The Bark Stops Here

Here's where I'll post odds and ends of interest: Upcoming local events, health bulletins and announcements. Periodically, I will post an original article addressing dog training and behavior. In addition, please visit the Southport Veterinary Center Blog page by clicking here, where I am a guest author. So check back often to see "The Inside Poop".

News

Book Review/Mention

Please visit the link below to read about Imp, The Imperfect Pup on Goodreads for the month of November by clicking here.

townvibe

Please visit the link below to read the article "No Bad Dogs" in the November-December 2012 issue of townvibe.

townvibe

"No Bad Dogs - Jody Rosengarten teaches fairfielders how to be better dog owners" by Robin H. Phillips

The Daily Westport

I will be writing a recurring column for The Daily Westport addressing various dog behavior problems as well as answering questions from pet owners. Please visit my column at The Daily Westport by clicking here.

Radio Show

I am a sit regular guest on the phone-in radio show, David Smith's Exchange, WICC 600AM. I will be live usually the first Monday of every month from 3:00pm to 4:00pm. You are welcome to call with questions at (203) 333-WICC (333-9422) or toll free at (800) 922-6060 or via the internet at www.WICC600.com. If you would like any additional information please email me by clicking here, and please be sure to include your contact information and email address.

Articles

New Articles

Understanding Your Dogís Many Bark

(Posted February 1, 2018)

Barking is how Imp expresses himself and his doing so could save your life. As only persistent Barking is a problem, our goal is to limit not eliminate Barking. With all Imp has to say, letís first look at different Barks.

The Play Bark exists between dogs with one asking, "So you wanna chase me or what?" Imp may also try to engage a cat, vacuum or basketball in this manner.

The Predatory Bark is high-pitched and squealy, and accompanies a rapidly wagging tail.

The Bored Bark drones on and on and on and onÖ The Territorial Bark says, "Back off, Jack!" Impís ears are erect, hackles raised and tail held high, making an overall large and in-your-face impression.

The Fear Bark accompanies a retreating or tucked tail. Impís ears are usually slicked back.

The Bossy Bark is when Imp looks you squarely in the eyes to demand that you feed or walk or cuddle or lift or toss a ball NOW! And some dogs are multilingual.

Nuisance Barking Interventions

Play, Predatory and Bored Barking needs to be managed or tolerated. Play Barking is a byproduct of having multiple critters. With Predation running deep, other than preventing access to prey, I have nothing to suggest. It’s time to enrich the Bored Barker’s lot.

Territoriality is Barking’s double-edged sword. Most dogs display some degree of Territoriality with many selectively bred to protect. Territorial Barking is often a prelude to biting and requires conscientious management and training.

First, tighten up Territorial Impís Basic Training, emphasizing Come and Stay, to ensure his responsiveness to voice commands. Next, to thwart Territorial Barking excesses, manage the environment and Impís access to it. Here, it helps to understand The Mailman Syndrome.

The Mailman trespasses on your property six days a week, Imp Barks and the Mailman leaves. Throw in the paperboy, Mr. UPS, joggers, bicyclists, dog walkersÖ and the repelling potency of Impís Bark is reinforced and emboldened throughout the day even when youíre away. Then, if an audacious interloper advances despite his best Barking, Impís got no choice but to bite Aunt Shirley for disobeying the house rules.

I was hired after two Wire-haired Terriers popped out the window screen and killed a neighborís Chihuahua. For years, both Terriers wiled their days away perched on the back of a couch by the front window Barking passersby past. When the Chihuahua lingered on their law lawn too long, the twosome lunged on the screen as before, but that time it gave way.

This brand of Territoriality, with its attendant Barking, can easily be managed by banning visual access to the stimulus. I suggested the terriersí person simply move the sofaóeasy peasy.

Bossy Barking is aimed at you and is a symptom of a relationship out of balance. Just as the bully needs someone who is bullyable, Bossy dogs need a patsy.

First, assert yourself by placing your Bossy Barker on a strict No Free Lunch diet so he pays his way throughout the day with Basic Training. Sit reminds Imp youíre in control, with Lie Down being even more controlling, so request both often, prolonging each with Stay. Compliance is non-negotiable.

While overhauling your relationship with Imp, ignore all Bossy Barking. The opposite of positive reinforcement is not negative reinforcement; itís indifference. To jump out of bed or end a phone call or race outside to silence the Bossy Barker benefits him because you were what he wanted.

I know, I know, youíre thinking, But I canít let Imp Bark through a business phone call or bother the neighbors or wake the babyÖ This is why you need to role-play indifference when the stakes are low. Let Imp Bark himself silly while you make a fake phone call or when the neighbors are at work and the Babyís wide-awake. If the Barking is more than you can bear, use earplugs to stay the course. (I do this when my opinionated parrot, Bugsy Seagull, is on a rant.) To cave-in raises the Barking bar by teaching Imp to be utterly obnoxious to get a rise out of you. Bossy Barker is a gateway behavior that, unchecked, can easily evolve into Bossy Biting.

With all Nuisance Barkers, teach Quiet (enough, shut up, silencioÖ) by waiting for Imp to stop Barking on his own and say, "Quiet" after the last Bark. Here, weíre labeling the absence of a behavior, which will only make sense after many repetitions. Once Imp connects hearing Quiet with the end of Barking, say Quiet to end his Barking. Now ask Imp to Sit, lavish praise and offer a treat or toss a toy to change the subject.

For the veteran Barker, waiting him out might be too unbearable. Here, an aversive is needed. With all interventions, interrupt the Barking in the gentlest means possible, then immediately re-direct Imp to be Quiet and change the subject.

A Plant Mister: Fill a plant mister with cold water and after Impís informed you that yet another leaf fell, say, "Good boy, quiet." Impís cocking his head as if to ask, "You talkiní to me?" means heís trying to figure it out. This is a good sign. Hopefully, heíll stop Barking on his own. Otherwise, spritz Imp in the face after his last Bark say, "Good boy, quiet." And in case youíre wondering about the "Good boy," itís to keep Imp on retainer for wayward solicitors.

It helps to know your audience here. A Portuguese Water Dog may respond to the refreshing spray with a "Thank you very much." But even Hodge Podge, who enjoys swimming and is undeterred by pelting rain, was so startled by the spray that, five-years post-spritz I simply need to show him an empty mister and say, "Quiet" for him to shut up.

Heads up: Donít thrust the spray bottle in Impís face. This may be unduly frightening, creating a new problem.

Youíve probably heard about No Bark collars and electronic devises. Some emit an (ostensibly) offensive noise, others spritz citronella oil on Impís chin and the third shocks him.

While the noisemakers sound great, and theyíre not terribly expensive, Iíve never heard of them actually working.

There are two types Citronella collars. One has a microphone and is activated by Impís Barking. The other has a remote control so you determine when to spray. The advantage of the Bark-activated collar is that you need not be present for it to work, while the remote-controlled collar enables you to be more selective and can be used to correct behaviors other than excessive Barking. Both are ethically and environmentally sound and, with most Barkers, theyíre highly effective.

Electric shock collars pain me to ponder.

The use of material aversives is meant to short-lived. By pairing their usage with words, the goal is to phase out the plant mister or Spray Collar by simply saying, Quiet.

Good luck!

Jody Rosengarten
The Bark Stops Here
(203) 372-BARK

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