Your Pet Question:
My dog Daisy barks like crazy at every person or animal we pass on the street and every time the doorbell rings at home. What can I do to get Daisy’s barking under control?
Lise Boullard, Montreal, Quebec
The Expert Says:
The most important thing to remember is that barking is always a symptom of a greater problem. In this case, it appears Daisy thinks that people coming to the door and people passing by are somehow a threat to your family’s safety.
The first part of the solution is to show Daisy that you are a great pack leader and that she can trust you to take care of what she thinks is a threat to your pack’s safety. Secondly, you need to teach her these things are not a threat. Incorporating these simple training techniques into your daily routine can help:
- Reinforce leadership by always walking in front of Daisy and letting her follow you, whether you’re walking down the stairs at home or stepping out the front door. Remember: leaders always lead.
- To avoid a barking frenzy when answering the front door at home, make sure Daisy is two to three meters away from the door before you open it. This shows her that you, the leader, decide who comes in to the house and takes the need to protect off of the dog’s shoulders.
- When Daisy starts barking at passersby on the street, get her attention with a loud clap and a growly tone in your voice. As soon as her focus returns to you, give her lots of praise. You are teaching her that those passing by are not a threat and she will be rewarded when she focuses on you. With persistence, she will ignore the other dogs or people altogether.