Training Tips...II

Repeated and unwanted barking is very annoying – how to stop it?
Barking is very natural to your dog. Barking is like 'talking' in human beings. It is a means of communication for various purposes. He has to bark when stranger appears at your gate. To many of us, it is a 'live' calling bell to alert the household. Hence, barking is to be in a controlled manner and not to eliminate fully. In military-dogs, there used to be de-barking operation by snipping the vocal-chords.

Let him bark once or twice when the door-bell rings or when there is strange noise, if he is indoor; or when a stranger appears at the gate, if he is an outdoor dog. Then, praise him quietly to make him understand that he 'did his job' and that is all what is expected of him. If he continues to bark, command him ‘QUIET’ and repeat with more stern voice, if required. If you want him to continue to bark at strange noise, let him do it; otherwise silence him quickly. This will gradually help him to learn 'when to bark' continuously. Control of excessive barking should be done early in it's life, if not, it will be difficult to train him later. Do not resort to muzzling him or isolate him to control the bark. This will make him more nervous, repeat barking and to turn out as an aggressive one when grown up.

A puppy alone in house, may turn out to be barking or destructive – what to do?
While you are at home, start keeping your pup alone in a room. This should be of short intervals in the beginning. When he starts barking, immediately open the door and command ‘Quiet’ in a scolding tone. Repeat - till the pup gets used to this for a reasonable period of time. Once he is accustomed to this, get out of the house and shut the door forcibly. Wait outside and listen to the response of the pup. Come inside the house if necessary and repeat the command 'Quiet' if needed. The separation-period is then extended gradually. To avoid boredom and to prevent destructive behaviour, provide him chewable items like chew-bones or exclusive pet-toys.

Chasing Automobiles:
Chasing of cars and motorcycles is often a problem. Chasing of motorcycles is a real danger to the rider than the dog. In any case, this habit has to be curtailed. The following method can be used to curb this bad habit:

1) Using the ‘Stay’ command. This is used when the dog makes his 'first-step' towards the automobile.

2) Not allow him to join the company of known auto-chasers. Dog being a pack-animal, will resort to what other dogs in the pack is doing. A bad company spoils not only children but dogs too!

3) If auto-chasing habit has been formed, a method has to be devised to provide him an unpleasant experience associated with auto-chasing. The following methods can be used:

First, get the help of your friend to drive his car at slow speed. When the dog is to start chasing the car, pour a mug of warm or cold water over him. Repeat this for a few days until he stops the habit of chasing the car. Another method is to put on halter to the dog and attach to long leash or rope. Allow the dog to chase the car from back. When he reaches the end of the leash, it suddenly halts, giving jolt to the dog. This being an unpleasant feeling, repeating it for a few times gives your dog a feeling that chasing a car or motorcycle may end up with an unpleasant experience.

Begging from the Dining Table:
This is definitely due to a bad management practice. First-of-all, feed your dog only after taking your food. Many people feed the dog as a matter of convenience before preparing the dining table. If the feeding time is fixed around 2-3 pm, this is unlikely to happen. In the pack, the dominant takes the first morsel; and here, you are the 'pack leader' and you should always take the food first and only then your dog. Also, make it a point not to feed him from the dining table either by you or your guests while eating. If any food crumbs are to be fed, feed it only after your food is over or preferably keep it aside for the regular feeding time, if possible.

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