How to stop your dog’s barking in the backyard

How to stop your dog’s barking in the backyard

Are you tired of incessant barking echoing through your backyard, disrupting your peace and annoying your neighbors? It’s a common challenge dog owners face, but fear not! With the right approach, you can effectively address and minimize your dog’s barking in your backyard. In this article, we’ll explore practical strategies to identify the triggers behind your dog’s barking and implement training techniques to curb this behavior.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Why is your dog barking in your backyard? Recognize the “Triggers”
  • What’s the Root Cause of your dog’s Barking Behavior?
  •  Initial Stage – Door thresholds
  • Practice your leash communication skills:
  • Be ahead of the behavior.
  • Mistakes to avoid.
  • Teach Your Dog How to Stop Barking on Cue
  •  But My Dog Only Barks When I’m Not in the Backyard’
  • Takeaways
  • FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Recognize the “Triggers”

Understanding what prompts your dog to bark in your backyard is the initial step towards addressing this behavior. Dogs can bark for various reasons, including boredom, territorial instincts, fear, or excitement. By identifying the triggers, you can tailor your approach to effectively manage and reduce barking episodes.

What’s the Root Cause of your dog’s barking Behavior?

Take note of the specific situations or stimuli that provoke your dog’s barking. Is it the presence of other animals, unfamiliar noises, or people passing by? Understanding the root cause and the triggers will enable you to devise targeted solutions to address the problem effectively.

Initial Stage – Door thresholds

Before you take your dog out through your backyard door put your dog a leash and calm him/her down. This is one of the most important steps that most people miss. Don’t wait until your dog starts barking in your backyard. Instaed do this: At the door before going outside use a body block to teach your dog that door open means to wait calmly instead of rushing out the door or pulling the leash. You can use the door to block access, but I like to use my body language with a body block to communicate calmness. I strongly believe in non verbal communication through body language to keep yourself honest and provide clarity to your dog. Communicating boundaries and calmness without external use of treats or corrections is key to establish a solid bond and connection with your dog. Also learning to communicate directly in a way your dog understands without the need of manipulating the environment is a much better way to deepen your relationship with your dog.

Practice your leash communication skills:

Use the leash to give guidance and direction to make your dog to calm down progressively. Make sure you’ve learnt and practice proper leash communication skills. This means to condition your dog that the leash means to calm down. The leash should only have to functions: to guide  your dog into calmness or to guide your dog into movement. This are the basics of leash training. If you’re intertersted in learning this skill you can join my online program here: Pawmos The Art of Dog Training.

Dogs can only do one thing at a time + you already taught him that the leash means to calm down. This is why the leash communication exercises are so important. Leash communication is the foundation if you want to use the leash as a tool to change your dog’s state of mind and curb some behaviors like excessive barking, lunging or jumping at the fence.

To learn more about leash communication skills click here: What is Leash Communication? Why is it SO important?

Be ahead of the behavior.

Teach your dog to look to reactive triggers on leash without a reaction. The goal is for your dog to be able to look at a trigger on leash without having any reaction even if it’s for one second. 

When looking at a trigger use the leash to guide her into calmness. As soon as she looks at the other dog say :”let’s go” use a gentle tug to the side to break the eye contact with the trigger and move away. Reinforce the behavior with a treat in calm manner. Do not throw a party to reward your dog, since that will get your pup excited the barking will start again. Remember your are teaching your dog to regulate excitement.

Success is not how much you can push it  until you get a reaction, but how much you can push it where there’s no reaction at all. 

Remember two things:

1. Use the leash to guide not to correct 

2. Timing is very important. Use the leash before your dog reacts not after. You don’t want to correct a behavior. You want the behavior not to happen in the first place. That’s how you fade out any behavior effectively and fast.

For further information on reactivity read this article: What is Dog Reactivity? 6 Deadly Mistakes When Training Your Reactive Dog.

Mistakes to avoid:

Do not use the leash for corrections, do not yank and do not yell at your dog to shut up. Barking is usually the result of overstimulation caused by fear, territory, dominance or alert. Your goal is to calm your dog down, not to correct or punish for barking. You want to teach your dog to look at the triggers in a calm state of mind so they can still do whatever they were doing but without barking

Don’t reinforce your dogs barking without knowing. It’s essential to avoid inadvertently reinforcing your dog’s barking behavior. While it may seem natural to soothe or comfort a barking dog, this can unintentionally reinforce the behavior, making it more challenging to eliminate in the long run. Instead, focus on implementing techniques to calm your dog down.

