puppy 12weeks old: continual barking

Posted by Dianne-Winter
Jul 3, 2010
Hi everyone,
I am a first time user of this program and am hoping to get some help with my pup Buddy. He is a real bitzer of a dog with his mum being a irish wolfhound cross mastif. His dad we dont know. He is an outside dog which he seems happy with. My problem at the moment is he nuisance barks, and has started barking at us also. We are training him at the moment but i dont know if i am doing it right or am just confusing him. I am gently placing my hand around his snout and firmly growling 'no' when he nuisance barks. he often gets out of this by backing up and jumping from my hand. He then snaps at my hand, not agressively though. He then leaps around me barking again. I get him to sit, praise him for sitting then he starts barking again which makes us go thru the whole process again. In the end i remove myself from the situation as discipline to him. When he has calmed down i go out there again and he seems ok. My biggest question is how do you effectively train a pup so you can avoid all these troubles when they become an adult dog? Am i doing too much training? Is he too young? What is normal puppy behaviour? How do you effectively discipline a puppy? Please help as i am concerned that i am ruining a perfectly good potential adult dog! Alot of information i have found seems to deal with pups that are at least 5 to 6 months old. Nothing really for younger. Thanks for your help
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jul 3, 2010
Hi Dianne! Congrats on the new family addition!

Puppy barking is a totally common problem with new additions. There are many reasons a dog will bark continuously, including understimulation, anxiety, aggression, alerting, and attention seeking. I believe most puppy barking is put down to understimulation and attention seeking. To try and control the barking, pick a one word “no” command to give whenever the puppy barks (no, quiet, enough, for example). Always give the command when the puppy is barking. Always reward the puppy when he stops barking or isn’t barking in situations he normally would be. If he is barking at you, do exactly what you said you’ve tried, and ignore him. Remember to not yell at him, he might interpret this as you “barking” back, and don’t use physical punishment. Positive reinforcement (rewarding the behaviour you want) is much more effective. Use treats and pats and happy tones when the pup is quiet. And try to provide as much environmental enrichment as possible – toys, play dates, etc, to keep him entertained!

As far as your puppy concerns, try not to worry too much! Your puppy is exhibiting nomal puppy behaviour, they are often a handful when you bring them home. They are figuring out what they can get away with and where they play into the hierarchy of your home. You must establish yourself as the dominant one from the start, by training and reinforcement, so that your pup knows to listen to you! You should start training pups from the time you bring them home, and from the sounds of it you are on the right track! Your efforts so far are great, it will just take repetition and patience I think. For training your pup, try breaking training sessions down into a lot of short sessions, like 5-10minutes. Always follow the same routines, repetition is how puppies learn what to do! And remember reward based training works wonders! Find a treat he loves and use it to your advantage!

The basics of training for anything are, as I said above, positive reinforcement, as well as counterconditioning and desensitization. This means you should expose your pup to as many social situations and interactions as possible while he’s young, so he does not react badly to them as an adult. This includes new people, animals, noises, stimuli, etc.

Just stick with your barking pup, he will outgrow the rambunctious phase and will settle quickly, as long as you stick with it. And remember, when he’s about 6 months you should consider getting him castrated, as this helps tone down unwanted behaviour as well.

Hope this helps, I’m sure you and your little rascal will get on fine
Posted by Dianne-Winter
Jul 3, 2010
Thankyou so much for getting back to me so quickly. I will limit our training and try and remember he is only a puppy. You have given me some good ideas that i will put into our training time. Positive reinforcement all the way.
thanks again