When to ignore a puppy barking and when to say quiet?

by Nia


Hello,
We have a miniature schnauzer puppy (14 weeks) and although we have owned dogs before because they were whippets and generally quiet the barking issue is new to me. I have looked up about barking issues but am a little confused as to when to ignore the dog therefore not rewarding their barking by giving her attention and when you use the command quiet. The two methods seem a bit contradictory.

Any help would be gratefully received.

Thanks,
Nia

Answer


That is a great questions! The reason you are getting confused is because the two methods you are mentioning *Ignoring the dog* and *teaching the dog to be quiet*, are two completely different methods, used in different occasions and many times for different problems.

Depending on your situation, you may want to teach the puppy the "quiet" command. This involves making the puppy bark and then making him quiet down. You repeat this many many times until the puppy understand the commands "bark" and "quiet". This command is useful when you have a dog that barks to alarm, or barks at different things (maybe for attention but at other dogs or animals, not at you). I don't recommend this methods to teach a dog that barks at you for attention.

Ignoring your dog, is a technique specifically for dogs that bark for attention at you. The reward the dog is trying to get is - your attention - so you won't give that reward until the dog is quiet. You must completely ignore your dog (do not look at him, talk to him or touch him) until he is completely quiet for 2-3 seconds. After he is quiet you praise him and give him attention. If he barks again, you ignore again. Slowly you increase the time the dog remains quiet before you give him attention.

Finally, it is important to understant that the dog is asking for attention for a reason. He may bored, hungry, needs to go outside, etc. You need to meet that need -before- he starts barking. An alternative is to teach your dog to do something different to get your attention. For example, teach him to ring a bell to go outside, or bring his bowl when he is hungry. Bored dogs need exercise, mental stimulation and attention -before- the dog starts begging for it (by barking at you).

Hope this helps!
Nati.

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