How Can I Discourage and Stop My Puppy From Barking Excessively 

How Can I Discourage and Stop My Puppy From Barking Excessively 

Puppies are a lot of fun, but when fun turns into too much stimulation, they can also be quite vocal. Barking is a natural behavior for dogs, but excessive barking when it gets out of control is not. It can also become a nuisance and cause disturbance to both you and your neighbors. Fortunately, there are ways to discourage your puppy from barking excessively. 

The first step to addressing excessive barking is to understand why your puppy is barking in the first place. There are different reasons why your puppy might be barking excessively. Here’s a list of the most common ones: 

1. Overexcitement and/or overstimulation. This could be triggered by you coming home, you getting their leash, playing with too much excitement or too much stimuli overload in the environment. This is usually caused by the lack of self control. This barking will often be with a wagging tail, happy mood, spin in circles, some nipping and running to play chase, ears perked and head held higher. 

2, Attention barking (usually reinforced unconsciously by humans). This barking is usually high pitch, annoying and relentless. Their tails may be straight or wagging, with their ears down/natural or at attention. Be careful with this behavior. If your dog is  barking to get your attention or treats and they get what they want when they bark, you’ll be reinforcing and encouraging the excessive barking. Be aware that negative attention it’s still attention and will reinforce the barking. 

3. Triggered by a noise or sight (ex: a dog passing by your house or the mail man coming in). This type of barking usually triggers an automatic emotional response in your dog that spirals up into an uncontrolled barking. 

4. Territorial barking (guarding or protecting). Your dog feels the need to protect your house. These barks will usually be deeper and may have a growl associated with them. They will also be fairly continuous and incessant. With territorial barking the body posture is usually leaning forward, tail is up and wagging, ears and and eyes are up and alert. It could be followed by a bite. This may happen at a later puppy stage 4 months and older. 

5. Fear barking. Insecure/fearful dogs will show body language leaning backwards and backing up while their barking. Tail might be between the legs and tense, hackles raised, and low head posture. Some insecure/fearful dogs might bite and lunge when you turn your back on them and move away. 

Once you have identified the underlying cause of your puppy’s barking, you can start working on a solution to address the behavior:

  1. Socialize your puppy

Puppies that are not properly socialized may become anxious or fearful in new situations, leading to excessive barking. Socializing your puppy from an early age can help him become more comfortable in different environments and around new people and animals. Take your puppy for walks in different places, introduce him slowly to new people and dogs, and expose him gradually to various sights and sounds.

2. Provide structured play and start teaching your puppy self control.

Puppies that have excess energy and no self regulation may bark excessively as a way to release their pent-up energy. Providing structure play and teaching self control exercises will keep your puppy 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.

3. Teach your puppy the “quiet” command

Teaching your puppy a “quiet” command will teach him to understand when it’s time to stop barking. Start by saying “quiet” or “enough” in a firm but calm voice when your puppy barks excessively.

4. Learn Behavior Training 

Behavior Training is a powerful tool for training puppies. Rather than punishing your puppy for excessive barking, focus on self control exercises and activities.  Behavior Training is NOT about letting your dog misbehave and then correct, punish or redirect that behavior with treats. It’s about not letting the behavior to happen in first place when possible. The way to do it is to keep your dog in a sound state of mind or  “green zone”. Or bringing him/her back to “green zone” if he/she is already out of control. This will allow your dog to get better at social skills and coping skills in different environments

Excessive barking can be a frustrating behavior to deal with, but with knowledge and consistency, you can help your puppy learn to bark less or stop barking . Understanding the underlying reason for your puppy’s barking, providing structured exercise, teaching the “quiet” command, and using Behavior Training will effective discourage and stop excessive barking.

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

     

     

    What Should I Do If My Puppy Exhibits Aggressive Behaviors?

    What Should I Do If My Puppy Exhibits Aggressive Behaviors?

    Getting a new puppy is an exciting and fun experience, but it can also come with its own set of challenges. One of the most common issues new puppy owners face is behavior problems, such as aggression. Aggression can be a serious problem if not addressed properly, as it can lead to injury to both humans and other animals. In this blog, I will discuss what you should do if your puppy exhibits behavior problems, specifically aggression:

    – 1. Identify the type of aggression. Aggression is a very general term. Here are some different types of aggression: Aggression because of lack of Social skills, Leash aggression, dog to dog aggression, human aggression, Stranger aggression, Fear aggression, Resource guarding (food, toys or humans), Territorial aggression, Trigger aggression (hats, uniforms, gender etc), Conditioned aggression (water sprays bottles, canes, brooms, sticks etc), Dominance aggression, Redirection aggression, Pure aggression (killer instinct)  and probably other types that I haven’t mentioned. As you can see there is a wide range of different types of aggression that are treated very differently.

    – 2. Identify the cause of the aggression The next step in addressing your puppy’s aggression is to identify the cause. When does the aggression start and why? Is your puppy under stress? Is it fear based? Is your puppy being dominant? Is your puppy in pain? Is your puppy overstimulated or frustrated? Is your puppy getting enough sleep or down time? Understanding the root cause of the aggression will help you develop a plan to solve the issue.

