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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any suggestions for how to respond to a dog barking?

My puppy only barks when he is frustrated at me (e.g. need for attention or when I'm too slow in putting the food in his puzzles). I usually just ignore him, avoiding eye contact or physical contact until he stops barking. When I took him to the cafe today to meet up with my friends, he started barking at me while I was talking to my friends. I told everyone to ignore him until he stops barking but they told me that I need to tell the dog a firm "no" whenever he barks because if I don't, then he might think that it is okay to bark.

So should I start telling the dog "no" even though it might be negative attention?

Thank you for any advice :thumbsup:
 

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I think you're handling it fine, especially since it's attention barking. "No" is still giving him attention.

A lot of people seem to believe dogs are pre-programmed to know certain words or ideas. Your dog has absolutely no idea what "no" means - frankly, most dogs don't even when they've been told it a lot because it gets used for so many things that it can be hard to make such a complicated connection.
 

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Ignoring is the best way to go, but be sure to reward him when he's been quiet for at least 5 seconds. Since he's after attention from you that'd be the time to give it to him.


Any attention, even negative attention, can be a reward and since he's barking for attention that reward is a bad thing.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's exactly what I thought. Thank you. I was starting to think that I was allowing him to bark because I wasn't telling him off. I told my friends that but they said that they always scold their dog, which seemed to work for them. They think I'm too soft with my dog by ignoring him.
 

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That's exactly what I thought. Thank you. I was starting to think that I was allowing him to bark because I wasn't telling him off. I told my friends that but they said that they always scold their dog, which seemed to work for them. They think I'm too soft with my dog by ignoring him.
It sounds like they do not understand how the training works.

When the dog is barking for attention withholding attention is a type of negative punishment. You are withholding a reward until the dog stops an unwanted behavior.

My boy will sometimes bark if he knows I'm outside, he's barking because he wants me to come in and by entering I reward his behavior. At first I was just going in even though he was barking but I noticed that he was barking more and more often when he knew I was outside. I started waiting outside the door when he barked, trying to count to five before going in. He'd bark and I'd start counting as soon as he stopped, the second he barked again I'd restart counting. It went something like this.. bark..1..bark...1...bark 1,2....bark....1,2,3....bark..1...bark...1...bark...till I eventually got to 5 and opened the door... The first couple times it took awhile to get those 5 seconds of quiet, but now he'll usually only bark once or twice before remembering I will not come in while he's barking. His reward for being quiet is getting what he was thinking he needed to bark for and that's my coming in. His "punishment" for barking is my staying outside so long as he barks.

You are allowing him to bark, but at the same time you are teaching him to make the correct decision. You're telling him that yes, you can bark, but if you bark you do not get this so do you really want to bark? When confronted with that type of decision most dogs will make the decision we want them to make.
 
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