Here’s the next round of answers for our Ask a Trainer feature on our new website. It’s your chance to get dog training advice from the pros at AnimalSense. Stay tuned for more questions & answers, and if you have a burning dog training question, just “Ask a Trainer”!
I have a corgi. LOVE this dog. I always joke that he is my soul mate and we are perfect for each other. The reason I know this is true, among other things, is because we both love to talk. He likes to tell me when he is hungry, angry, bored, upset, or to tattle on one of the others. I have tried the few things I have read like ignoring it, teaching him to bark on command, or simple corrections. He has worn out his welcome at some homes and my previous apartment but now might be treading thin at work. Any helpful suggestions? I don’t mind him barking occasionally, as dogs do, but it’s become rather excessive!
We love Corgis, too, but unfortunately they are notorious barkers! Most dogs bark, and while barking can sometimes be a behavioral concern it is often a natural part of doggy daily life.
It’s also important to identify what they are barking at.
A great resource is the book “The Bark Stops Here” by Terri Ryan. She identifies six types of barkers:
- Attention Seeking Barkers: Characterized by a bark which is high in pitch and accompanied by pauses and moments when the dog looks around and listens for a response from anyone. ASB’s are not picky about who they get attention from.
- Territorial Barkers: Characterized by a low pitched intense burst of barking. This kind of barking is usually startling and short lived. It is accompanied by a distinct body posture: the tail is up, ears forward, corners of the mouth are forward, stance is tall, forward on toes, hackles up, nose wrinkled. Territorial barkers initiate barking when a perceived threat enters into the dog’s imagined territory.
- Boredom Barkers: Characterized by a flat boring bark with occasional howling directed at nothing. This kind of barking is repetitive in nature and is usually of medium pitch.
- Fearful Barkers: Characterized by sharp, high pitched barking accompanied by a distinct body posture in which the dog’s tail is tucked between her legs, hackles are up, pupils are dilated, nose is wrinkled, and corners of the mouth are back. Barking is initiated by a perceived threat coming close to the dog. For the fearful barker, barking is designed to increase distance between the threat and the dog. While the dog may step forward while barking, she will usually retreat as well.
- Excitement Barkers: Characterized by high pitched barking accompanied by a great deal of continuous movement, wagging tail, and variable intensity.
- Separation Anxiety Barker: Characterized by high pitched frantic barking, and accompanied by pacing, drooling, whining, scratching, chewing and howling.
Sometimes ignoring the barking works, sometimes exercise helps, and other times, you may need a trainer’s help, depending on what type of barker you have.
Attention exercises such as “Watch Me” can also help divert your dog’s attention to you. You can also try canine enrichment tools such as Kongs and other puzzle toys while you are work to occupy your dog.