    – 3. Knowing the difference between Behavior Training and Obedience Training will save you a lot of time, money and energy. Going to a basic obedience group class will not make much of a difference. Once you have identified the cause of your puppy’s aggression and consulted with a professional, it’s time to implement training and behavior modification techniques. These can include Behavioral Training, coping skills, desensitization, counter-conditioning and management strategies.

    – 4. Consult with a professional If your puppy’s aggression is severe or you are unsure of how to address it, it’s important to consult with a professional. A dog behaviorist, dog trainer with aggression experience or a vet behaviorist can assess your puppy’s behavior and provide guidance on how to address and solve the issue.

    – 5. Be consistent and patient Addressing your puppy’s aggression will take time and patience. It’s important to be consistent with training and behavior modification techniques and to give your puppy time to learn new behaviors. Consistency is key in ensuring your puppy understands what is expected of them.

    – 6. Stay calm and present. It’s important to stay calm and present when addressing your puppy’s aggression. Getting frustrated or angry will only make the situation worse. Instead, stay patient and positive. 

    Addressing your puppy’s aggression requires knowledge, patience, consistency, and most likely the guidance of a professional. By identifying the cause of the aggression, consulting with a professional and implementing a behavior modification plan, you will be able to overcome your puppy’s aggression issues and become a well-behaved and happy member of your family.

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

       

       How Do I Teach My Puppy Not To Bite My Hands?

       How Do I Teach My Puppy Not To Bite My Hands?

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      Getting a new puppy can be an exciting and fun time, but it also requires a lot of work and patience. One of the most important things you’ll need to teach your puppy is how to not bite your hands or your clothes. Here are some tips to help you train your new furry friend:

      – 1. Set Boundaries

      The first thing you’ll need to do is to learn how to set boundaries for your puppy in a calm and effective way. Teach them that biting is not acceptable. If your puppy bites your hands, you can stop the play or use the underhand technique to calm them down.

      – 2. Do NOT yell or say NO

      Using a high-pitched yelp to mimic the sound of a littermate being hurt to help discourage biting is NOT a good idea. This usually riles them up and makes them bite harder. Saying NO in harsh voice will either scare your puppy or make him/her more feisty.

      – 3. Provide Chew Toys With Movement

      Puppies like to chase things. Instead of just throwing toys to the floor and hope for the best, move the toys around with your hands. Make them chase the toys so they become interested in them. Offer your puppy a variety of textures and shapes to see what they prefer. This will help redirect their biting behavior to an appropriate outlet.

      – 4. Encourage Positive Reinforcement

      Positive reinforcement is a very effective training method for puppies. When your puppy exhibits good behavior, reward them with a treat or verbal praise. This will help your puppy learn what is expected of them and will encourage them to continue appropriate behavior.

      – 4 Be Consistent

      Don’t let your puppy rehearse biting your hands. Consistency is key when it comes to training your puppy. Make sure everyone in your household is on the same page and using the same training techniques. If you’re inconsistent with your training, it will confuse your puppy and make it harder for them to learn.

      – 5. Control Excitement 

      Excitement can encourage biting behavior, so it’s important to be aware of it. If you riled your puppy up with excitement and move your hands fast your puppy is more likely to get bitey and target your hands.

      – 6. Seek Professional Help

      If your puppy’s biting behavior becomes aggressive or doesn’t improve with training, it may be time to seek professional help. A professional dog trainer or behaviorist can help assess your puppy’s behavior and provide more targeted training techniques.

      Training your puppy not to bite your hands or your clothes takes patience and consistency. By setting boundaries, providing chew toys, encouraging positive reinforcement, not letting the practice it and seeking professional help if necessary, you can help your puppy learn appropriate behavior and develop into a well-behaved adult dog.

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

       

       What’s Differential Reinforcement In Dog Training? 

       What’s Differential Reinforcement In Dog Training? 

      Differential reinforcement is a technique used in dog training that involves rewarding a desired behavior while ignoring or redirecting an undesirable behavior. This approach is based on the principles of operant conditioning, which suggests that behavior is shaped by its consequences.

      In differential reinforcement, the trainer provides positive reinforcement for the behaviors they want to encourage, while withholding reinforcement or redirecting the dog’s attention away from behaviors they want to discourage. This can be a powerful training technique, as it can help to establish good habits and prevent bad ones from taking hold.

      Types of Differential Reinforcement:

      There are several types of differential reinforcement that can be used in dog training, depending on the specific goals of the training program. These include:

          1.  Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA): In DRA, the trainer reinforces a behavior that is an acceptable alternative to the unwanted behavior. For example, if a dog is jumping up on people, the trainer may reinforce the dog for sitting politely instead.

          2. Differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior (DRI): In DRI, the trainer reinforces a behavior that is physically incompatible with the unwanted behavior. For example, if a dog is chewing on furniture, the trainer may reinforce the dog for playing with a chew toy instead.

         3. Differential reinforcement of lower rates of behavior (DRL): In DRL, the trainer reinforces the dog for performing the unwanted behavior at a lower frequency. For example, if a dog is barking excessively, the trainer may reinforce the dog for barking less often.

