Adrena Wilhelm from Canine Companions for Independence shows you how you can teach your dog to speak and be quiet on command. She also provides effective techniques for teaching your dog to not bark when the doorbell rings and when other dogs are near.
Hi. I'm Adrena Wilhelm from Canine Companions for Independence on behalf of IAMS. Today, we're going to learn how to teach your dog to stop barking. It may sound nonsensical. But to stop your dog from barking, first, teach him to bark on command. Give your dog the command to speak. Have someone immediately make a noise, such as knocking on the door that is sure to make your dog bark. Let him bark two or three times. Then, stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say speak. Once your dog can reliably bark on command, move on to the quiet command. Teach your dog that barking is OK until told to be quiet.
Simultaneously, hold a treat in front of your dog's nose. Most dogs get quiet immediately because they can't sniff and lick the treat while barking at the same time. Praise your dog continuously during his quiet time with petting and words of encouragement. When your dog makes a mistake and barks, and he will, reprimand him immediately. Never strike your dog, but do something that will catch his attention, such as clapping loudly. As soon as your dog stops barking, you must instantly reward him. If you're still having trouble, then you may need to spend some time working with your dog on specific barking situations. Here are a few of the more common ones. If your dog is in his crate or confined to a room behind a baby gate or other barrier, he may bark because he wants to be with you. But if that's not always possible, then you'll need to train him to stay quiet. Next time, he's barking uncontrollably in his more confined space, try this. Start by turning your back and ignoring him. Whenever he stops barking, turn and praise him. Give him a treat and make a game of it. As he catches on that being quiet gets him a treat, lengthen the amount of time that he must remain quiet before being rewarded. Dogs that are afraid of other dogs will often bark at them. Have a friend with a dog stand out of sight far enough away that you know your dog won't bark at the other dog. As soon as the friend and dog come into view, start feeding your dog lots of treats. Keep feeding treats until the friend and dog are out of sight. Ask your friend and her dog to gradually walk closer. Don't try to progress too quickly. It may take days or weeks before your dog can pay attention to you and the treats without barking at the other dog. When the doorbell rings, your dog alerts you to the presence of an intruder by barking wildly. Once you've taught your dog the quiet command in a calm environment, practice in increasingly distracting situations. Teach your dog to react to the doorbell by going to a special place and laying quietly while the intruder comes into the house. Start by tossing a treat on his mat and telling him go to your place. Have him go to his place before you give him the treat. When he's reliably going to his mat to earn a treat, up the ante by opening the door while he's on his mat. If he gets up, close the door immediately. Repeat until he stays on the mat while the door is open. Then, increase the difficulty by having someone ring the doorbell while your dog is on his mat. Reward him if he stays in his place. Try these techniques to stop your dog from barking. All of them can be successful, but don't expect miracles overnight. The longer your dog has been practicing the barking behavior, the longer it will take for him to change his ways. Let's recap. First, teach your dog to speak or bark on command. Once he has that down, teach him to be quiet on command. Use treats and praise to help get the desired outcome. And lastly, be patient and consistent in training. Don't expect overnight changes. I'm Adrena Wilhelm on behalf of IAMS. To join the IAMS community for more information and offers, check out the website.
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Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy and Active
It depends on the breed of dog, but your pet's senior years generally begin at age 7. Louise Murray, DVM, director of the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City and author of Vet Confidential (Ballantine, 2008), tells you what you need to know to keep your older dog spry and happy.
Senior Dog Health: Preventive Health
At this stage, Murray recommends taking your dog to the vet twice a year. "So much can happen to an elderly dog," she says. Your veterinarian can take blood annually to test liver and kidney functions. "Discovering problems early is extremely important," she says. Your vet can be on the lookout for conditions that often affect older dogs, such as anemia and arthritis.
Senior Dog Health: Urination, Bowel Movements, and Appetite
Pay attention to what might be subtle changes in your dog's habits: Is she drinking more water or urinating larger amounts? These behaviors might indicate a liver or kidney problem. Have your dog's bowel movements shifted? This could indicate a digestive issue. Diabetes or digestive problems might cause your dog to eat more but still lose weight. Knowing the dog's patterns can help the veterinarian determine a course of treatment.
Senior Dog Health: Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medicines
Continue to use preventive medicines.
Senior Dog Health: Dental Health
Clean your dog's teeth daily. If she has tartar buildup, you might need to have her teeth professionally cleaned at your vet's office, which requires sedating your pet.
Senior Dog Health: Exercise
Your dog is probably less active, so steady, moderate exercise is best for her now. Don't turn her into a "weekend warrior" who, after lying around on weekdays, accompanies you on a 10-mile hike on Saturdays. This is especially hard on an older dog's joints.
Senior Dog Health: Diet
Your veterinarian might wish to put your dog on a senior diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Senior Plus. These formulations contain nutrients specifically geared toward older-dog health.
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