How to Stop a Little Dog with a Big Barking Problem

By: David Codr

Published Date: July 3, 2017

Ekko is a two-year Yorkie who lives in Los Angeles. His guardians asked to set up a dog behavior training session to get him to stop barking, stop jumping and getting excited around visitors; especially when they knock or ring the doorbell.

Ekko was a tiny bit territorial in his bark and greeting when I arrived for the session; jumping up on my shin to make sure I knew he was the boss.

At this point I have rehabilitated over 2,000 dogs of all sizes and breeds and Ekko may be one of the cutest lil’ dogs I’ve worked with.

That cuteness may be a part of his dog behavior problems. Many people with small cute dogs gravitate towards loving and snuggling vs providing leadership and discipline. But if we don’t consistently provide a dog with god leadership, they can start to think they are in a leadership position over us.

Not only does this cause behavior problems as the dog sees you as a peer (which means listening to you is optional), it can stress out the dog. If you are responsible for someone and they don’t listen to you, that often leads to stress.

Providing Ekko with rules and boundaries and enforcing them consistently will go a long way towards changing the leader follower dynamic and reducing any stress and anxiety.

To address Ekko’s habit of barking at guests who ring the doorbell or knocks, we headed downstairs. I pulled out some high value treats and showed the guardians how to use counterconditioning to get Ekko to stop barking.

The great thing about this positive dog training approach is the dog develops a new behavior and love doing so. It takes some practice, but with enough repetitions at progressively closer distances, it shouldn’t be long before Ekko’s guardian can put a stop to barking.

By the end of the session, Ekko was looking up to her guardians for leadership and direction. He will likely test them with his superpower; little dog cuteness. If the guardians pet with a purpose, enforce rules consistently, use the escalating consequences and practice the counterconditioning exercise, Ekko’s unwanted dog behavior problems will quickly be a thing of the past.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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