Teach Your Dog How to Stop Barking on Cue.

If your dog is already barking training your dog to respond to a specific command to stop barking can be an effective strategy. Start by teaching a command such as “quiet” or “enough” paired with a reward when your dog complies.After practicing leash communication  exercises were you already taught him that the leash means to calm down and not to pull, you can use the leash to teach your dog not to bark. 

Make sure to have the leash on your pup first. When he starts barking say “ quite” or “Thank you” in a calm manner. Make sure he hears it. Sometimes you might need some volume when you say “quite”. 

Then use the leash to move him away from the source of barking. If he is barking at a person or at something he staring at, make sure you break the eye contact from the source of what’s triggering the barking. 

Once he calms down and stops barking, you can come back to were you where. If he barks again you repeat the process and you follow through until the barking resumes. 

If you repeat it several times the word “quiet” would mean to stop barking and to calm down. “Quite” is not only going to be a command that means to stop barking, but most importantly it will also mean a change of state of mind where your dog calms down. 

Important notes: 

Use the leash to give guidance and direction to make your dog to calm down progressively. When you give direction to your dog to do something else while he’s barking he will stop barking.Consistency and patience are key to reinforcing this behavior effectively.

But My Dog Only Barks When I’m Not in the Yard.

If your dog’s barking primarily occurs when you’re not present then you need to start being present and start building from there. You will first have to teach your dog to be calm in your backyard and not to bark at the specific triggers. You’ll need to be present at the beguining. Once your dog’s has learnt to control the emotional responses to those trigers, you can start slowly leaving your dog alone in your backyard. Supervision at a distance will still be necessary until the behavior is mastered.  In such cases it can help to provide engaging toys, interactive puzzles, or other low energy activities to keep your dog calm while being in your backyard alone. 

Takeaways.

Excessive barking can be a nuisance, but with patience, consistency, and the right approach, you can effectively address this behavior and restore peace to your backyard. By identifying triggers, implementing training techniques, and addressing underlying causes, you can teach your dog to bark less and enjoy a quieter, more harmonious environment.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How long does it take to stop a dog’s barking habit?

The time it takes to curb a dog’s barking habit varies depending on factors such as the dog’s temperament, the consistency of training, and the underlying reasons for barking. With dedicated effort, significant improvements can often be seen within a few weeks.

Is it okay to use bark collars to stop my dog from barking?

Bark collars can be controversial and are not recommended because they don’t address the route of the problem. It can take care of the human problem (the noise), but it does not address the dog problem. These devices may cause distress or discomfort to the dog and can lead to unintended negative consequences. It’s best to use effective training techinques and behavior modification training approaches. 

What if my dog’s barking is due to anxiety or fear?

If your dog’s barking is linked to anxiety or fear, it’s essential to address these underlying issues with the help of a professional trainer or behaviorist. They can provide guidance on desensitization techniques and behavior modification strategies to help your dog feel more secure and confident. You can also check this article to learn more about it: Fearful Dogs “Fear and Trauma in Dogs: Causes, Signs, and Treatment”

Should I seek professional help to address my dog’s barking?

If you’re struggling to manage your dog’s barking despite your best efforts, seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist can be beneficial. They can assess the situation, provide personalized advice, and develop a tailored training plan to address your dog’s specific needs.

Can all dogs be trained to stop barking?

While most dogs can be trained to bark less in response to specific cues, the degree of success may vary depending on individual temperament and breed tendencies. However, with patience, consistency, and a goof behavior aproach, significant improvements can often be achieved in managing excessive barking. For more about breed specific questions check out this link: How Much Breed Affects Your Dog? What Do You Need To know?

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March 2024

Hush, Pup! Effective Techniques for Curbing Your Dog’s Excessive Barking

Hush, Pup! Effective Techniques for Curbing Your Dog’s Excessive Barking

Effective Techniques for Curbing Your Dog’s Excessive Barking

Dogs bark—it’s their way of communicating with us and the world around them. However, excessive barking can be a nuisance and may indicate underlying issues that need to be addressed. In this blog , we’ll explore the root causes, different types of barking and effective techniques for curbing your dog’s excessive barking to promote harmony and peace in your home.

Table of Content:

  • Introduction
  • Identifying the Root Cause of Excessive Barking
  • Different Types of Dog Barking
  • Identifying Each Type
  • Why Dogs Bark
  • Training Techniques for Excessive Dog Barking
  • Establishing a Consistent Routine
  • Seeking Professional Help
  • Conclusion

Identifying the Root Cause of Excessive Barking

Understanding why your dog barks excessively is the first step towards addressing the behavior. Several factors can contribute to this behavior, including environmental triggers, behavioral issues, and health concerns.

