Okay – that was annoying. A lot of barking really can be.
I learned early about reinforcement and its power. I remember during puppy class – having one of those “Aha” moments. “Give the puppy what she wants for doing what you want.” For me – this is the secret of dog training. It helped guide Piper and I through her puppyhood and continues to guide us today.
Piper loves to bark. That’s probably one of her favorite things. Just like us – I mean isn’t it nice to catch up with your best friend on the phone or over coffee? But one day when she was a puppy, I was fixing her dinner, and she started barking at me like – hurry up!
Well, instantly I poured her food back in the bag and started to walk away. The look on her face was priceless. When she was quiet I began putting her food back in her bowl. So it was clear that her being quiet – not barking – caused her dinner to appear. And she never barked for her dinner again. I also turned her barking into a trick. We put it on cue – both verbal and hand signal. And that helps put “quiet” on cue as well.
But I also let her talk sometimes. Because I think that’s important. Just like me – she has things to say too.