My puppy barks while I prepare his food or my food, or anything in the kitchen!

Ziggy at 9 weeks

Ziggy at 9 weeks

I have had my Golden Retriever puppy for just over 2 weeks now, so naturally we are still learning to communicate with each other. He is quite vocal, and for the most part I don't mind that. One behavior that I would like to train out of him is the incessant barking while I am getting his food ready.

I tried saying "quiet" and holding his food dish until he settled down. I was determined not to give him the food until he got quiet and stopped jumping on me. I was aware of his presence (at that point, so was the whole neighborhood!).

Ziggy had been the smallest in his litter and he is very easy going and submissive, so he was always bullied, and he had to fight for every morsel of food with his litter mates. But now he is the only dog. I am trying to understand his anxiety and excitement about his food, but I need him to stop barking. It gets louder the longer I take.

What's worse is he also barks when I am preparing food for me or just doing other things in the kitchen that have nothing to do with food. I'm assuming he wants my attention. I have tried saying quiet, but he doesn't settle.

Answer



Congratulations on your new puppy! Barking is a normal dog behavior and it can get worse when there is a miscommunication between you two.

What you have been doing, about not giving him food until he stops barking, is the right thing to do. However, it sounds like Ziggy is so used to barking constantly and for long periods of time, that it will require a little bit of skill to get your message across. Besides, simple saying “quiet” won’t work unless you actively teach your pooch the meaning of the word.

Instead of completely ignoring your puppy when he is barking, grab a little piece of food and put it right under his nose. Don’t give it to him yet! Say “Quiet”, he will most likely stop barking to smell and probably get the treat, count to 2, then let him have the treat by simply opening your fingers or hand.

The above is the basic exercise, and all you need to do now is make those 2 seconds, longer and longer…until he can be quiet. for 10-15 seconds. You can also work on showing the treat from a longer distance (instead of putting it right under his nose). In no time you puppy will understand that to get a treat he needs to be quiet. Follow this link for a detailed explanation of this exercise and more on barking solutions.

Learning how to train a reliable dog command is also very useful. This link will teach you step-by-step how to do it.

Good luck with your new canine friend!

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