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Pet Training & Behavior Topics

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Welcome to Diana Guerrero's Ark Animals Training & Therapy. This section is dedicated to pets, companion animals, and topics related to their care and training. This Ark Animals article discusses the pet problem of excessive barking. You should always seek professional help for pet problems.

Pet Behavior Problems: Excessive Barking

Is a loud-mouth mongrel driving you nuts? This is a very common behavior problem that annoys pet owners, their neighbors, and law enforcement agencies. Barking and other vocal behavior problems tend to get worse over time; They escalate in intensity. Often the dog will bark until it is hoarse and the neighbors complain, or the pup works itself into a frenzy.

There are different reasons dogs make noise and different ways to stop them from doing that. Unfortunately, many people don't realize that early action can eliminate this problem quickly and fairly easily. Many dog owners will postpone dealing with this problem and end up tuning out their pet's horrible habit. They actually don't notice it any more. But the neighbors still hear it!

Sometimes this behavior starts with whining when the animal is working at trying to get the attention of the owner. What happens is that the owner begins to reinforce this behavior over time and the pet learns that it is an effective strategy. Pets are great at human behavior. They figure ways to perform what they want and will keep doing what works.

Often, these inappropriate patterns escalate in intensity and duration because the owner tries to ignore the behavior and then gives in. In simple terminology this escalation results from something we call "training by accident."

What happens is that the most persistent barking gets reinforced at longer and longer intervals. This really entrenches the behavior. Dogs will bark for a variety of reasons. Identifying the right reasons can help you pinpoint the right steps to take. Here are a few motivations behind barking:

  • Loneliness
  • Wanting attention
  • Fear
  • To alarm
  • Frustration
  • Breed trait
  • Improper training
  • Communication
  • Play
  • Imitation
  • Stress

Don't wait to take action on this problem since it becomes more difficult to extinguish when you delay.

If you are experiencing this behavior problem help is just a phone call away! Hire Animal Expert

About the columnist: Since 1978 Diana L. Guerrero has worked professionally with both wild and domestic animals. Guerrero has been affiliated with, and certified by, a variety of animal programs in the USA and Europe. Based in California, she writes, consults, and speaks. Information on her animal career programs, training courses, and her books {What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality (SkyLight Paths, 2003), Blessing of the Animals (Sterling, 2007), Help! My Pet is Driving Me Crazy (Guerrero Ink, 2007), Animal Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners & Pet Professionals (Guerrero Ink, 2007)} can be found in this web site and in the shop. Questions for Guerrero should be submitted via the blog comments or membership forum.


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