Environmental factors such as loud noises, unfamiliar surroundings, or the presence of strangers can stimulate a dog to bark excessively. Behavioral issues like separation anxiety, reactivity, or attention-seeking behavior can also lead to incessant barking. Additionally, health problems such as pain, discomfort, or cognitive decline may manifest through increased vocalization.

Different Types of Dog Barking

Territorial Barking

Territorial barking occurs when a dog perceives a threat to its territory. It’s a warning signal to intruders and serves as a means of establishing boundaries.

Alarm Barking

Alarm barking is triggered by perceived threats or unusual noises. Dogs engage in this type of barking to alert their owners or other members of the pack about potential dangers.

Attention-Seeking Barking

Attention-seeking barking is a behavior dogs use to gain their owner’s attention. Whether they’re seeking playtime, food, or affection, dogs may bark persistently until their needs are met.

Greeting Barking

Greeting barking is a friendly and welcoming form of communication. Dogs use this type of barking to express excitement and happiness when meeting people or other animals.

Frustration Barking

Frustration barking occurs when a dog is unable to access something it desires, such as food, toys, or companionship. It’s a form of protest against obstacles or restrictions.

Playful Barking

Playful barking is characterized by high-pitched and repetitive vocalizations. Dogs engage in this type of barking during playtime to communicate enjoyment and enthusiasm.

Separation Anxiety Barking

Separation anxiety barking is a distress response to being left alone. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety may bark excessively, exhibiting signs of stress and discomfort.

Compulsive Barking

Compulsive barking is a repetitive and involuntary behavior that serves no apparent purpose. It may be a symptom of underlying anxiety or compulsive disorders.

Social Barking

Social barking occurs during interactions between dogs. It serves as a form of socialization and can convey various emotions, including excitement, submission, or playfulness.

Fear Barking

Fear barking is triggered by perceived threats or intimidating stimuli. Dogs engage in this type of barking as a defensive mechanism to ward off potential dangers. For more on ferful dogs read this article: Fearful Dogs “Fear and Trauma in Dogs: Causes, Signs, and Treatment”

Pain Barking

Pain barking is a response to physical discomfort or injury. Dogs vocalize to communicate pain and seek assistance or relief from their owners.

Boredom Barking

Boredom barking is a result of understimulation or lack of mental and physical exercise. Dogs may bark out of boredom to alleviate monotony or seek attention.

Identifying Each Type

Recognizing the different types of barking requires careful observation of the dog’s behavior and context. Factors such as pitch, duration, frequency, and accompanying body language can provide clues to the underlying cause of barking.

Why Dogs Bark

Evolutionary Reasons

Barking is deeply rooted in canine evolution and serves various evolutionary purposes, including communication, warning, and social cohesion.

Environmental Triggers

External stimuli such as strangers, other animals, loud noises, or changes in the environment can trigger reactivity and barking behavior in dogs. For more on reactivity click here: What is Dog Reactivity? 6 Deadly Mistakes When Training Your Reactive Dog

Training Techniques for Excessive Dog Barking

Once you’ve identified the root cause of your dog’s excessive barking, you can implement various training techniques to modify their behavior in a gentle but effective manner.

Behavior Training .Understanding how to change a behavior is key. Behavior Training is based on your dog’s abilty to control their state of mind and your dog’s ability to control their emotional responses to environments or triggers. Dogs that have excess energy and no self regulation may bark excessively as a way to release their pent-up energy.

Desensitization involves gradually exposing your dog to the stimuli that trigger their barking in a controlled manner. This helps reduce their sensitivity over time, leading to decreased barking responses.

Redirection. Distraction methods such as providing interactive toys or engaging in physical activities can redirect your dog’s focus and energy away from barking towards more appropriate behaviors. This option is more of a short term solution, but can be very helpful while you’re working on Behavior Training and Desensitization

Establishing a Consistent Routine

Creating a structured routine for your dog can help reduce excessive barking by addressing their physical and mental needs.

Regular structured exercise is essential for maintaining your dog’s overall well-being and preventing boredom. Incorporate daily walks, playtime, and enrichment activities to keep them mentally sound and physically tired. Providing structure play and teaching self control exercises will keep your dog calm and content, reducing the likelihood of excessive barking. Take your puppy for exposure walks, play structured games where they slowly learn boundaries, and socialize them with well behaved older dogs that will teach them how to calm down.

