Silence is golden

One of my clients is a Tibetan terrier.  He is totally adorable and just as demanding. When we’re in his mom’s kitchen after our walk, he barks relentlessly for treats with a shrill ear-piercing woof.  In the past, when I’ve tried commands such as “Enough, or no bark,” he merely turns up the volume as if to say, “Didn’t you hear me? Don’t you understand?

So today, I thought I’d try something different: namely just to ignore Timmy.  And when that didn’t work, he tried to get my attention by butting me with his head.  It took what little self-restraint I possess not to crack up laughing.  But I ignored my little guy, no eye contact, no vocalizations on my part, nothing.

And you know what, he stopped barking.  I finished my business at his house.  I keep a journal written from my canine client’s perspective and left quietly.  What a difference!  While this technique may not be effective in all contexts — for instance when your dog is barking at another dog or the mail carrier, it is very helpful when your dog is vying for your attention.

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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