Dog Barking – Little Dog, Big Noise: Training for a Barking Westie

West Highland TerrierDogs bark, oh, do they ever bark. Smaller breeds like West Highland Terriers have a tendency to bark even more. There isn’t a definitive reason for why these breeds bark more—maybe it is to get your attention. Maybe it is to make them seem bigger than their diminutive size. There are numerous reasons for dog barking with different kinds of breeds. Understanding why dogs bark can help you manage your dog’s behavior and launch into training your Westie to minimize it.

There are countless reasons why dogs bark. It is a dog’s main method of communication amongst themselves and with their surroundings. While we may not understand it, their dog barking is sometimes a way for them to communicate with us whether they trust us or not.

Below is a list of some of the reasons for dog barking:

+ Alert their master, pack or anyone within ear shot of a potential danger
+ Warn off perceived predators or dangerous parties
+ Make noise while they’re playing or to get someone to play
+ Communicate a need like hunger, thirst or even that their toy has rolled under a piece of furniture, etc.
+ Express excitement; it could be that their master is home or even that prey may be within their grasp
+ Convey boredom or excess energy when they do not have an outlet to release it

When a dog is barking, it is most people’s instinct to correct this negative behavior by yelling or making more noise. However you can more effectively correct this dog barking behavior or aggression by other means. A dog’s sense of hearing is very sharp. When a human raises their voice, the sound is amplified to a dog. To them, our yelling is unfair and unrecognizable and they’re desperate to make it stop, which can lead to more yelling or confusion.

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In order to properly react to excessive dog barking, you should correct your dog’s behavior by remaining calm both verbally and physically. Your pet will respond positively to calm energy. A nervous or reactive energy will only incite a dog’s negative behavior further. For example, if you are trying to calm a dog that is barking at a guest at your door, your calm, collected response to their presence will demonstrate that this person is not a threat.

One highly recommended method to proactively train your dog not to bark excessively, is to investigate dog obedience training in your area. These professional dog handlers will know dog psychology more intimately and can provide additional training and insight. In order to find a reputable training class, consult with your veterinarian, breeder, local humane society or ASPCA. They will be able to refer you to well-regarded courses in your area. Best of all, many humane societies offer free dog training courses to guarantee your pet will be happy and healthy in your home for years to come.

Learn more about the Secret Language of Dog Barking Here

You can take steps to correct some of the causes of dog barking, with toys and positive behavior. If your Westie barks to get your attention or from boredom, you can get a Kong toy to keep their minds busy. These toys allow you to put a treat inside of them and it’s up to the dog to figure out how to get it out. Furthermore, these types of toys with treats and peanut butter inside can go a long way towards keeping your dog busy.

With any training program, including eliminating excessive dog barking, your instructors will tell you, you need to be patient, empathetic and consistent. Dogs learn from repetition, and repetition will be necessary to break a dog from their biological urges to bark. Similarly, if you leave a dog’s negative behavior of excessive barking to go unchecked, they learn that that behavior is acceptable.

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