Proper socialization from an early age exposes your dog to various stimuli, reducing their likelihood of reacting with fear or anxiety-induced barking in new situations.

Creating a calm and peaceful environment at home can also help minimize triggers for excessive barking. Provide a comfortable resting area, manage noise levels, and maintain a predictable daily schedule to promote relaxation.

Seeking Professional Help

If your dog’s excessive barking persists despite your efforts, seeking professional help may be necessary.

Consulting a veterinarian can rule out any underlying medical conditions contributing to the behavior and provide guidance on potential treatment options.

Hiring a dog trainer or behaviorist can offer personalized training plans and behavior modification techniques tailored to your dog’s specific needs. Professional intervention can help address complex issues and provide ongoing support for you and your furry companion. If you live in NYC or CT you can ask for our help here: Pawmos Dog Training.

Conclusion

Excessive barking can disrupt the peace and harmony of your household, but with patience, consistency, and the right techniques, it’s a behavior that can be managed effectively. By understanding the root cause of your dog’s barking and implementing the right training methods, you can help your dog become a quieter and happier member of the family.

FAQs

  • How long does it take to see results from training my dog to stop excessive barking? Results vary depending on the individual dog and the underlying causes of their barking. Consistency and patience are crucial, and you may start noticing improvements within a few days of consistent training.

  • Is it normal for dogs to bark occasionally, or should I aim for complete silence? Barking is a natural behavior for dogs, and occasional barking is normal. The goal is to reduce excessive or inappropriate barking that disrupts your daily life or indicates underlying issues.

  • Can bark collars help curb excessive barking? While bark collars may provide temporary relief, they do not address the underlying cause of the barking. It suppresses the behavior “solving” the human problem, but not the dog problem. It’s best to focus on addressing the root cause of the behavior.

  • Are there certain breeds more prone to excessive barking? Some breeds are more vocal than others, but excessive barking is not limited to specific breeds. Factors such as upbringing, socialization, and individual temperament play significant roles in a dog’s barking behavior.

  • Should I punish my dog for barking excessively? Punishment can be counterproductive and may exacerbate fear or anxiety-related barking. Instead, focus on behavior training where your dog learns to control their emotions without reacting to the triggers or environment.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March 2024

Dog Digging Solutions. How To Stop Your Dog From Digging

Dog Digging Solutions. How To Stop Your Dog From Digging

   How to Get Dogs to Stop Digging

Digging is a common behavior in dogs that can be both frustrating and destructive for dog parents. Whether it’s ruining your garden, creating holes in the yard, or causing other damage, addressing this behavior is essential for a harmonious relationship with your pup. In this blog, we’ll explore dog digging solutions to help you get your dog to stop digging.

Table of Content 

    • Introduction
    • Understanding the behavior of digging in dogs
    • Reasons why dogs dig
    • Instinctual behavior
    • Boredom or lack of mental stimulation
    • Seeking comfort or coolness
    • Negative consequences of digging
    • Destruction of property
    • Escaping or getting lost
    • Dog digging solutions
    • Provide sufficient physical and mental exercise
    • Designate a digging area
    • Use deterrents
    • Supervise and redirect
    • Seek professional help if neede
    • Conclusion

Understanding the Behavior of Digging in Dogs

Before diving into dog digging solutions, it’s important to understand why dogs dig in the first place. Digging is a natural behavior for dogs, inherited from their ancestral instincts. Wild dogs dig to create dens for shelter or to bury food for later consumption. While domesticated dogs may not have the same survival instincts, the behavior persists due to various reasons.

Reasons Why Dogs Dig

Instinctual Behavior

Many dogs dig instinctively, driven by their genetic predisposition. Breeds such as terriers, dachshunds, and huskies are more prone to digging due to their hunting or working backgrounds.

Boredom or Lack of Mental Stimulation

Dogs left alone for extended periods without adequate mental or physical structure activities may resort to digging as a way to alleviate boredom or release pent-up energy.

Obsessive Compulsive Behavior

Some dogs show obsessive behaviors through digging. Sometimes is the outcome of certain breeds and sometimes it could be the out come of anxiety and stress.  

Seeking Comfort or Coolness

In hot weather, dogs may dig to find cooler ground to lie on. Similarly, they may dig to create a comfortable resting spot or escape from extreme temperatures.

Negative Consequences of Digging

While dog digging may seem harmless at first, it can lead to several undesirable consequences for both you and your dog.

