Common Puppy Behaviour Problems: Barking & Digging

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Barking is completely normal for any dog but it should be considered a problem if it becomes excessive. Most dogs will bark at strangers passing by, and this is to be expected. However, you need to teach your puppy that although some barking is OK, too much barking is not.

Allow your puppy to bark two or three times when someone rings the doorbell, approaches your house or walks past your yard. Don’t let your puppy bark frantically until the person eventually leaves the area.

A Simple Anti-Barking Routine

To train your puppy not to bark excessively, be consistent and plan ahead. Ask a friend to come to your home and ring the doorbell. When the bell rings, your puppy probably will run toward the door and bark.

Take hold of your puppy’s collar at that moment, and say his name and then the cue “be quiet.” When he listens to you and ceases his barking, praise him heartily. After several practice sessions, your puppy should start to catch on.

Once your puppy has learned to respond reliably to the quiet cue while inside your house, you can begin the training session outdoors in your yard. Ask friends and neighbours to help you with the training by walking past your property or doing whatever else it is that sets your puppy off on a barking spree.

Remember, too, that bored dogs will bark more than those who are getting enough stimulation. If your puppy is barking like crazy at everyone who passes the house, he may need more exercise and stimulation. That way he won’t feel compelled to come up with his own distractions.

Digging

The instinct to dig is strong in most dogs and often starts in puppyhood. If your puppy is starting to dig up the yard, you need to intervene before your garden begins to look like a mine field.

The best way to control your puppy’s urge to dig is to give him a spot in the yard where he can dig to his heart’s content. This might be a place where you’ve already seen him digging if you don’t really mind that he digs there. Or, you may want to entice him to dig in an area that is out of the way and not visible from most parts of your yard.

If you catch him digging in a place that is not allowed, correct him by saying “NO DIG!” and take him to his allowed spot. If he digs in this designated digging area, praise him to let him know he’s got the right idea.

Even though he has his own digging spot, you may find that your puppy still likes to dig in places he shouldn’t. Protect these areas with temporary fencing (like chicken wire) until your puppy gets in the habit of digging only in his designated spot. Eventually, you should be able to take down the fencing and give him the run of the yard.

 

Watch Dexter Doing his favorite thing…digging!



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