Quiet dogs get treats

One of my clients, Muffin, used to bark a lot on our walks.  She’d bark when trucks (UPS or FedEx) drove by.  Or she’d bark when approaching larger dogs.  I knew it was fear based but some times she frightened people.  When the postal carrier shouted at me in Chinese, I knew I had to take swift action.

So first I consulted with her mom.  I wanted to make her aware of the problem and get any suggestions she might have.  Then I went to Ms. Google who also provided some good advice.  And the combination worked.

Now when my little Muffin is about to bark (and I can usually tell), I say, “uh uh no bark.” And the instant she stops she gets a “good girl” and treat.  That way she’s being rewarded for appropriate behavior. Clicker training would also be ideal in this situation.  And instead of tightening up on the leash, which makes her more apprehensive, I relax my grip.

Hard to believe but within days, Muffin was a more confident and calmer dog.  She still barks when she sees her boyfriend but now we reserve it for special occasions.

About Cambridge Canines Pet Sitting Service

I'm a Cambridge resident who has written about feline behavior and body language for WebMD and Catnip, the Tufts Veterinary School newsletter. In a parallel universe, I also write about healthcare and have won awards for news reporting. A passion for animals led me to start my own pet sitting business in 2004. While the information in my posts has been researched, it is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary-related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly.
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