Destruction of Property

Digging can cause extensive damage to your yard, garden, or outdoor furniture, leading to costly repairs or replacements.

Escaping or Getting Lost

Holes dug under fences or gates can provide an escape route for dogs, putting them at risk of getting lost, injured, or involved in accidents.

Dog Digging Solutions

Fortunately, there are several effective ways you can implement to discourage digging behavior in your dog.

Provide Sufficient Physical and Mental Exercise

Ensuring your dog receives adequate exercise and mental structured activities can help reduce boredom and excess energy, decreasing the likelihood of digging. Regular walks, interactive play sessions, and training activities can keep your dog mentally and physically engaged.

Designate a Digging Area

Creating a designated digging area in your yard allows your dog to satisfy their natural urge to dig without causing damage elsewhere. Fill the area with loose soil or sand and encourage your dog to dig there by burying toys, treats or bones.

Use Deterrents

Applying deterrents to areas where your dog frequently digs can help discourage the behavior. Options include bitter-tasting sprays, their own poop ( I know kind of disgusting)

Supervise 

Supervising your dog while they’re outside is the most effective dog digging solution. Get their attention whenever they start to dig, calm them down and expose again. Train your dog to be calm in your backyard. This is most effective because you can break the habit and create a new pattern 

Seek Professional Help if Needed

If your dog’s digging behavior persists despite your efforts, consider seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can assess the underlying reasons for the behavior and provide tailored solutions to address it effectively.

I personally supervise all my dogs when they are in the backyard so I can block right away any behavior that I don’t want them to rehearse. Before I do any other activity in my backyard with my dogs, I teach them to relax and calm down by default. Then I initiate play, training sessions or I just let them do free range with supervision. 

While digging is a natural behavior for dogs, it can pose challenges for dog onwers if left unchecked. By understanding the reasons behind your dog’s digging and implementing appropriate strategies, you can effectively manage and reduce this behavior, leading to a happier and healthier relationship with your dog.

FAQs

  • Why does my dog only dig in certain areas of the yard?
    Dogs may prefer to dig in areas with soft soil, shade, or where they detect interesting scents. Identifying and addressing the factors that attract your dog to specific spots can help discourage digging in those areas.

  • Should Is punish my dog for digging?
    Punishment is not recommended as it can lead to fear, anxiety, or aggression in dogs. Instead, focus on behavior training and redirection to encourage desired behaviors.

  • Can digging be a sign of underlying health issues in dogs?
    In some cases, excessive digging may indicate underlying health issues such as allergies, parasites, or anxiety. Seek advice from your pet’s healthcare provider to eliminate any potential medical reasons behind your dog’s actions.

  • Is it possible to train an older dog to stop digging?
    Yes, it’s possible to modify a dog’s behavior at any age through consistent training and reinforcement. However, it may require more time and patience with older dogs compared to puppies.

  • Are there specific breeds more prone to digging?
    While all dogs are capable of digging, certain breeds with high prey drive or working instincts, such as terriers and hounds, are more predisposed to this behavior.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March 2024

What does a dog howling mean? Should I Be Worried About My Dog’s Howling?

What does a dog howling mean? Should I Be Worried About My Dog’s Howling?

Why Do Dogs Howl? Should I Be Concerned?

The mysterious and haunting sound of a dog howling has captivated humans for centuries. Many dog parents have found themselves wondering about this behavior and in some cases asking if they should be worried about their dog howling. This intriguing behavior always leads to questions like: Why do dogs howl? Should I be worried about my dog howling? Is your dog trying to tell you something through their howl? Are there different kinds of howling? What can I do if my dog is howling too much?

Let’s unpack all these question one by one by starting from the first origins. 

Why Do Wolves Howl?

To understand why dogs howl, we need to go back to their roots, tracing their ancestry to wolves. Wolves, the ancestors of domestic dogs, rely on howling as a form of communication. This instinctual way of vocal communication serves various purposes in the wild, including marking territory, recalling the pack, and signaling danger or the location of prey. Wolves howl to maintain social bonds within the pack and convey crucial information across long distances.

Why Do Dogs Howl?

Some domestic dogs, having evolved from wolves, have inherit this howling behavior with some modifications. While domestic family dogs don’t need or depend on howling as wolves do in the  wilderness, dogs can howl for various reasons. It’s a form of communication manifested in different ways that can send different messages depending on the context. We’ll talk later in this article how dogs use howling as a form of social interaction and what different types of howls might mean.