         4. Differential reinforcement of zero rates of behavior (DRO): In DRO, the trainer reinforces the dog for not performing the unwanted behavior at all. For example, if a dog is jumping up on people, the trainer may reinforce the dog for keeping all four paws on the ground.

      Note that differential reinforcement is used in conjunction with other positive reinforcement techniques, such as praise, treats, and play. The goal of differential reinforcement is to shape the dog’s behavior in a positive way, not to punish or intimidate them.

      Does it always work?

      Differential reinforcement in intense cases might not work well if you don’t take care of certain details. To effectively use differential reinforcement in dog behavior training, it’s important to identify the state of mind of your dog and the level of arousal. Redirecting and luring away your dog with a treat or “play toy”  is not an effective way of shaping any behavior. 

      Your dog should be presented to the situation where the unwanted behavior is likely to happen, but always below threshold. Any type of differential reinforcement technique should be performed while your dog is not on a very high arousal or over threshold. For example if your dog is reactive to other dogs, you want to keep your dog calm while reinforcing an acceptable alternate behavior. If you wait until your dog reacts and gets over threshold (red zone) differential reinforcement will not work and will likely make it worse. 

      Mistakes to avoid

      A common mistake when modifying a behavior with differential reinforcement is to praise or reward with a lot of excitement by default. Excitement in most situations is going to send your dog back over threshold or “red zone” if you are not careful. People tend to confuse excitement with good. Excitement is not good or bad. Excitement is in your favor or against you depending on what you are trying to achieve. For example: if your dog is barking excessively or jumping on guests, excitement is against you. In these examples you want your dog to calm down. It’s imperative that you learn how to praise and reward with calmness. 

      Trainers should also be consistent in their use of reinforcement and provide clear feedback to the dog when they exhibit the desired behavior as well as keeping the dog under threshold or bringing them back under threshold if they start getting out of control. 

      Differential reinforcement is a powerful technique for shaping a dog’s behavior in a kind way. By rewarding the desired behavior and not letting the unwanted behavior happen, trainers can establish good habits and prevent bad ones from taking hold. This technique can have certain nuances where professional help might be needed. With consistent training dogs can learn to behave in a way that is both desirable and rewarding for everyone involved.

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

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       Why Dogs Eat Poop? Here’s How To Stop It

       Why Dogs Eat Poop? Here’s How To Stop It

      Dogs eating poop, also known as coprophagia, is a common but unpleasant behavior that many pet owners struggle with. While it may seem disgusting to us, it is a normal behavior for dogs and can stem from a variety of reasons. In this blog, we will discuss why dogs eat poop and what can be done to stop it.

      Why do dogs eat poop?

      • Nutritional deficiencies: A lack of certain nutrients in a dog’s diet can lead to coprophagia. Dogs may eat feces to supplement their diet and get the nutrients they are missing. If you suspect your dog is eating poop due to a nutritional deficiency, consult with your veterinarian to determine if a change in diet is necessary.

      • Instinct: Eating feces is a natural behavior for dogs. In the wild, dogs would eat the feces of their pack to keep their den clean and eliminate any parasites or diseases. Some rescue dogs from puppy mills learnt this behavior because they lived in a kennel 24/7. 

      • Boredom or anxiety: Dogs that are bored or anxious may turn to eating feces as a form of entertainment or comfort. Providing your dog with mental self control and structured exercise can help prevent boredom and anxiety-related coprophagia.

      • Attention-seeking behavior: In some cases dogs may eat poop to get their owner’s attention. This can be a learned behavior, and it may be more likely to occur in dogs that figure out ways to get attention from their owners through doing unwanted behaviors. 

      • Medical conditions: In some cases, coprophagia may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as an intestinal parasite or a gastrointestinal disorder. If your dog has been eating feces and shows other signs of illness, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for a thorough examination.

      How to stop dogs from eating poop

      • Management and scheduling: Teach your dog to do poop on leash at certain time windows. As soon as he/she is done say ‘let’s go’ walk away and reward. If you keep it up long in enough (sometimes a year) it tends to disappear. Dogs do what they practice and they stop doing what they don’t practice. Create a new habit right after poop time and imprint that new behavior in your dog.

      • Proper hygiene: Keeping your yard and home clean and free of feces will reduce your dog’s exposure to it and decrease the likelihood of them eating it.

      • Enhance their diet: Adding digestive enzymes or probiotics to your dog’s diet can help improve their digestion and reduce their interest in eating feces. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best options for your dog.

      • Provide plenty of structured activities and exercise: Make sure that your dog is getting enough structured activities, walks and exercise to keep them happy and in a sound state of mind.   

      In conclusion, coprophagia is a common behavior in dogs that can stem from a variety of reasons. With proper training, management, and attention, it is possible to discourage your dog from eating feces and prevent this unpleasant behavior from happening in the future. If you are concerned about your dog’s behavior, it is always best to consult with a trainer/behaviorist to implement a sound strategy and with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions. 

      © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved December 2022