Why Dogs Bark & How to Stop A Dog from Barking

“Will you please, for the love of doG, stop barking!” When Shadow-Pup joined our family, he and Bravo-Dawg egged each other on. Now that he’s the only dog, he and the cat tease each other and prompt bark-fest and meow-athons. We love our dogs, but when noisy dogs get revved up, dog barking can drive us nuts. Shadow has a “demand attention” barking problem that shatters glass. He also loves barking at squirrels and tells on Karma-Kat when the cat gets on a counter, and at us when we can’t read his mind.

So what’s the answer–how to stop a dog from barking? The key to stop barking includes understanding why dogs bark.

Dogs bark to communicate--so what's he saying?

Dogs bark to communicate–so what’s he saying?

A Fun Dog Barking Poll

How to stop a dog from barking got the most canine topic votes on my informal Facebook poll (stay tuned for a cat-centric one, too!). See, I want my next big project (an on-demand pet behavior course) to answer YOUR must-know questions.

So here’s your turn. Fill in the blank in the comments: “I wish I knew how to fix my cat/dog’s (…..)”

WHY DOGS BARK

On Facebook, some of the comments were very specific. Some of these included barking at:

  1. motorcycles and skateboards (bicycles are a biggie, and so are joggers!)
  2. doorbells
  3. TV doorbells
  4. other dogs
  5. in the backyard (squirrels!)
  6. when (known) visitors arrive

The key to stop dogs barking is to understand why the dog barks. There’s no single answer, but in all cases, the dog is REWARDED (gets something s/he wants) out of the barking. It’s a simple cause/effect situation. Take a look again at the above complaints, and see where they might fit in this list of some common barking reasons. Ask yourself–how do I respond to the barking?

KINDS OF DOG BARKS

  • Play bark (“Gotta shout about the game!”)
  • Howdy-do bark (“Nice to see you.”)
  • Defensive bark (“I’m scared, go away.”)
  • Offensive bark (“It’s MY property, don’t come near!”)
  • Fire alarm bark (“warning, Will Robinson!”)
  • “Look at that!” bark (strangers, friends, garbage truck, your new hat, SQUIRREL!)
  • Boredom bark (“Come entertain me…”)
  • Lonely (“Poor me” or separation anxiety)

Personally, I want my Shadow-Pup to bark. You should want YOUR dog to bark, too–at the appropriate times. I don’t want him silent when that burglar prowls outside. So after several barks, he gets praise and then a treat (and it’s hard for dogs to bark while chewing).

HOW TO STOP DOG BARKING

How do you stop barking? It sounds counter-intuitive, but to teach dogs to SHUSH you must first teach them to SPEAK on command. Here’s how.

  1. Set up “trigger” situations with the doorbell, a friendly visitor, or whatever gets the bark-aholic going.
  2. Just as the doorbell rings, say “SPEAK.”
  3. When the dog barks, praise him and offer a toy or treat or whatever floats his boat as a reward.

It will take several repeats before your dog recognizes that the command SPEAK means permission to yap. Practice this (even without the doorbell), and for the first several days ALWAYS reward the dog with a yummy or fun game he loves. Once the lightbulb goes off in his furry noggin, and he recognizes he gets PAID to bark on command, he’ll be eager to win your approval with this new skill.

TEACH BARKING DOGS TO “SHUSH”

Once he will SPEAK on command, it’s time to teach SHUSH. That’s easy–after he’s barked, do NOT give him the reward, but instead say SHUSH…and hold out the treat in your closed fist. Dogs stop barking to sniff and chew, so that typically stops the noise mid-yap. Give him the treat, while repeating GOOD SHUSH, while he chomps the yummy.

Again, it will take several repeats, but that’s the basics. You’ll slowly expand the amount of time he must SHUSH in order to earn the treat. Once your dog knows both SPEAK and SHUSH, you’ll be ready to move on to practice in the specific circumstances that are most bothersome.

I’d love to help you stop your dog barking, with more prescriptive how-to tips. Meanwhile, don’t forget to get YOUR biggest pets peeves on my list. Fill in the blank in the comments: “I wish I knew how to fix my cat/dog’s (…..)”


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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? 

NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Writing Like Cats & Dogs! Turn Niche Writing Into A “Brand-New” Career

A TWO-DAY WORKSHOP JUST FOR YOU!

