Barking up the wrong tree!

By June 27, 2019 Uncategorized


Barking comes in many forms. It’s a language we have to learn from our dogs. Are they fearful, warning, happy, playful or wanting attention? It is up to us to decipher, with the rest of their body language and what is going on in the environment at the time.

When we ask our dogs to be quiet when they do warn us of a potential danger coming to our home, for example the postal worker, do we let them bark until the person has gone? Allowing the dogs to gets aroused into a state of frenzy, only heightens their response to the next person or potential danger coming onto the property.


Let the dog know they are doing a great job. After all, I like my dogs to let me know if something is bothering them outside, especially at night.
How we acknowledge this, is important. A calm, reassuring voice of “Thank you, I’ve got this” when they are barking like crazy, will be heard, I reassure you. Whatever body language they portray, whether hackles up along the back, rigid posture, tail upright, alert ears or the fearful posture of ears back, tail low, head low or running to hide, acknowledge them. What is your body language saying? Are you calm? Go to where they are barking. They do not need to be touched, use your voice, body language and calming presence for reassurance.


Does your dog know what quiet means?
Implementing a simple technique and being consistent, will go towards your dog understanding what “Quiet” means and is more than likely to do it when asked.
Here’s what I mean.
Your dog is barking.
Wait for a gap in the barking(yes, there will be one, you initially have to wait for it!)
“Quiet”(Said with calmness and assertiveness)
Bark, bark, bark…
Bark, bark, bark, bark, grumble…
Grumble, bark, grumble…
“Quiet, good for quiet”
“Quiet, good for quiet”
“Quiet, everything is fine, great job, thank you for letting me know”
Peace descends on the household!

You can use the “Quiet” before the barking starts too. If your dog starts to give attention to anything and you think they may start to bark, use “Quiet” then and let them know all is good.
Praise them calmly for being quiet. You are rewarding the behaviour at the time. They are listening to you. They are learning to self settle and become calmer themselves. And all of this without the use of treats!


Consistency plays an important part here. The behaviour you want more of will start to happen more because of your response and acknowledgement at the time.

As with any place worth going, this will take time to become easy for you and your dog. However the good news is that by being there for your dog and looking after them, this is going towards some basic needs of safety, trust and group dynamics. And have fun with it….your timing and observation will improve and you’ll really get to know your dog and what they are thinking and saying!!