this as a subservient sign from one to another.
Initially as puppies, we often let them lick our faces, but as they become older, this becomes a problem. First and from a vet’s point of view, it is not a good idea to let dogs lick your faces. A dog’s mouth is not as clean as people think it is. For puppies and dogs, our faces are a long way up because we stand on two legs. This means they have to jump up in order to try to reach us. Herein there are a host of problems. There is the problem of dirty paws on people, owners and guests. There is the danger of any dog, but in particular large ones, knocking people or children over with possibly dangerous consequences. Again not everyone likes dogs jumping up.
The normal method is to turn away from a puppy or dog whenever it tries to jump up. This way it does not receive the attention it thought it would get. Pushing it down only makes it worse as it thinks it is a game. For visitors entering a home, some owners hold their dogs back by the collar or even restrict the dogs to another room or outside, so they cannot meet them. Such a method can make the dogs aggressive because it demotes them in the hierarchal rank whenever visitors arrive. Eventually they begin to dislike anyone coming to your property.
If it is jumping onto your lap, say nothing and just get up and walk away. Again doing this, the dog is not getting the attention it seeks.
In addition, The Pet Corrector can very quickly teach a dog that you will not tolerate it jumping up. If the dog barks prior this, the automatic anti-bark citronella collar will stop it. As soon as the dog stops jumping, the owner must praise it, so it knows staying down receives praise.
Whenever I tell handlers how to stop these irritating problems, many tell of one very common difficulty. This is when dog-loving people come into their houses, they persistently encourage the dogs to jump up and become over excited. Even when owners tell them they are trying to stop this, they simply reply that it is ok as they love dogs and there is no problem.
Unfortunately, they are an obstruction to the dogs training. This is because dogs do not know whom they can or cannot jump up on. Some dogs can read a persons body language and see that they are not happy with their existence and so some will back away. Such dogs are relatively rare. This means we all must recognise this and when entering a home, we must ignore a dog that is seeking our attention until we are ready. This method does work, as I have entered many peoples homes where the owners were certain their dog would jump up on me and be excited, when it fact they were not.
Two examples come to mind we should consider. Imagine you entered someone’s home, all dressed up to go out to an excellent restaurant. How would you feel if an excited dog covered your clothes in doggy footprints or saliva? The second is what if you kept letting someone’s dog jump up on you when the owners are asking you not to. How would you feel if the next day the dog jumps up at a child so knocking them to the floor and possibly badly injuring them?
Dog ownership and training is not only the responsibility of the owners. Anyone who also has contact with their dogs must appreciate the need for their training and do nothing to hinder this.