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Where: WANA Virtual Classroom

Dates:   November 9, 2013, 2:00-4:00 PM EST (will send you the recording!)

November 16, 2013, 2:00-4:00 PM EST (attend live AND will send the recording!

You Can Still Register!

USE THE DREAM-BIG CODE FOR $30 OFF THE PRICE AT CHECK-OUT!

Class Description:

Niche Writing is designed for beginning to intermediate writers who wish to leverage special interest(s) to build author brand, generate content for blogs, articles, columns and books, (or use blogs for book content!) and more.

This fun PowerPoint two-part workshop (with SQUEE! cute pet pictures!) is structured in 2-hour lectures with time included for questions and answers, as well as brain-storming to figure out your individual writer-ly map for success. Students learn why niche writing is more important today than ever before. This workshop teaches writers how to create credibility as the go-to “expert” in their field, including:

  • Finding “it” topics
  • Writing columns, articles, essays, blogs and books
  • Finding markets and who to “pitch”
  • Research tips and finding experts
  • How and when to query
  • Are you a professional?
  • How to become an “expert”
  • Building your bio, focusing your brand
  • Marketing for writers

GO HERE to Register. Attend in your PJs, get the recording and listen later!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Don’t forget to vote for your NAME THAT DOG/CAT character choice in the forthcoming HIDE AND SEEK!

Create Winning Book Proposals!

Nonfiction Proposals

I’ve given this talk at any number of writers conferences over the years. After writing 26 nonfiction pet books, I’ve experimented with several ways of creating nonfiction proposals and some work better than others. Once I found something that worked, few of the basics have changed. It all begins with what I call THE IDEA TREE. I’ll break it down for you–and that’s just the beginning!

Join me SATURDAY JUNE 22 2-3:30 EASTERN TIME for my next Webinar JUST THE FACTS: CREATE WINNING BOOK PROPOSALS

(You can wear your bunny slippers…I won’t tell!) If you can’t make it Saturday, the session is recorded and available for you to watch/listen for two weeks.

The webinar is a 90-minute PowerPoint class designed to help beginning to experienced writers interested in submitting nonfiction books for publication to agents and/or “traditional” publishers. Unlike fiction projects that should be completed before submission, nonfiction books typically are sold based on a proposal along with samples.

I sold six nonfiction books with proposals to “traditional” publishers on my own, and more than a dozen more after landing a high-powered agent. Along the way I made every mistake possible–and also learned what worked, thanks to a nit-picky-cranky-ire-inspiring (and awesome!) editor or three. Although much of publishing remains in flux, the sales tool–the nonfiction proposal–remains a mainstay for “selling” both agent and editor on your idea.

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This session also includes (SQUEE!) CUTE PET PICTURES and shows you how to choose saleable topics, build an impressive bio, query (or not), and craft the proposal. There are many kinds of nonfiction, from memoir and biography to prescriptive advice and “creative nonfiction” stories. You’ll learn what components make up the proposal and how to compose them, how to format the proposal, and create your competition/market survey. You’ll also learn tips for finding expert sources, building your ‘brand’ and leveraging your platform.

What are you waiting for?! Get that book proposal DONE and out the door!

 

Monday Mentions: Webinars, ComPETability & Thriller-icity

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FREE for the next 2 weeks!

The EBook version of ComPETability(Dogs)  is FREE for the next couple of weeks, in exchange for an honest review. Feel free to share the link with all your pet loving friends.

Last Friday I had a lovely conversation with my editor about the future plans for my fiction. It’s all very exciting! But none of it will happen–until I get MORE BOOKS WRITTEN! Most of y’all know that the sequel to LOST AND FOUND is in the works. Readers asked for it so HIDE AND SEEK will have more dog-viewpoint (yay Shadow!), more September (including more explanation about her mysterious PTSD), and more Macy-the-Cat. . . and a few others to-be-named dogs and cats, as well. Stay tuned, maybe YOU will get to name ’em.

The third book in the series, tentatively titled SEARCH AND DESTROY is now officially in the lineup, too. SQUEEEE! YIKES, now I gotta get on the schtick and speed up the writer-icity to meet those deadlines. 🙂 Do you work better when you have deadlines? I sure do…never mind that they create more gray hairs. Because of the schedule (two books in about six months) the blogging schedule may get a weeee bit erratic at times, but I’ll do my best to keep up. Please forgive me in advance, should the wheels fall off…and I hope you’ll stick around for all the thriller-icity to come!

