Why do dogs bark & what can be done about it? Part 2
So, now we have arrived at the other big reason dogs bark…exercise (or lack thereof). Let’s be honest, most of us do not give our dogs enough exercise, let alone mental stimulation (boredom anyone?) If you are not walking your dog at least an hour a day, at least six days a week, you are not even going to touch their energy level! And as we stated in an earlier post, we have jobs, spouses, kids, dinner and of course the boob tube to contend with, so what do we do?
Besides us walking our own dogs, which we should all be doing anyway since it’s good for us as well, we can use doggy day care or professional dog walkers! If you own a dog and cannot afford the 10-20 bucks a day for doggy day care or professional dog walker and if you don’t have the time to exercise the dog because of the craziness of your life, I really need to ask the question “should you own a dog?” I know that is a cruel question, but it is not fair to relegate a social animal such as a dog to solitary confinement 18-20 hours a day! This is a question you and your family must answer on your own, but unfortunately not everyone should own a dog.
Sorry… off my soapbox and back to doggy day care. Facilities such as this will not only give your dog exercise, but will allow the dog to, well, be a dog! I am a big believer in the fact if dogs are not allowed to interact with their own kind (outside of the pack they have at home) they forget how to speak dog. Doggy day cares are a great way to keep them proficient at their native tongue, while properly socializing them. It also allows dogs to spend some quality time away from Mom and Dad, realizing that being away from the family is not a bad thing, but is actually fun! It can actually help prevent, and even help in some cases of separation anxiety! This being said, doggy day care will not be a good fit for every dog, and any reputable facility will tell you if you have an anti-social dog. Dogs, like people, have different personalities, just like some people don’t like being around other people, some dogs don’t like being around other dogs. (See later post on how to choose a good doggie day care/boarding facility!)
Now you are ready to experience a worn out dog. One of the first things I teach in my classes is “A tired dog is a good dog!” This alone, with some dogs, will have a marked difference on all sorts of problem behaviors, including barking. If not, you can at least work with the dog since their attention will be more focused because of the exercise and socialization from the doggy day care facility or the exercise from other sources. Think of it this way, we have a first grade class who does not get recess, and is given 2 pounds of chocolate to eat and Mt Dew to drink! Do you want to even try to teach them arithmetic? But say we have kids who get physical exercise with 2 recesses a day, socialization with Gym class and a healthy lunch, now how about arithmetic? I’m pretty sure I would choose the second group of kids!
So the next step is to get started with some cues/commands (now that we have the edge off with exercise) that can help you get barking, and even some other problem behaviors more under control. Think about it this way…our kids have had recess & now it’s time to learn our ABC’s.
Sometimes more is not always better… And sometimes we are not as smart as we think!
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