How Not To Teach A Dog Not To Bark

How Not To Teach A Dog Not To Bark

I’ve been grateful to have Kora, our Australian neighbor’s dog, as company while everyone has been away, but she does have this little issue with barking. Being a small dog, she has to assert herself in some way, and barking seems to be her chosen option.

Here’s what I’ve learned about how to not teach her not to bark.

1) My first thought was just to ignore the barking. If I ignore it, it will go away, right?
Apparently me ignoring the barking makes her think, “Hey, she can’t hear me. I better bark louder…and longer…and again…and again…Hey, she still can’t hear me! I’ll try again.”

2) Going ape bat crazy when I have tried to ignore it and it doesn’t stop. When I react to her barking, she gets even more excited. In her mind: Hey, I told her there was some sound, and when I told her again and again she got really excited, too, so it must be something really bad, and I better keep letting her know there are bad things and sounds…so many sounds…hey, there’s a person outside! She might not know that…hey, look, she’s getting excited again, I must be right. BAD THING ALERT! Let’s yell together!” Bark, bark.

3) Final option is to praise her and thank her for the bark. This leads her to believe I like her behavior. Epic fail on this one.

The only thing I have found that works is if Nutmeg stays in the basement, Kora exhausts herself from barking, and then I only work in one room, where she can see me.

In other words, after only staying with us 2 weeks, she has me extremely well trained.

I’ll be glad when the kids get home to snuggle her. That helps.

Kora- Bat ears deployed for sound capture.