Reasons Dogs Howl

Before we drive into potential concerns and solutions related to dog howling, let’s talk about the various reasons why dogs howl. This will lay the groundwork for understanding their vocal behavior and provide insights into their communication methods.

-Dogs Howl to Get Attention

One common reason for a dog’s howling is a desire for attention. Whether they’re seeking interaction, playtime, or simply want to be acknowledged, howling is simply a way to get your valued attention. 

-Dogs Howl to Communicate with People or Other Dogs

Dogs are social animals, and howling is one way they communicate with both humans and fellow dogs. We’ll talk later in this article how dogs use howling as a form of social interaction and what different types of howls might mean.

-Dogs Howl to Let Others Know They’re There

In the wild, wolves use howling to establish their presence and maintain contact with other pack members. Human family dogs, may howl to tell their location or their presence to other dogs in your neighborhood. This is why sometimes this behavior can become a block doggy howling concert!

-Dogs Howl to Express Emotions

Sometime dogs howl to express their emotions. This could be joy, loneliness, anxiety – each emotion can have its unique nuanced sound. 

-Dogs Howl to Convey Pain or Discomfort

Howling can also express physical distress. I’ll explain later how to differentiate between attention-seeking howls and those that signal pain or discomfort.

-Dogs Howl to Respond to Triggering Noises

Certain sounds can trigger a dog’s howling instinct. Whether it’s a siren, musical instruments, or other dogs howling, sometimes its just a conditional response to external stimuli.

-Do Dogs Howl as signaling Death?

The notion that dogs howl as an omen of death has persisted for centuries. It’s hard to separate fact from fiction, but it would be interesting to explore the cultural and historical context of this belief. Let me know on the comments if you’d like to know more about that! 

Should I Be Worried About My Dog’s Howling?

While occasional howling is normal, persistent or sudden changes in behavior may be concerning. Excessive howling could 

indicate underlying issues, and understanding when to be worried is crucial for your dog’s well-being.

Excessive howling may be a sign of distress, boredom, loneliness, or even a medical problem. Dogs are highly expressive creatures, and changes in behavior are often their way of communicating that something is up.

If your dog has suddenly started howling more than usual, consider factors such as recent changes in their environment, routine, or any potential stressors. Environmental factors, like loud noises or the presence of unfamiliar people or animals, can trigger increased vocalization.

What’s the difference between attention-seeking howls and pain or discomfort howls?

Distinguishing between attention-seeking howls and those that indicate pain or discomfort in your dog requires careful observation and understanding of your dog’s behavior. Here are some tips to help you differentiate:

Context and Timing:

Pay attention to when the howling occurs. If your dog howls when you’re not giving attention or during specific situations, it may be attention-seeking. On the other hand, if it happens consistently during certain activities or when touched in a specific area, it could be a sign of pain.

Body Language:

Observe your dog’s overall body language. Signs of pain may include a tense body, hunched back, or avoidance of certain movements. Attention-seeking howls may be accompanied by playful behavior or a wagging tail. Don’t underestimate your intuition. Intuition tends to flow in when you are a good observer just by paying attention. 

Location of Howling:

Consider where your dog is howling. If it happens when you leave the room or when they want your attention, it’s likely attention-seeking. If the howling is associated with a specific area or while performing certain actions, it may indicate discomfort or pain.

Vocalization Nuances:

The tone and pitch of the howl can provide clues. Continuous and high-pitched howls may indicate distress or pain, while short, sporadic howls may be attention-seeking.

Physical Examination:

Gently examine your dog for any signs of injury or discomfort. Check for limping, swelling, or sensitivity in certain areas. If you suspect pain, consult with a veterinarian for a thorough examination.

Changes in Behavior:

Pay attention for any changes in your dog’s behavior. If you feel their not acting as themselves. If they suddenly become more aggressive, reluctant to engage in activities they usually enjoy, or  they seem less energetic it could be a sign of pain.

Consulting a Veterinarian:

If you’re uncertain about the cause of your dog’s howling, it’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian. They can perform a physical examination, conduct tests if necessary, and provide professional advice on your dog’s well-being.

What Do I Do If My Dog Is Howling Too Much?

As I already covered Identifying the root cause of your dog’s increased howling is the first step in addressing the issue. Here are some practical tips to help you manage and reduce excessive howling:

1. Environmental Calmness

Ensure your dog has a relaxed environment and that feels safe at your home. Providing a home where your dog is not stress can have a great impact on their demeanor and good mental heath.

2. Regular Structured Exercise

A tired dog is less likely to engage in excessive howling. Make sure your dog gets regular structured exercise through walks, playtime, behavior training and other physical activities that involves mental self control. 

