Does your dog go from 0 to 100 in terms of barking at the slightest noise outside or when the doorbell rings? On one hand, you can rest assured that no one will ever break into your house without a ruckus. But after you reassure your pooch that nothing is amiss and the racket continues, it becomes annoying and stressful for all within earshot, including your neighbors!

January is National Train Your Dog Month, so it’s a good time to understand the reasoning behind your dog’s barking and how to curb their behavior when it goes overboard. Much of the outcome relies on how you handle the situation. Woof!

Starved for Attention

When your dog looks right at your face and barks while stamping his feet, he’s probably not telling you that there is someone outside or that he has to go potty. Instead, it probably means that he wants your attention with some good quality one-on-one interaction. Tossing a ball and walking away isn’t what he’s after. The barking may stop for a few seconds, but it will probably start up again.

Instead, interrupt the barking early by grabbing one of the toys that only come out when you play with him. Make him earn the prize by following a few simple commands like Sit, Down, Stay or Roll Over. Use the toy as part of your hand gestures while giving the command. Connect with your dog for a good 10-15 minutes – a good break for both of you. If your dog tends to show this needy barking at a certain time of the day, engage in this playtime proactively, on a regular basis, to break the cycle.

Short Dog Complex

Does your height-challenged dog tend to go all out with excessive barking and aggressive body language when a larger dog approaches? She probably figures she needs to show her stuff to the big, bad dog. A fair warning, even though the larger dog has a friendly wagging demeanor. Take a look at her body movements. Is she retreating while barking, or turning sideways and looking over her shoulder, or hiding behind your legs? Underneath that tough exterior, she’s probably scared.

Work on getting your dog to associate being around casually friendly dogs as a good thing. Bring treats along on your walk or to the dog park. The next time the barking starts, take two treats out and get between the dogs. Give a Sit command, and give them the treats simultaneously once they both comply. Partner up with a friend who has a tolerant dog. Your dog will quickly see the benefits of exhibiting more welcoming social behaviors.

Demanding Diva

Do you have a tiny pooch that goes ballistic with new visitors until she is picked up? Try turning a knock on the door into a signal that it is something good. About twenty minutes before your guest is to arrive, put her leash on and grab a few favorite treats. Go near the front door and give a Come command while backing up and coaxing her to follow you. Once she earns that treat, repeat the process, but add a knock on the door from the inside. Keep practicing until she stops barking when you knock. Now, when your guest arrives, engage her in this new exercise. With repetition, your princess will learn that her silence will get her noticed in a very positive manner.

This blog is brought to you by Under the Weather®, provider of freeze-dried bland diets for dogs. If your dog has a temporary bout of vomiting or diarrhea during the holidays, your vet may recommend giving them a “bland diet” until their digestive systems return to normal. Until now, this required you to cook chicken and rice. With Under the Weather’s bland diets there is no more cooking – just add water!

Under the Weather is also an avid supporter of finding homes for shelter dogs. We finance the Ruffy Rescue Transport Fund to cover the transport cost of bringing dogs from overpopulated kill shelters to Vermont for adoption. A portion of every dollar in sales is channeled to supporting this cause as well as financing the spaying and neutering fees of shelter animals. Get to know more about Ruffy.

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