The Puppy Training Podcast

Episode #68 Barking & The Dog Training Model

March 24, 2021 Baxter & Bella Puppy Training Season 3 Episode 68
The Puppy Training Podcast
Episode #68 Barking & The Dog Training Model
Show Notes Transcript

Do any of you have a dog who barks? Do they bark at something outside the window? When they see another dog? To get your attention? Some bark when playing - a happy bark! There are many reasons why a dog may bark. Some barking I’m okay with - happy barking - to a point. While other barking is not something I want to become a habit. 

As a review for today’s topic - Check out Episode #56 How To Solve Any Dog Training Problem. If you’ve already listened to it, you’ll recognize the ABC’s of dog training. This formula is very useful to change any behavior our dog may exhibit. 

Today I want to apply this model to barking.

For training help visit www.baxterandbella.com to join our online puppy school. 



Support the show (http://www.baxterandbella.com/learn-more)

Barking & The Dog Training Model


Hey everyone! How are you today? I’m happy to be here to talk about something many dog owners are wondering how to handle. 


Barking. 


Do any of you have a dog who barks? Do they bark at something outside the window? When they see another dog? To get your attention? Some bark when playing - a happy bark! There are many reasons why a dog may bark. Some barking I’m okay with - happy barking - to a point. While other barking is not something I want to become a habit. 


But first, thank you for listening. It is because of people like you that I get to do what I love and I thank you for it. Welcome if you're new to the podcast, I hope you are finding wonderful training tips here to help you and your dog if you're waiting for a puppy to arrive. Congratulations. I'm excited to help get you ready. We are getting our own family puppy in six weeks and cannot wait. We plan on shooting lots of new video footage to help you on your own puppy training journey. We can do it together! 


As a review for today’s topic - Check out Episode #56 How To Solve Any Dog Training Problem. If you’ve already listened to it, you’ll recognize the ABC’s of dog training. This formula is very useful to change any behavior our dog may exhibit. 


Today I want to apply this model to barking. 


A - what happens BEFORE your dog barks

B - dog barks

C - what happens right AFTER your dog barks


The A and C pieces are what we need to focus on to change the B - behavior of our dog. 


My favorite place to focus is on the A - antecedent - whatever happens BEFORE my dog barks. Why? If I can redirect before they practice it, it never becomes a problem and definitely does not develop into a habit. 


Think about that for a moment. If we focus only on the C - consequence - what happens AFTER our dog barks, the barking is still occurring, the dog still practiced the barking. We tend to get stuck in a vicious cycle of dealing with the behavior after it happens. If I can intervene BEFORE the barking happens, the behavior does NOT get practiced! That’s a huge win. 


Sounds great but how do I do that right? 


Let me walk you through the process as it is important to know what to do when your dog barks and then how to stay ahead of it the next time. 


First with barking, identify your dog’s different barks and try to assess why your dog barked. Let’s take the common example of your dog barking because they see a delivery person in your yard. If your dog is barking for another reason, you’ll be able to use similar steps to solve that as well. 


Recognize in this scenario of your dog barking out the window, the possible outcomes. Dog sees the person in your yard and barks. Person walks away when they are done with the delivery. Dog thinks barking worked to make the person leave. The consequence in this case reinforces the barking behavior. Dogs do what works for them so if they feel the barking caused the person to leave and that’s what the dog wanted, they will most likely bark again in the future to get the same result. 


That’s where we step in using the ABC’s. I now know my dog barks when they see a person in my yard. 


Let’s start with that one time I don’t catch the barking in advance. I’m a mom. I’m busy helping my child with math homework in the kitchen and don’t see the person coming. My dog notices and goes to the window to do “their job” - at least the job they’ve assigned themselves to do - which is to guard the property. 


My only option at this point is to focus on the C - consequence because the barking already happened. I go to the window, say, “Thank you that’s enough,” and redirect my dog onto a new activity, away from the window. 


The goal now is to totally change their brain channel onto something else. Maybe this is an alternative behavior like a down stay near me or mat work where they settle on place. Maybe I tether my dog to me and give them a chew as I finish helping my child with homework. Or if my dog is due for a play session, we start some games and incorporate training into the fun - maybe my child needs a brain break and will play hide and seek for a minute or two. 


This redirecting is where the A comes in and now I’m in prevention mode. I don’t want my dog to go back to the barking behavior so I prevent and train new behavior. I am a huge believer in setting my dog up for success. If I don’t want them to bark out the window, I prevent them from going back by giving them something else to do, gate off that room, close the window, etc. Then I make a note to set up training sessions around people coming into my yard so I can teach my dog WHAT TO DO when they see the delivery person. I then pay the dog for good behavior and that tends to get repeated! Success! 


What does that training session look like you ask? I would practice with a family member or close friend. They can stand outside the window. The second my dog sees them I lure my dog to me and help them make eye contact by bringing my fingers up to my face. When my dog looks my way I mark “YES” and reward. We then go right into a favorite game like tug or find your toy. Repeat 10-20 times until your dog sees the person out the window and starts looking at you automatically. Then you know you’re ready for step two. 


Step two involves practicing with someone my dog doesn’t know as well. A child’s friend that comes over to the house frequently is a good next choice as my dog somewhat knows that person. We repeat the process and work up to getting this same good response when the delivery person arrives. 


In the meantime, I limit access to that room to prevent my dog from practicing the barking out the window. I set time aside daily to work on the training. Then as my dog improves, we can allow access on a limited basis and continue until my dog gives me a “look at me” response whenever they see someone outside. Preventing and managing while you teach new behavior is the fastest route to success. 


Yes there will be times when the barking happens - you weren’t able to prevent it - so we handle the C side of the ABC’s by interrupting right away then redirecting. But do your best to remain on the A side of the ABC’s as to prevent habits from forming. 


If you see your dog headed to the window, interrupt BEFORE they get there. You can anticipate what they will do when they get there so give them a better job to do BEFORE you are required to react on the C side of things. Make sense? 


Cool. Once you understand this as a trainer, daily life with your dog improves. Try to stay one step ahead of them, give them tasks - teach them what to do - and reward them for the good behavior. Train them to do a basic sit and down stay. GO TO BED or MAT WORK is my absolute favorite as well. We teach you in our online puppy school how to train and proof these behaviors. If you need help, check it out at baxterandbella.com. 


Have a great week! Talk to you soon.