3. Vet Check-Up

If your dog’s howling is sudden or seems unrelated to environmental factors, a visit to the veterinarian is essential. Physical discomfort, pain, or underlying health issues could be triggering the increased vocalization.

4. Calm Reinforcement

Use calm reinforcement techniques for quiet behavior. When your dog refrains from howling in situations where they usually would, praise with calmness or engage your dog in a structured game that involves mental control. Be very careful with treats or activities that can overstimulate your dog, since this can trigger excitement which will trigger howling. Sometimes less is more!! For more on that read this other blog: How to calm your dog down

5. Training and Desensitization

If your dog’s howling is triggered by specific noises, consider behavior training and desensitization techniques. Gradually expose them to the triggering sounds under threshold and at low intensity. Asking for professional help from an experienced behavior trainer like Pawmos Dog Training can help if you’re not sure how to do it yourself. You can also read this bog for more insight : How to deal with a traumatic experience: Lassie is terrified of stairs

6. Seek Professional Help

If the problem persists or if you’re unsure about the underlying cause, consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist like Pawmos Dog Training. They can assess your dog’s behavior, provide tailored advice, and assist in developing a behavior modification plan.

Remember, patience and consistency are key when addressing excessive howling. Each dog is unique, and finding the right approach may take time.

The Musicality of Dog’s Howls

Now that we’ve addressed concerns related to excessive howling, let’s explore the musicality of doggy howls. As a former professional musician, as an artist and as behaviorist I just need to dive into this!! 

Each dog has a unique voice, and their howls can vary in pitch, tone, and duration. Now we are going to get into the different musical qualities of dog’s howls and what they might reveal about your dog’s personality.

The Art of Interpretation: Decoding Your Dog’s Howls

Have you ever wondered what your dog is trying to say through their howls? This is my favorite part! You’d be amazed of how much you can bond with your dog if you just listen. Because bonding is not just about doing things all the time, it’s also about being present and learning about your dog in silence. By listening with curiosity you can feed your own understanding and intuition directly from your dog. 

 I can’t wait to get into this. Ok, so whether it’s a mournful howl, an excited yodel, or a series of short barks, let’s decode the furry secrets within their melodic performances!

Dogs’ howls can vary in musical qualities, and while it’s not a precise science, that’s why I call it the Art of Dog Training, certain characteristics may provide insights into your dog’s personality. Keep in mind that like any art form, individual differences and contexts play a significant role, and these interpretations are simply guidelines:

Pitch:

  • High-Pitched: Excitement, playfulness, or seeking attention.
  • Low-Pitched: Confidence, assertiveness, or a response to a perceived threa

Duration:

  • Short and Sporadic: Attention-seeking, wanting to play, or expressing happiness.
  • Long and Continuous: Could indicate loneliness, anxiety, or a response to a perceived danger.

Volume:

  • Loud: Confidence, excitement, or an attempt to communicate over a distance.
  • Soft: Submission, fear, or a less urgent form of communication.

Consistency:

  • Consistent Howling: May indicate a more stable and content personality.
  • Inconsistent or Sudden Changes: Could suggest stress, discomfort, or a reaction to a change in environment.

Harmonics:

  • ls with Vibrato or Changes in Pitch: Could indicate a more expressive and emotionally responsive personality.

Rhythm:

  • Regular Rhythm: Potential confidence and comfort.
  • Irregular Rhythm: Nervousness, fear, or uncertainty.

Context:

  • Howling in Response to Certain Sounds: May suggest alertness or a more sensitive nature.
  • Howling during Play: Playful and social personality.
  • Howling at Strangers: Protective or territorial nature.

Solo or Group Howling:

  • Solo Howling: Independence or a desire for attention.
  • Group Howling: Social and pack-oriented nature.

Frequency:

  • Frequent Howling: Could indicate a more vocal and expressive personality.
  • Rare Howling: Reserved or less vocal personality.

Reactivity:

  • Quick Response to Environmental Stimuli: Alertness and awareness.
  • Delayed or Lack of Response: Could suggest a more laid-back or indifferent personality.

 

To sum up the howl remains one of the most enigmatic aspects of dog’s behavior. Rooted in their ancestral ties to wolves, dogs’ howling serves various functions in their communication repertoire. Understanding the reasons behind your dog’s howling can deepen the bond between you and your furry friend. So, the next time you hear that haunting melody, remember – it’s your dog’s unique way of expressing themselves in the language of howls.

         © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved Jan 2024

Why Do Dogs Bury Bones? You’d Be Surprised

Why Do Dogs Bury Bones? You’d Be Surprised

Dogs never cease to amaze us with their fascinating behaviors. Among these actions, the act of burying bones has captivated dog parents for generations. Have you ever found yourself wondering why your pup diligently digs a hole in the backyard or carefully stashes their prized possessions in the garden? Let’s go over the secrets behind this instinctive dog behavior, tracing its roots back to the wild ancestors of our beloved pups.

1. Why They Do It: Instincts from the Wild

Understanding this behavior takes us into little evolutionary journey. Domestic dogs share a common ancestry with wolves, and the practice of burying bones can be traced back to their wild instincts. In the wild, wolves buried surplus food to shield it from scavengers and create reserves for leaner times. This survival instinct has been passed down through generations, with specific breeds, such as Basset Hounds, Dachshunds, and Terriers, displaying a heightened inclination to bury toys and food due to their historical roles in digging for underground prey.

Moreover, dogs exhibit a hoarding mentality, a reflection of their pack instincts. Burying bones becomes a way for them to secure resources within their family “pack,” even if that pack comprises their human companions. Scent marking, another layer of this behavior, allows dogs to leave their mark on buried treasures, creating a connection through their acute sense of smell. In essence, your dog may be engaging in a complex dance of survival instincts and pack behavior when burying bones.

Additionally, dogs might resort to burying bones as a stress-relief mechanism during times of change, excitement, or anxiety. Just as humans save leftovers for later, dogs may bury bones for a future, more suitable time to enjoy their tasty treats.

2. When You Should Be Concerned

Now that we’ve uncover the mystery behind why dogs bury bones, let’s get into effective strategies to manage this behavior, especially when it seems like your garden is transforming into a doggy excavation site. The concept of resource abundance plays a crucial role here. Mimicking the natural ebb and flow of resources in the wild can help curb excessive burying tendencies.

Instead of giving more toys to keep them busy, limit the number of toys or bones available to your dog at any given time, providing just one or two and rotating them weekly. This not only prevents an overflow of resources but also stimulates your dog’s curiosity, preventing boredom. Timing is also crucial; avoid giving your dog a bone immediately after a meal when their stomach is full, as they are more likely to bury bones when resources are in surplus. Engaging in interactive play fosters a stronger bond and reinforces the idea that resources are shared, discouraging hoarding behavior.

Consider the breed-specific tendencies related to digging. Breeds originally bred for digging may display more confidence in burying behavior. Understanding these breed nuances can further aid in managing your dog’s natural instincts.

3. What to Do About It: Should You Worry?

While burying things is a natural and instinctive behavior, considering potential concerns and taking proactive measures is essential for a harmonious household.

Potential Concerns:

a. Paw and Nail Injuries: Digging in areas with a rigid substrate can lead to abrasions and discomfort for your furry friend.

b. Indoor Damages: Burying behavior may extend indoors, resulting in damage to items like pet beds and couch cushions.

c. Stress for Both: Constant worry about belongings and disapproval can create stress for both pet parents and their dogs.

What to Do:

a. Do NOT Create a Designated Digging Area: Do NOT redirect your dog’s instincts by providing a designated digging spot in your backyard filled with loose soil or sand if you don’t want to encourage that behavior or if your dog starts obsessing about it. 

b. Understanding Breed-Specific Behavior: Recognize that certain breeds are more inclined to bury items and tailor your approach accordingly. 

c. Work the breed out: If your dog’s breed encourages this behavior and you have a family dog, work on behavior training to start working the obsessive side of the breed out of your dog.. Certain breeds are prone to obsessions. Have in mind that breed was created by humans not by nature

d. Implement Behavior Training: Help your dog regulate compulsive behaviors by teaching self control and self management.

e. Supervision and Management: Keep an eye on your dog, intervening when needed and reinforcing boundaries. 

In conclusion the mystery behind why dogs bury bones lies in their deep-rooted instincts inherited from their wild ancestors.

While this behavior is natural and instinctive, it’s crucial for pet parents to be aware of potential concerns and take proactive measures for a harmonious household. Paw and nail injuries, indoor damages, and stress for both the pet and owner are important factors to take into considerations. Managing this behavior involves a thoughtful approach, considering breed-specific tendencies, resource abundance, interactive play and behavior training if needed.

Effective strategies, such as limiting the number of toys, understanding breed nuances, and engaging in behavior training, can help strike a good balance.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved Dec 2023