Teaching Your Dog To Bark On Command Will Keep The Energy Flowing

Posted: February 25, 2015 in Dog Behavior
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Part of what I do as a dog trainer is to answer daily messages from people who are having problems with their dogs that they just can’t get a handle on.

I thought I would share some of these emails with you, I hope you find them entertaining as well as informative.

This message came in a few days ago, it was from an lady who lived alone on a nice quiet street, where she had spent most of her adult life.

She wrote me asking for help with her 7 year old German Shepherd Roxie, who she said for the most part was well behaved and easy to handle..and up till this point had never really been a cause for concern.

She went on to tell me that about a month ago construction had started across the street from her, a new house was going up, and there were crews of men working with various tools and making a lot of noise.

They were cutting trees, and moving dirt, and she began to notice that every time she went out to go for a walk she had trouble with Roxie pulling and barking trying to get across the street., and she described her actions as vicious in nature..to use her words,

“She acts like she wants to take a chunk out of their hide.”

She then went on to tell me that the behavior had progressively gotten worse..now she can’t let Roxie out for a moment without supervision, as she will no longer just stay in the yard and bark at the boys across the street., she now goes after them..and has on more than one occasion put them in their trucks or up a ladder..

To use her words again,

“I am scared to death she is going to bite someone, and I will lose her, and I can’t lose her,.. she is all I got, can you please help me.”

The first question I asked her was how she felt about what was going on across the street.

She told me that she was annoyed that they were cutting down the beautiful trees that stood there and that she would miss taking Roxie over there to run around and play fetch with  her..

That little patch of land was one of the last vestiges of nature left in her fast growing community.

In short it pissed her off to no end.

I knew immediately what was going on, so I explained to her how our dogs feel what we feel, and Roxie was picking up on her anger and frustration about the work going on across the street, and a dog will try to help us identify our deepest emotions even if we are not even aware we have them.

I suggested to her that she try to find some way to make peace with what was going on,.. to own her feelings about it and understand that her dog will reflect even slight variations in our emotional make up.

Sometimes it is in our best interest to simply have the courage to accept the things we can’t change.

I explained that in order to help Roxie ground the fear she has been dealing with,.. it would help is she taught Roxie to bark at her instead of the crew across the street, so the next time she starts to react to the commotion of construction..just tell her it’s OK, that the construction is just part of the flow of energy now..and if she is fearful and needs to bark, then bark at her so she can be the ground that absorbs the energy Roxie needs to keep moving.

I went on to explain to her that a dogs bark comes from the deepest part of their emotional being, and that in times of great stress they will bark to express fear,.. instead of going to that primal place that would cause them to bite…barking gives them a way to express their fear instead of acting on it.

Barking moves energy that would otherwise become blocked. 

How To Teach Your Dog To Bark On Command

Some dogs will hold onto the fear because it is deep down in their emotional battery, and it may take a fair bit of time to bring that fear to the surface in order for them to feel safe enough to bark on command. 

Other dogs who have less stored fear stress will bark on command very quickly.

This is how I teach my dogs to bark on command.

Get a treat that your dog is really into..hold it close to your chest and your dog will sniff and root around, maybe scratch to get the treat..in a playful tone of voice say..speak, speak.. and the second he or she barks give the treat and give them love and praise to let them know that this is the way to keep the energy flowing… and to be safe.

If your dog is less inclined to bark..

Put some pressure on your dog to cause a little stress..wave it around in their face and in a sweet voice say..speak, speak., in time, the dog will need to express themselves,.. to relieve the stress,.. and he or she will bark…give them the treat and continue to praise them in a sweet puppy wuppy voice..” good girl,”  “that’s such a good dog.”

Repeat this exercise daily for a while until your dog will speak on command without the food reward.

All the best

Harley

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