Meanwhile, I’m also offering a few more Webinars on writer-ly subjects over the next two weeks that cover Media Training for Authors, one on Writing Nonfiction Book Proposals, and a two-day session in August on Niche Writing. These are available on the web with your headset or telephone line, and recorded for you to watch/listen after the fact as well. Hope some of my hard-won experience and tips will help you achieve yoru writer-ly dreams, too.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. For new followers to the blog, welcome! and you can expect more cat and dog specific schtuff later in the week on Wednesday and Friday.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Lights! Cameras! Action! Media Training for Writers (and Others)this is the next Webinar I’m presenting June 15, that’s THIS SATURDAY!

WANA Learn About Facebook? another Webinar available with the awesome Lisa Hall-Wilson also June 15

Re-Pin That Pin…What Gets The Most Attention color, apparently

Publishing on Kobo with Kobo’s Mark Lefebvre Audio interview

BEA Recap Here and yet another one Here

BEA Fail with Power Readers …and the book sellers don’t get it, either. (read the comments, too)

Amazon In London a new headquarters to come

New Ingram SPARK PUBLISHING PROGRAM and more info from an Indie Author perspective

Neat Recap of BEA

15 Ways Amazon KDP Could Improve

 ALLi & Changing Attitudes About Indies

Free Listing for Freelance Editors & Agents

Becoming Google Fluent

Ebook Antitrust Case Against Apple to Begin

 DNA in Minutes fiction-ready technology (and reality soon!)

 Going Viral…A Reality Check for Writers

Going Twitter-verse Viral…In A Bad Way! this is hilarious! #truth

PET-CENTRIC SCHTUFF

Purina to Buy PetFinder oh-my-doG what d’ya think of that???

Alley Cat Allies Conference Architects of Change for Cats

Dolphin Surgery Amazing story…first time ever performed on a dolphin and saved her life!

 ER for Mice? Really? what do you think?

Pit Bull Gets A New Leg

Cutting Edge Pet Care nice article on new frontiers

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

The Reinvented Writer Webinar

 

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I met social media maven Kristen Lamb about three year’s ago and she changed my writing world at a time when “blogging” wasn’t really on my writerly radar. Now I’ve come back from the awesome BlogPaws blogger conference for pet peeps, and recognize just how visionary she is. I’m pleased to have been invited to teach at Kristen’s “virtual writer’s college” WANA International, and share with other writers some of the hard-knock lessons I’ve learned.

I made these head-banging mistakes so you don’t have to!

Kristen asked me to guest post about this Saturday’s class (details below). I presented THE REINVENTED WRITER as a lunch workshop at the OWFI Conference earlier this month and wanted to make it available to a wider audience who maybe couldn’t afford the hotel room or time away from home. So you’ll be able to attend from the comfort of your sofa with a laptop and headphones…or telephone…and can wear bunny slippers if you like! (Shhh, nobody will know!). There’s also a deep discount if you put in the code.

Here’s the guest post about this Saturday’s class and details, below, about the webinar. Hope to see you there!  (I may even SING!)

THE REINVENTED WRITER WORKSHOP Saturday May 25, 2:00-4:00 pm Eastern Time

The Reinvented Writer workshop helps newer writers avoid mistakes, and established authors (especially those “traditionally” published) to reevaluate, re-energize and re-emerge stronger than ever in the always-changing “new world” of publishing.

Today authors must be masochists in order to endure both the real and imagined slings and arrows of writer-icity bullying. The time for head-banging frustration and gnashing of teeth is over. In this class you’ll learn how to put on your big-boy (or girl)-panties, suck it up–and succeed!

This live two-hour fun Power Point presentation offers easy to use tips on how to “brand” yourself; the benefits of collaboration; ways to build “tribes” and why you should; how to leverage nonfiction to transition into fiction; ways to create diverse revenue streams; and how to use multiple platforms (blogs, YouTube, kindle, POD, audiobooks and more) to build your audience and career. Oh, and you’ll see some cute puppy and kitty pictures, too. (Use the code “OWFI” for $25 off!)

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!